Barbie Time: our top BBQ tips
It’s National Barbecue Week (yes, it’s a legit thing – whoop!), so here are some different types of barbies and tips for eating, drinking, hosting and general BBQ merriment for when summer finally arrives.
THE FAMILY AFFAIR
You’ve been invited to a family barbie bash. So go upmarket and crank out the bevs you’ve been saving for a special occasion (and yes, sunshine in the UK is just that). Warner Edwards Rhubarb Gin screams classy but cool, even if you’re rocking an entirely Primarni outfit. Best served on the rocks to bring out the rhubarb.
If gin isn’t your tipple, Pimms is a classic. Just make sure you get those proportions right and don’t get so plastered that you have to be put to bed at 8pm. Or worse, get family members too merry. As hilarious as it is to see your family smashed, next thing is they start reminiscing about that christening in 1983 where Aunty Sheila wasn’t invited and it’s utter chaos.
Food-wise, bring something different to the mix: halloumi, corn on the cob, lamb koftas. You can even get fancy and make your own burgers (actually dead easy – try out this recipe). You’ll soon be your gran’s favourite and she’ll be telling the neighbours you’re the next Jamie Oliver.
If you have little kids or mates/family with a litter, plan ahead. If you’re hosting this means safety first: don’t leave hot tongs lying around and thwart any attempts to create a bonfire on the barbie. Keep kids entertained by balls and bubbles – cheap and effective for various ages. Train 2-5 year olds to fetch you cans of beer from the fridge and turn it into a fun party game (you might need parental permission for this, but we’re sure they’ll appreciate it.) Food-wise make a jelly and serve with ice cream. It may have to be non-alcoholic (sos).
For anyone pregnant, not drinking, or cleverly pacing themselves we recommend elderflower and soda water – delish. And for any parent who is drinking but wants to style it out, a Gin Garden is an amazing cocktail (gin, elderflower cordial, pressed apple juice, cucumber slices, mint). If the kids run riot make sure you’ve got Frozen on DVD, a classic crowdpleaser.
THE PARTY IN THE PARK
Hot weather but don’t have a garden? Meet your mates after work for a disposable barbie in the park. Keep it simple and bring along some picnic classics – crisps, sausage rolls, pork pies, bread, cold meats, olives, dips. Then if all fails on your disposable BBQ or you’re not allowed one in the park you won’t a) starve or b) get food poisoning from a dodgy sausage. Liaise with your mates as to who’s bringing what so do you don’t end up with 10 packets of Kettle chips and start a riot in Waitrose for depleting supplies.
Drink wise, a few beers and ciders are less faff than pimms/wine and go down a storm. Or confuse everyone with Koppaberg Fruit Lager – lager with a hint of lemon and lime, refreshing and delish. Don’t forget the park essentials: blanket, kitchen roll, plastic cutlery, and plastic bag or two for your rubbish. Oh and your disposable barbie, obvs. Make it more fun by bringing games – rounders, football, frisbee. Just try not to get injured in the process.
If you’re hosting a standard BBQ, it’s totally OK to ask guests to BYO meat and booze, but buy backup. Sort out all the extras (buns, sauces, soft drinks, ice, cheese, salad…). You get the gist.
Buy disposable cutlery/plates/glasses. You may destroy the environment, but hey it’s no washing up and no breakage. Safety first.
A jug of Sangria will get the party started and you’ll win host brownie points. For a hostess with the mostess make vodka jelly shots (Jane’s top tip: “borrow” paper sauce cups from a certain golden arches fast food chain to make them in – the jelly actually comes out and again no washing up!).
If you’re rocking up to a barbie, do bring meat and booze, and buy more than you want to eat/drink as inevitably you’ll want more. Don’t be a d*** and buy value meat, you’ll be branded an Iceland queen forever. Booze-wise go for Buck’s Fizz during the day and save the spirits for when the party gets started.
As for the rest… Bring your sunnies, sun cream, a brolly, and of course your A-game and you’ll be sorted for any barbie. Enjoy!
What are your tips for hosting a summer barbie? Share with us – @tweetjanes.