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Barbi's on a budget!

The GrillMaster’s money-saving BBQ Hacks & Recipes

I’ve put together a mix of money-saving BBQ Hacks, tips & recipes, all designed to not only make you a better BBQ’er, but also help you present some amazing BBQ dishes which look and taste great but are easy on the pocket, as all are under £2 per serve!! Some of these dishes can be done with a mix of oven and BBQ and other just on the BBQ, either charcoal or gas. Naturally, I prefer the BBQ route, but the grills must have a lid or hood. Enjoy.

– Brian

Money-saving BBQ recipe 1

Charming Cheddar & Pepper BBQ’d Mushrooms

Serves 2-4 / Cost around £6.00 / £1.50 per head

What you need

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stalks removed
  • 125g sliced cheddar, preferably non-dairy
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper sliced
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tsp BBQ sauce
  • Crushed peppercorn, sea salt & smoked paprika mix
  • Rocker & chopped coriander to garnish

What you do

Mix half the olive oil and peppercorn/sea salt/paprika and brush on mushrooms then place on the medium heat BBQ and grill for 10 mins, basting occasionally.

Grill sliced peppers and tomatoes, also basting with sauce mix, turn when charred.

Place sliced cheddar on top of grilled portobello mushrooms and continue cooking for a further 5-10 mins, once cheese has started to melt, add sliced tomato and pepper, garnish with rocket and chopped coriander and serve

Money-saving BBQ hack 1

A Long Soak

Marinating, especially for cheaper cuts helps food taste great and grill better, as apart from enhanced flavour, it also helps protect food against high grill temperatures. Normally the longer the better, but to cut marinating time by half place food in a sealed plastic bag and place in fridge.

Money-saving BBQ recipe 2

Sizzling Sticky BBQ Chicken

Serves 4 / Cost around £7.00 / £1.75 per head

What you need

  • 4 chicken thighs, skin on

For the BBQ sauce

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 75ml apple juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Crushed peppercorn and sea salt
  • Rocket to garnish

What you do

Heat the BBQ 180C/200C. Season the chicken well with crushed peppercorn and sea salt and place in a roasting tray on the grill and cook for around 30-40 minutes.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a frying pan and simmer on the grill or side burner. Continue cooking until it begins to thicken and looks glazy. Keep half sauce for coating and half for serving.

Once the chicken has cooked through slop the sauce all over and place on medium heat grill bars, that have been well-oiled. Turn-over after 5 mins and coat with more sauce, repeat after a further 5 mins.

Remove chicken from grill and slop over remaining sauce and garnish with Rocket.

Money-saving BBQ hack 2

Over the Rainbow

Introduce colour to your Barbi food and reduce cost by using lots of vegetable such as red, green, or yellow bell peppers, green or yellow courgettes, chilies, asparagus, and aubergine. With peppers once grilled place in a plastic bag and the blackened skin will come off easily.

Money-saving BBQ recipe 3

Perfect Pineapple & Pork Kebabs

Serves 4 / Cost around £7.50 / £1.85 per head

What you need

  • 400g pork belly
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 50ml cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tin of pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into squares
  • 2 red onions cut into chunks
  • Chopped coriander
  • Pitta or flatbread

What you do

Cut the pork belly into cubes. Heat the sugar and vinegar in a pan on a low grill until the sugar melts. Add the soy sauce and pineapple juice stir well and cool. Tip in the pork and mix well until all pork is covered in sauce.

Thread pork and pineapple onto skewers, alternating pieces with the pepper and red onion.

BBQ skewers for 4-5 mins each side, basting any remaining sauce, remove from BBQ, serve with pitta or flatbread and sprinkle with chopped coriander.

Money-saving BBQ hack 3

Low & Slo

It’s not a race against time, so don’t grill too quickly or on too high. Cheaper cuts of meat benefit from marinating and grilling over a low heat for longer. So ‘sear on high’ and then take it ‘low and slow.’ It helps if the grill-bars are well oiled, but don’t turn food to often as this reduces heat.

Money-saving BBQ recipe 4

Brilliant BBQ’d Cauliflower Steaks

Serves 2-4 / Cost around £5.50 (£6.50 with cheddar option) / £2.50 or £1.40 per head

What you need

  • 1 cauliflower head, see notes
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce
  • Sliced tomato
  • (Optional) Sliced cheddar
  • Crushed peppercorn & sea-salt, smoked paprika mix
  • Fresh rocket plus chopped parsley or coriander, for garnish

What you do

Remove all large leaves from cauliflower, trim the stem level Do not cut out.

Stand cauliflower upright, cut off rounded sides of cauliflower head, leaving a large middle piece intact.

With the cauliflower standing on its stem, carefully cut downwards, the steak pieces. Depending on cauliflower size you should get 3-4 steaks.

Ensure that the grill bars are well oiled and then get the BBQ to its highest heat, around 350C. Then reduce, the cauliflower steaks will cook on medium-high heat, around 220/250C.

Brush the cauliflower steaks with half the BBQ sauce and place on the grill.

Close the grill and let the steaks cook for 8-10 minutes at around 220C. Then, flip the cauliflower steaks over once they’ve developed good grill marks.

Add sliced tomatoes to BBQ and grill both sides.

Brush the flipped side with more BBQ sauce. Cook on the second side for another 8-10 minutes.

Option Add sliced cheddar to top of cauliflower steak and sprinkle with crushed peppercorn/sea salt/paprika mix

Remove from the grill and brush again with BBQ sauce and add grilled sliced tomato. Serve with additional sauce on the side and garnish with fresh parsley or coriander as desired.

Money-saving BBQ hack 4

Widen the Menu

It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s a good idea to have a wider spread of foods and cheaper cuts and vegetables help bulk out, you can even include fruit such as mango, papaya & banana, they’re also pretty inexpensive and of course are good for you and 1 of your 5 a day.

Money-saving BBQ recipe 5

Sumptuous Syrup-glazed Hot Wings

Serves 4 / Cost around £7.5 / £1.85 per head

What you need

  • 1kg chicken wings
    For the rub
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dark brown soft sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
    For the glaze
  • 75g butter
  • 75g wine vinegar
  • 75ml Jerk hot sauce
  • 50ml golden syrup

What you do

For the rub mix the in a large bowl. Add chicken wings coat thoroughly. It will help if place in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

Heat BBQ 180C/200C, and place wings on a baking tray on grill and close lid and cook for around 30-40 or until cooked through. Increase BBQ heat to 220C and roast for a further 10 mins until golden brown and crispy.

For the glaze, mix the butter, vinegar, hot sauce and maple syrup in a small saucepan on the grill and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 mins or until the glaze has thickened. Pour half the glaze over wings on tray and carefully mix using a spoon to roll and coat them evenly briefly return to heat. Then serve and pour over remaining glaze.

Money-saving BBQ hack 5

Spread the load

Choose a theme, the US, France, Spain, South Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean are all good. It also helps that they have great wine, beer, and food too! So, persuade your friends and family to enter the spirit and contribute whatever they can afford, it’ll be a big help and you’ll all enjoy.

Money-saving BBQ recipe 6

Amazing ‘pulled’ aubergine & Black Bean BBQ’d Burgers

Serves 4 / Cost around £6.50 / £1.60 per head

What you need

  • 2 large aubergines, pricked all over with a fork
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced & chopped
  • 1 Yellow or Orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 sliced tomatoes
  • 1 heaped tsp garlic granules
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 5 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 400g can black beans, drained
  • 4 burger buns, toasted and lightly buttered
  • Rocket and chopped coriander to garnish, shredded lettuce & coleslaw

What you do

Heat the BBQ to high 280/300C and grill the aubergine, turning occasionally, until blackened and soft, about 20-30 mins. Set aside to cool.

Then heat oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add onion and fry until softened and golden, about 10 mins. Reduce BBQ to 200C/220C.

Peel the skin from the cooled aubergine, discard and scoop out the flesh with a spoon, then place in pan with the onion. Add the garlic granules, paprika, sugar, oregano, 1 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Stir until aromatic, then mix in the BBQ sauce along with the black beans. Season and then cook through until the sauce is rich and thick, and aubergine resembles pulled pork – about 10-15 mins.

Pile into the burger buns with the red onion and coleslaw.

Money-saving BBQ recipe 7

Chomping Chicken Drumsticks

Serves 4 / Cost around £6.00 / £1.50 per head

What you need

  • 12 chicken drumsticks, skin on
    For the BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 50ml mango juice
  • Crushed peppercorn, sea salt & smoked paprika
  • Rocket to garnish

What you do

Heat the BBQ 180C/200C. Season the chicken well with crushed peppercorn & sea salt on griddle plate and grill for around 5 minutes, until lightly browned.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a frying pan and simmer on the grill or side burner, cook until sauce thickens.

Remove half sauce and coat drumsticks and return to grill for a further 10-15 mins on medium heat, turning occasionally until cooked through and sauce has glazed.

Remove chicken from grill and slop over remaining sauce and garnish with Rocket.

Recipes created by Brian George, past President of the National BBQ Association & creator of the annual National BBQ Week, Aka The GrillMaster!