Brilliant barbecue menu ideas for your…BBQ
Summer sparks the season of barbecues (or BBQs) across the nation. There’s something alluring about a BBQ – the smell of fire and charcoal, the sizzling sounds of food cooking on the grill and the sight of flames leaping and smoke filling the air. BBQs bring people together and are a great treat for both weddings and events whether catering for your daytime menu or your evening food.
The word “barbecue” comes from the Caribbean and a local tribe called the Taino. Spanish explorers discovered the tribe back in the 16th century and they saw the tribe grilling food on a raised wooden grate which they called “barbacoa”.
We’ve catered for many weddings and events with BBQs and these have ranged from classic menus with delicious burgers, sausages and kebabs to themed BBQs with the influence of Greek, Asian or Caribbean cuisine as well as a good old South African Braai.
So we thought we’d put together our list of great ingredients and menus for your perfect BBQ – whatever your taste. Our Head Chef, Mike Scott, absolutely loves an American style BBQ and so has also included his ultimate BBQ menu.
Classic Barbecue Ingredients
Let’s start off with the barbecue classic ingredients. Food that is synonymous with a great British BBQ. While it is so easy to cook a BBQ at home, there’s also some secrets that we in the catering world make sure we add to make the food taste, smell and look delicious.
Who doesn’t love a burger?! Whether it’s classic hamburger, cheeseburger or something a little more evolved, the burger always has its place on a BBQ.
The way to enhance the simple burger is with quality execution. Personally I believe cheese on a burger should be like a duvet on your bed! Thick and just draped over the edge, as opposed to on the verge of being evaporated or having gone crispy (the burger that is, not the bed!).
Then there are the accompaniments – layered of course and including: Gem lettuce leaves, slices of tomato and thinly shaved red onion, mayonnaise on the bottom and ketchup on the top – you’ve got yourself a tasty burger. However, there is always room for slaw, pickles and relish.
Be it a plain sausage with some cider-braised onions, or a hot dog, the sausage is a BBQ staple. Personally I prefer a hot dog, smothered in caramelised onions and given a generous squirt of ketchup and American mustard. If you haven’t tried it before, sprinkle some crispy onions on top and you’ll never go back!
Chicken, Lamb, Beef, Halloumi, Mediterranean vegetable….all of these make for fantastic kebabs, given a hefty dose of smokiness from the char of the barbecue.
My favourite BBQ kebabs would be Chicken & Chorizo, King Prawn, Marinated Lamb and Jerk Chicken & Pineapple.
Side Dishes for the BBQ
Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Corn on the Cob, Cous Cous, Baby Leaf Salad. All of these are fantastic additions to your menu and in my opinion should be on the table at a BBQ. However, I like to twist these to make them extra special. My versions of these are below in my ‘Ultimate BBQ Menu’.
Make Your BBQ One to Remember!
So if they were the staple and classic ingredients on a BBQ, then let’s take a look at a few foods that we can include in your menu to wow your guests. For me it’s a taste of America and particularly the southern states of the U.S. where BBQs are done really well.
When we’re catering for BBQs, the difference is all about the preparation of the food and ingredients that bring out the intense flavours and textures. This is where you’ll notice the difference in your food and guest experience from BBQs at home. Having chefs cater for your BBQ at your wedding or garden party can sometimes be seen as taking an easy option in the menu, but preparing and cooking a great BBQ takes, skill, time and passion. When done well your guests will thank you for it and want it again and again!
I like to use Pork Belly for my Ribs, making sure there is a good two inches of meat above the bone.
I rub them with my BBQ rub and allow that to permeate for at least six hours, before smoking over wood chips for another six hours. I brush them with my secret ingredient BBQ sauce as they cool so it sets into the meat.
Once cooled, simply portion them up and throw on to the barbecue, brushing with the sauce as you go. They take some preparation and when we add ribs to our menu catering for weddings and events, I get so excited to include these pork belly ribs – there really aren’t many better tastes!
BBQ Pulled Pork
One of the all time favourites! Pork Shoulder, on the bone, rubbed and smoked for 14 hours, before being braised in a mix of gravy, BBQ sauce and cider for a further nine hours. Once the meat is pulled down, pour over the liquid and cover. Chill for roughly a day and when you look back to the meat all that liquid will have been absorbed back into the Pork, making it incredibly juicy and flavoursome.
Make sure you reheat over a high heat, in order to activate the aromatic ingredients that bring that smokey flavour to the forefront.
Another classic. This get roughly the same treatment as the Pork Shoulder, but cooked for less time so that it doesn’t fall apart. I want this to be sliced so it needs to retain a little of its structure.
The trick here is to cook as evenly as possible, because one half of the Brisket will be much thicker than the other. Some people cut it off, which I wouldn’t recommend, so keep giving it attention and move it around while its cooking. A little extra attention goes a long way to making the perfect BBQ Brisket.
Obviously you can do all sorts with BBQ Chicken! Personally I like to use it to fill a niche in the BBQ ‘market’. We’ve already listed some rich, heavy, hearty meats here, so perhaps a Maple & Bourbon glazed Chicken will do the job, or if you fancy a little heat, a Harissa-rubbed Chicken would be delicious too.
Slaw on the Side
The list of possibilities for slaw is endless. Coleslaw – and it’s varieties, Pickled, Winter, Root Vegetable, Apple & Fennel….the list goes on. I like a Pickled Slaw as it cuts through all that richness from the rest of the food and provides some much needed levity at a BBQ. I like to make my liquor with palm sugar and rice wine vinegar, to give a startlingly fresh, zingy, intense liquor. Try it, you will love it!
My Ultimate BBQ Menu
Now, this is not a BBQ for the faint-hearted, or for small numbers. The nature of a BBQ always struck me as something I want to peruse, taking little bits of a number of items, rather than one thing and some garnishes. When we put together BBQ menus catering for weddings and events and when our clients love a BBQ, this is often our starting point….so, here we go….
So there you have it, an amazing and delicious selection of BBQ ingredients and chef’s secrets to make sure you have the perfect barbecue.
For more ideas for your BBQ menu for your wedding or event you can check out some of our stories and example events. You can also look through our menu brochure with even more menu and catering ideas for your day.
To start your bespoke menu with Caviar & Chips just drop us a line or give us a call 0800 978 8221 and our chefs can get to work a craft a menu just for you.