A collection of BBQ menus

Been doing a lot of big BBQs recently and trying to mix up the menus, as to be honest I am getting a little bit bored of the American BBQ classics. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but I am not a fan of cooking the same thing over and over.

Getting the menu right for a BBQ is just as important as the individual dishes. I am constantly trying to figure out harmonious menus, to the point where a Saturday morning reverie on the topic is often interrupted by a frustrated “CAN YOU HOLD THE BABY PLEASE FOR A MINUTE”. I’m looking for the elusive trade-off; when entertaining I want the appropriate amount of wow-factor, but practical issues of makeability (is that a word) and the likely impact on the state of the kitchen are also to the fore. Thus you need a mix of things that can be prepared in advance, low and slow cooking that can be left, and a few a la minute bits and bobs. Of course the menu should generally jel, and ideally should be the kind of thing that will get your guests juices flowing when you tell them what’s coming up. I guess we’re prone to overindulgence when catering, but ideally everyone should be left full but not stuffed to the gills.

My best advice when planning a BBQ is to try and move as much of the cooking on the day out into the garden, so you can be with your guests and relaxed, rather than running between the kitchen and garden.

“Less is more” I reckon with such menus. It’s kind of daunting to go to a BBQ and be presented with 10 or 15 cold side dishes, and it means people tend to load up with the “wrong” stuff. Serve less, but put more effort into each part.

Tomorrow’s menu currently looks like this:

Smoked jerk pork ribs with potato salad

Grilled whole sirloin with chimichurri
Israeli couscous with butternut squash

Vanilla ice cream with sticky toffee sauce

A few recent menus:

Guacamole with homemade tortilla chips


Pulled pork sliders with coleslaw

BBQ Turbot with salsa verde

Vanilla ice cream with sticky toffee sauce

Guacamole with homemade tortilla chips

Smoked ribs with coleslaw

Smoked brisket, BBQ beans and potato salad

Malted milk ice cream

Jamon with grilled chicory + sherry vinegar dressing

BBQ spiced quails with chickpea salad

Simon Hopkinson rice pudding

Well you get the idea!

2 thoughts on “A collection of BBQ menus”

  1. You could continue exploring other cuisines for non-traditional BBQ ideas – we had a good Japanese-themed BBQ once, and I think you could get a fair bit of inspiration from yakitori – skewers of interesting stuff that can be prepared in advance and are quick to cook over charcoal. Also gives scope for vegetarian options. Think we make up a teriyaki marinade for strips of steak and salmon, and some kind of mirin marinade for prawns, with some cold noodle & marinaded vegetable salads.

    North African spicing for all sorts of meat also works a treat, again with loads of scope for side dishes, even better if you have an apple-flavoured shisha to finish off while enjoying the BBQ embers!

    But when it comes to slow cooking / smoking huge chunks of meat, I’m not sure anything can beat the American classics …

    1. Nice ideas Tania! We were just saying the other day how it would be fun to cook some Chinese stir-fry directly on the charcoal chimney starter for ultimate heat.

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