Nothing says summer quite like a good old-fashioned BBQ. You’ve been checking the weather all week, perfecting your Aussie “shrimp on the barbie” impersonation and invited your family, friends and your in-laws.
They all expect nothing but culinary greatness from you. But how do you host a memorable day with without spending a fortune?
Here’s our 20 budget BBQ hacks to help you smoke the competition for less.
1. Ditch the disposable barbecue. Although they might seem like a cheaper option than the real thing, they’re usually a waste of money and you can’t re-use them. You also might end up needing more than one to keep the grilling going.
2. A proper barbecue is an investment. You can pick up a cheap BBQ from most supermarkets and DIY shops for as little as £10. You’ll be able to use it all summer long and those cheap bags of charcoal from your supermarket are the only extra you’ll need.
3. Know your crowd. Have you invited a few of your close friends or the entire street? Get a headcount in advance and make sure people tell you if they’re bringing a ‘plus one’ so you don’t get too many supplies.
4. Pick the right time to buy a barbecue. Prices usually drop depending on the time of year or even the weather, so choosing the right time to buy a BBQ is a wise move.
5. Become a grill master. Far too much food gets wasted simply because it gets burnt and is then inedible. Check out some videos online. There are loads of great step-by-step tutorials on how to get perfectly cooked meat every time.
6. Embrace the pound shop. This is a great choice to pick up the essentials such as firelighters, paper plates, cups, napkins and utensils.
7. If you’ve already got it, use it. If you’re only hosting a small barbecue then use the utensils, cutlery and plates you’ve already got. The only downside to this is you’ll have to wash up, but that’s what guests are for – after all, you’ve done all the hard work cooking!
8. One pack at a time. Avoid wasting food and money by opening one item of food at a time. If you don’t you’ll be throwing away stale or forgotten food at the end of the day.
9. DIY burgers. Guess what? Mince is cheap. Spend less on packs of burgers that shrink to half their size and make your own. Trust me, they’re easy to make, cheaper and delicious.
10. Stock up in advance. A well planned barbecue shouldn’t mean rushing out and buying everything at once. Buy and freeze your meat when there are offers available and there’ll be less bills and more grills.
11. Ditch the chicken breasts. Chicken on the bone is a cheaper alternative, easier to handle on the barbecue and can marinated for extra flavour. Just make sure you cook it thoroughly, nobody wants to remember your party for all the wrong reasons.
12. Get creative with the meat. Nobody will know you bought packs of cheap sausages and budget cuts of meat if you add a slice of cheese, peppers, sauce and marinade. It’s all about the presentation.
13. Impress the veggies. Quorn and meat-free options are usually a cheaper alternative to meat. There’s no need to use a separate grill for these either, just cook the vegetarian option in a cheap foil tray on the barbecue and keep it separate.
14. Carbs, carbs, carbs. Jacket potatoes are a cheap and filling side that can be cooked, wrapped in tin-foil and grilled on the barbecue.
15. Garlic bread is a dirt cheap filler that’s guaranteed to save you some dough (dough, get it?) and of course, it always goes down a treat.
16. Corn on the cob with a little butter never fails to impress your guests and will happily cook away when wrapped in tin-foil and cooked on the barbecue.
17. Crisps, nachos and dips are a cheap starter that might start to fill up some guests before the main event begins. Stick to supermarket own-brands rather than the expensive brands, nobody will know the difference after a few glasses of…. water.
18. Make your own marinade. Why buy expensive supermarket shop marinade when you can make James and Peer’s cheap sauces? Be warned though, Peer’s hot sauce is HOT!
19. BYOB. Or bring your own beer. Ask your guests to bring their own drinks. If you feel bad asking others to provide the drinks, tell them you’ll get the soft drinks and mixers in and grab a few cheap bottles of pop.
20. Bring a pudding should be something to ask your guests. Does your mate from work always talk about baking the best brownies? Challenge them to impress you and fill your guests up for free!
Got any sizzling BBQ tips of your own you want to let us know about? We’d love to hear them, so leave a comment! For more budgeting tips, sign up to our monthly money-saving newsletter.