Top tips for a budget BBQ
How to have a taste of summer on the cheap
Believe it or not it's currently summer, this means that regardless of the indifferent weather people all over the country are whipping out a BBQ for some good old pyromania. All this protein is pretty expensive though, so how can you keep costs low? No fear! Here at studentbeans.com we have a couple of hot tips to an even hotter BBQ...
It’s probably worth pointing out before you go any further that if you really can’t be bothered, you can pop down to your nearest Asda where you can get pretty much all your ingredients;
• 16 beef burgers (2 x 8 pack)
• 8 thick sausages
• 24 white bread buns (2 x 12 pack)
• Cheese slices (2 x 10 pack)
• Ketchup (340g)
• Salad (370g)
• Loose tomatoes (500g)
• Coleslaw (500g)
• 2.5 litres coca cola (2 x 1.25 litres)
• 2 litres lemonade
• 40 small bottles of lager (4 x 10 250ml bottles)
And a BBQ. And paper plates. And cutlery. For just £15.94. However, if you want to create food that’s actually rather delicious you can do so for dirt cheap prices as well...
First things first (OK, maybe second here) you need your budget barbie. You can get a great 35cm Round Barbecue for just £4.88 at Lidl. Add Barbecue Charcoal Briquettes for £2.99 for a 5kg bag.
But if you’re having a smaller affair hop to Argos for its disposable Bar-Be-Quick Instant Barbecue including lumpwood charcoal for £2. Generally I’m more inclined to go for a non-disposable. Despite the unreliable British climate, you or your mates are bound to end up needing a bbq on more than one occasion. Think of it like another pot or pan.
You might also want to invest in a pair of Stainless Steel Barbecue Tongs. At £2.15 from choiceful.com you’ll definitely get your wear out of these whether flipping quarter pounders on the barbie or stove.
And if you're having a fair few guests, using disposable plates and cutlery could be a good shout. This way it saves time on washing and ensures (once you’ve accounted for those light-fingered or just plain clumsy guests) you actually have something to eat off until the end of the year! Here Asda is no.1 with 50 Paper Plates for 88p; 100 Napkins 43p; and 100 Plastic Cups for £1.70. Save the left-overs for your next effort!
Now we’re in business. In an ideal world you will live near a lovely local butcher where they can give you lean beef burgers, an assortment of kebabs and some saliva-inducing sausages for bargainous prices. Failing this however, there's always a butcher or deli counter in your local supermarket, so why not check out some lesser known cuts...
Chicken: Breast is NOT best. People tend to like it because they’re put off by bones and think it’s easier to handle; with a little practice you can easily cut up a whole chicken, throw them on the grill over a medium fire, brush on some barbecue sauce and save money.
Ribs: Luckily pork or beef ribs are cheap and bbq staples. It’s worth bearing in mind that at least half the weight of a rack of ribs is bone so take fewer bones for the price if you can find it. Also look for ones that have plenty of meat and a small amount of fat.
Hamburgers: Mince. Brilliant stuff. And cheap. If you make your own burgers, handle it as little as possible, and you will have a great burger every time without spending a lot on expensive meats and ingredients. Also avoid making your burger patties too thick; this requires a longer cooking time meaning a dryer burger and you won’t get as many burgers out your mince.
Pork shoulder: This one of the least expensive cuts of pork. Of course the secret of turning this tough cut into a wonderful meal is slow cooking, so perhaps consider cooking it slowly in the oven before finishing it on the barbecue to get the charcoaly flavour.
Chuck steaks: These are a great alternative to more expensive steaks and the chuck eye steak is the best. They aren’t as tender as their more expensive cousins and will benefit from a good marinade. Have a look at these cracking marinades and sauces which will help make your meat more tender.
Crazy as it sounds you could forgo meat altogether. Bear with us.
Haloumi: This salty cheese is a brilliant Greek offering that tastes truly amazing. Sliced thinly with a dusting of flour, you can whack it straight on the barbie for a great meat alternative. Serve in a pitta or roll with salad. Or it can be cut into cubes and roasted with pepper, tomatoes and courgettes in a delicious kebab.
Roasted peppers and feta: Feta also tastes great in a kebab, but is even better stuffed inside a pepper - add some pesto and we’re really talking. Wrap in some foil with a dash of olive oil and some oregano and everything will melt into a salty bomb of flavour.
Dose up your guests with some scrummy sides and they won’t even realise they haven’t gorged themselves on gourmet burgers or a spit-roasted pig.
Carbs, carbs, carbs
Carbohydrates are cheap and filling. A good old potato salad never goes amiss: boil potatoes, add spring onion and a dollop of mayo. Bish bash bosh. However, you might want to use your BBQ to cook your carbs. There’s nothing like toast on a barbie. ANY bread will do but seeing as it’s so cheap anyway; go for a nice tiger loaf or French stick. Drizzle olive oil on top to make bruchetta, or add pesto for a really tasty treat.
Tomatoes and melted cheese are equally as delightful and (if you’re feeling really wild) crush some garlic into butter, smother inside your stick and cook in tin foil to make your own garlic bread.
It's a little known fact that you can even cook potato waffles on the BBQ straight from frozen - try it, love it, and forever be in our debt.
So much nicer than shop bought. Simply cut up a cabbage, two or three onions and grate four large carrots. Mix together with mayo and Bob’s your uncle, a cheap and cheery accompaniment to your meal.
Sounds simple and is simple. You don’t need to go crazy. Stick with the ingredients for your veggie kebabs : grilled courgette, pepper, and tomatoes. To spruce them up shove some cloves of garlic in your pepper and a slosh of olive oil and balsamic vinegar before wrapping up in foil and cooking until soft. Just whacking them on the grill and adding this dressing after will do just as well though.
Dessert is not really necessary but if you fancy something sweet, banana on the BBQ is very tasty - especially if you sprinkle it with sugar so it caramelises. Trouble is, you've probably used the barbie for meat already - so to avoid burgery bananas, put the banana in some tin foil, throw in some chocolate, and let it turn into puddingy goodness. Whip some cream up to go with it or serve with ice cream.
By the time you read this there’s a very strong possibility the summer heat has faded into a distant memory. But when BBQ fodder tastes so darn good why let a little bit of rain stop you from knocking up an affordable feast of food? So stoke up those flames and get grilling!