As we approach peak BBQ season, this roundup of our favourite BBQ recipes proves there’s far more to grilling than hollowed-out sausages, undercooked drumsticks, and heavily processed burgers. From large steaks to charred cabbage, barbecued desserts, and sides – these are the best BBQ recipes.
The best burger recipe
Burgers are a BBQ essential, whether beef, lamb, chicken, pork, or plant-based. Unfortunately, most shop-bought burgers are absolutely terrible, bolstered with bread crumbs, onions, or other unnecessary additives. This beef burger recipe uses all-beef patties with a blend of cuts, simply seasoned with a little salt and pepper.
- 1 kg minced beef 600g sirloin, 250g brisket, 150g short rib (see notes)
- 4 brioche burger buns ideally sesame seeded
- 8 slices American-style cheese
- 1 Iceberg lettuce shredded
- 60 g caramelised onions or 1 large yellow onion
- 8-12 slices dill pickles/gherkins
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Cooking oil
- Sauce such as ketchup, mustard, burger sauce, relish (optional, to taste)
- If mincing your own beef, place the meat and mincer in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will make it easier to mince the beef at home.
- Season the minced beef and split into 8 125g portions. Form into thin patties (approx. 3-5mm) and season with salt and pepper.
- Slice the buns so the bottom is slightly thicker than the top, in order to accommodate the weight of the patties. Lightly toast under the grill or on the barbecue for 1-2 minutes, being careful to avoid burning.
- If cooking the burgers on the barbecue, rub each patty with a little oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side. As soon as you flip the patties, top with a slice of cheese, allowing it to melt.
- If cooking in a pan, heat a little oil in the pan then add the burgers, leaving plenty of space. You may need to cook in batches, or in multiple pans. Cook over a high heat for 2 minutes, then flip and add the cheese. After 1 minute, add a splash of water to the pan and cover. This will help the cheese to melt and the burgers to cook more evenly. Cook for another minute.
- Remove the patties from the barbecue/pan and leave to rest for a minute while you assemble the rest of the burger.
- On the bottom half of the bun, spread some sauce of your choice, followed by a handful of shredded lettuce, and a thin slice of raw onion (if using). Add the first patty, followed by the second patty. Finish with a tablespoon of caramelised onions (if using).
Mushroom burgers with vegan coleslaw
This vegan burger recipe features oyster mushrooms marinated in sun-dried tomato pesto before being cooked on the BBQ. Best served with vegan coleslaw, avocado, and fresh rocket.
For the pesto mushrooms
- 100 g Sundried tomatoes not in oil
- 3 cloves Garlic peeled
- 25 g Basil leaves picked
- 100 g Cashew nuts
- 200 g Vegetable oil
- 4 tsp Balsamic vinegar
- 300 g Oyster mushrooms
For the subs
- 4 White giant baps sliced in half
- 1 Ripe avocado sliced
- 50 g Wild rocket
For the mayonnaise
- 1 clove Garlic
- ¾ tsp Dijon mustard
- Black pepper a pinch
- 150 ml Soya milk
- 150 ml Sunflower oil
For the slaw
- 250 g Red cabbage
- 250 g White cabbage
- 75 g Carrot
- ½ Onion,
- “To make the pesto, first soak the sundried tomatoes overnight. Alternatively, if you’re short of time, put them in a saucepan, cover with hot water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until softened. Drain, then gently squeeze until dry.
- “Add all the pesto ingredients, except the mushrooms, into a food processor with a pinch of salt and whizz until smooth. Don’t over blend – you want the pesto a little chunky so there is a little bite to it. Put half of the pesto into a mixing bowl and add the mushrooms. Mix well until the mushrooms are evenly coated in pesto.
- “Skewer the mushrooms onto metal skewers, or bamboo skewers soaked in water. Put the mushrooms on a hot part of the barbecue and cook, turning regularly, until they start to char and smell amazing, probably about 5-7 minutes. Carefully remove from the skewers.
- “Toast the giant baps. Add some vegan coleslaw and a few rocket leaves, then top with a decent portion of the pesto mushrooms. Add a couple of slices of avocado and top with the bap lid.”
- “Preheat the oven to 180oC, gas mark 4. Put the whole garlic clove into a small roasting tin and cook for 10 minutes until it starts to smell fantastic, then remove from the oven and peel.
- “To make the mayonnaise, blend the roasted garlic, mustard, pepper, and soya milk with a pinch of salt until smooth. Next slowly and gently pour in the sunflower oil, with the blender running. Continue to blend until it starts to emulsify into a mayonnaise-like texture.
- “Grate the red cabbage, white cabbage and carrot. Finely chop the onion and mix all together in a large bowl. Add in all the mayonnaise et voila! Coleslaw ready to go!”
BBQ Hispi cabbage with anchovy butter
Hispi cabbage is an unexpected BBQ hero, sweeter than ordinary cabbage and taking less time to cook. After being charred on the BBQ, it’s best dressed with a butter sauce spiked with anchovies and chilli, which soaks into the cabbage’s leaf structure.
- 1 large Hispi/sweetheart cabbage
- 200 g unsalted butter diced
- 4-6 anchovy fillets drained and roughly chopped
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- Chilli flakes to taste
- 1 lemon juice only
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cooking oil
- To prepare the cabbage, wash and cut the cabbage into four equal-sized wedges and remove the outer layer of leaves if wilted. Make a V-shaped cut in the bottom of the core on each wedge, but avoid removing too much as it will make the cabbage fall apart while cooking.
- To make the accompanying sauce, slowly melt the butter in a small saucepan then add a drizzle of oil to prevent the butter from burning. Increase the heat and add the chopped anchovies, shallot, and a generous pinch of chilli flakes to the pan. Cook for one minute or so, until sizzling, then season with salt and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside and reheat later, if need be.
- Drizzle the cabbage wedges all over with a little cooking oil and season with salt and pepper.
- If cooking on a BBQ, place the cabbage wedges on the BBQ, flat-side down, over high heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, resisting the temptation to keep moving them around. Once the two flat sides are generously charred and the cabbage wedges are fairly soft, remove from the BBQ and rest for a few minutes while reheating the sauce (if need be).
- If cooking in a pan, heat a large, heavy-bottomed griddle pan or frying pan (ideally cast-iron) until screaming hot. Place the cabbage wedges in the pan, flat-side down, and cook over a high heat for 4-5 minutes on each side, resisting the temptation to keep moving them around. You can also place something heavy, such as a clean saucepan, on top of the cabbage wedges while cooking to weigh them down and char more evenly. Once the two flat sides are generously charred and the cabbage wedges are fairly soft, remove from the pan and rest for a few minutes while reheating the sauce (if need be).
- Drizzle each cabbage wedge with a generous amount of the hot butter and eat while hot.
Grilled cauliflower with caper raisin dressing & cashew nut butter
Like cabbage, cauliflower is particularly suited to being cooked on the BBQ. This recipe from the Tate Modern Restaurant is baked before being grilled over hot coals and smoked, complete with caper and raisin dressing and rich cashew butter.
- 1 large Cauliflower
- 170 g Cashew nut butter
- 10 g Fresh turmeric
- 10 g Maple syrup
- 100 g Golden raisins
- 100 g Lilliput capers
- 100 g Baby spinach optional
- 1 Shallot
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 140C. Trim all the green leaves from the cauliflower, allowing 1 small or ½ large cauliflower per person. Drizzle with olive oil, a generous dusting of fine salt and bake in the oven. Start with 20 minutes, checking the root with a knife to see when it’s tender. The florets should yield and just hold together. Bake for another 5-10 minutes if needed.
- Whilst the cauliflower is cooking, make the cashew butter. We make our own in the restaurant but it requires a very good blender and a lot of patience. Use a quality brand like Meridian cashew butter, add 10g maple syrup and 10g fresh, finely grated turmeric. Smash the turmeric in a pestle and mortar if available, or grate finely on a micro plane. You can use dried if fresh is not available but the fresh gives such an ethereal perfumed finish to the dish it is well worth seeking out. Mix very well.
- (N.B The recipe makes more than you need but it keeps well in the fridge & is delicious with pretty much anything.)
- Caper and raisin dressing gives a sweet, sour and salty finish that lifts the cauliflower and balances the richness of the butter. Take 100g golden raisins, cover with water in a pan and bring to the boil. When boiled, immediately turn off and drain the raisins, leave in the sieve to drain dry. Mix with 100g capers (adding a good dash of their vinegary brine). Finally add a finely chopped shallot and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix together.
- Preheat a griddle pan or – better – use a bbq. Break the cauliflower into natural chunky florets and char the cauliflower to get some colour and a bit of smoke until it’s hot inside.
- Meanwhile, in another pan, warm up some of the caper and raisin mix with a tablespoon of water. When hot, throw in the cauliflower florets and gently turn to coat in the mix. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
- To serve, dot some of the cashew butter on each serving plate. Place the cauliflower florets on next and then top with some of the caper and raisin that is left behind in the pan.
- We serve with some wilted spinach as a garnish but this is totally up to you. Fresh coriander leaves would also work well.
Steaks are often cooked indoors in the UK, but these cuts of meat are particularly suited to cooking on the BBQ – especially large cuts. Tomahawk is a large bone-in steak that requires some special attention and skill, but the results are unrivalled.
- Oven-proof, heavy-based frying pan large enough for the steak (ideally a cast iron skillet) or BBQ
- Shallow baking tray, if your pan isn’t oven-proof (unnecessary if cooking steak on the BBQ)
- Tomahawk steak approx. 1kg
- Salt and black pepper
- Vegetable / rapeseed oil or any cooking oil that can withstand a high heat
- 70 g Butter
- Woody herbs such as thyme or rosemary a small bunch
- 2-4 cloves Garlic to taste
For the shallot and red wine sauce
- 2-3 Shallots
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- Cooking oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 stalks Thyme leaves picked
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 500 ml Red wine
- 750 ml Beef stock
- 50 g Butter
- Double cream to taste (approx. 25ml)
- Before you start cooking, remove the steak from the fridge, season both sides with salt and leave for 30 minutes – an hour, to bring the steak up to room temperature. If the steak has a long strip of fat, make small incisions to help it render.
- Heat the pan or BBQ until screaming hot, then brush or rub both sides of the steak with a little oil.
- Once hot, place the steak in the pan (dropping the meat away from you, to prevent any fat splash-back) or on to a hot area of the BBQ.
- Cook over a medium-high heat for around five minutes, leaving the steak completely undisturbed to build up good caramelisation, which ultimately creates that gorgeous crust you get in steakhouses.
- Once a good crust has formed, turn the steak and decrease the heat to low or move to a cooler part of the BBQ, for indirect cooking.
- If cooking on the hob, add 50g of the butter, herbs and garlic to the pan and constantly baste for a minute or two.
- If cooking indoors, move the pan to the oven (or place the steak on a pre-heated baking tray with the butter and herbs) and cook for around 5-10 minutes. If cooking on the BBQ, continue to cook over indirect heat for 10 minutes. Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the beef, close to the bone. 130F is an ideal temperature for this cut (medium rare). Remove from the oven/BBQ, or continue cooking for a more well-done steak (temperatures above).
- Rest the beef on a warm plate for 15 minutes, with the butter and herbs. Also melt the rest of the butter and pour onto the steak.
- Once rested, serve whole or remove the bone and carve into finger-sized slices, cutting across the grain of the meat. Finish with a good pinch of salt and a generous amount of cracked black pepper.
To make the shallot and red wine sauce
- Finely dice the shallots and add to a sauce pan with a little oil, over a medium-low heat. Add a pinch of salt and sweat the shallots until translucent, being sure not to colour the shallots.
- Add two cloves of minced garlic and the thyme leaves, slightly increase the heat and cook for another minute, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning.
- Add a tablespoon of sugar to the pan and continue to stir until the sugar dissolves and becomes slightly syrupy.
- Add the wine to the pan and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has reduced by at least half and the alcohol smell has gone. Slowly pour 750ml beef stock into the pan, season with cracked black pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 25-40 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. (If the sauce is still too thin when you’re ready to serve, increase the heat to high and try to avoid stirring, but keep an eye on it so the shallots don’t scorch).
- Once the desired consistency is reached, add the butter and stir until melted. Taste for seasoning (add more salt, pepper, or sugar if necessary), remove from the heat, and stir in a drizzle of the cream.
Skye Gyngell’s grilled lamb cutlets with asparagus, horseradish & salsa verde
Sky Gyngell’s BBQ lamb cutlets are quick to cook and prepare, accompanied by asparagus spears, horseradish cream, and delicious salsa verde (we recommend scaling up the ingredients to make extra salsa verde, saving it to accompany other dishes).
- 12-16 little lamb cutlets
- A little extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 asparagus spears
For the salsa verde
- 1 tsp toasted ground cumin seeds
- A bunch mint leaves only
- A bunch basil leaves only
- A bunch flat leaf parsley leaves only
- A bunch rocket
- ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 anchovies
- ½ tbsp capers
- 1 clove garlic peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
For the horseradish cream
- 2 inches fresh horseradish root grated
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- A pinch sea salt
- 180 ml creme fraîche
To make the salsa verde
- Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Pour in the oil slowly through the funnel in the top. You should have a sludgy, vibrant green sauce. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the horseradish cream
- Place the grated horseradish into a bowl and pour over the red wine vinegar. Season with salt. Stir in the creme fraîche and place in the fridge until ready to use.
- Place a large pot of well salted water on to boil. Trim the woody ends of the asparagus.
To make the lamb
- Lay the lamb cutlets on a board. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and brush with oil. Heat the barbecue or a griddle pan until smoking, and cook the cutlets for 1-2 mins per side.
- While the cutlets are cooking blanch the asparagus by dropping it into the boiling, well salted water. Cook for 40 seconds – it should still have a nice bite. Alternatively, griddle on the barbecue alongside the meat.
- Remove the cutlets from the grill and squeeze over the lemon juice. Let rest for a few minutes to allow the meat to relax.
- This is a real star of a dish so invest in the prep so you can simply griddle the lamb and serve on the day.
- Arrange the cutlets and asparagus on a serving plate, spoon over the salsa verde and serve the horseradish cream alongside.
BBQ lamb chops with vindaloo spices
A modern version of the classic, all-too-often feared, vindaloo – Indian chef Abdul Yaseen’s recipe for lamb chops with vindaloo spices are cloaked with a rub of cardamom, peppercorn, dried chilli, clove, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, coriander seed, fenugreek, tomato, and jaggery.
- 4 Lamb chops, trimmed (from the best end)
- 2 tbsp Corn or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp Ginger paste
- 1 tsp Garlic paste
- 1 tsp Salt
- 4 tbsp Clear vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dark vinegar
For the rub
- 6 pods Green cardamom
- 1 tsp Teaspoon black peppercorn
- 4 Dried chillies
- 6 Cloves
- 2 inches Cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Ground turmeric
- 1 tsp Coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
- 2 tbsp Fresh tomato puree
- 1 tsp Jaggery or brown sugar
- 20 gram Hard butter cubes salted
For the mustard mash
- 500 gram Floury potatoes such as Desiree peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 tsp Ground turmeric
- 1 tsp Salt
- 100 gram Butter
- 1 tbsp Corn or vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 inch Ginger scraped and finely chopped
- 2 Green chillies chopped
- 2 tbsp Dijon/English mustard
- 2 tbsp Single cream
- 1 tbsp Fresh coriander chopped
To make the rub
- Combine all the dry spices in a tray, spread them out and dry them out completely in a slow oven without burning them.
- Pound them using a mortar and pestle to a coarse powder
- In a bowl mix the ground spices with vinegar, add the lamb and mix thoroughly to coat well. Set aside for 10 minutes
- Heat the grill and cook the chops on a medium heat by searing them for 3-4 minutes each side to get a crisp skin and golden brown colour
- Remove from fire and keep warm in an oven dish to rest preserving the juices and keeping it covered
- Collect the juices in a pan and reduce with tomato puree, jaggery and add the butter.
- Check the seasoning
- Boil the potatoes with turmeric and salt until tender
- Drain and pass through a fine sieve and mix with the butter
- Heat the clarified butter in a thick bottom frying pan, add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, add the ginger and green chillies
- Stir in the mashed potatoes; add the mustard paste and cream and sauté till the potatoes leave the side of the pan
- Add the coriander leaves, mix well and remove from fire
- Divide the mash on to four plates, sit the chops on it and pour the sauce around for pres1entation
Miso butter potatoes
These potatoes aren’t actually cooked on the BBQ, but they’re an ideal side. After all, balance is everything when it comes to a great BBQ and the non-grilled sides are just as important.
- 350 g new potatoes
For the herb vinegar
- large handful coriander leaves picked
- large handful parsley leaves picked
- large handful mint leaves picked
- 1 green chilli
- 100 ml malt vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil the authors recommend using Odysea extra-virgin olive oil
For the miso butter
- 1 tbsp brown miso
- 50 g unsalted butter
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Tip in the potatoes and gently boil them for 15–20 minutes, until tender, then drain and allow to cool slightly
- While the potatoes are boiling, make the herb vinegar. Whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor until finely chopped. (Or, very finely chop up the herbs and chilli and mix them in a bowl with the vinegar and oil.) Set aside.
- Just before the potatoes are ready, make the miso butter. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the miso, butter, pepper and soy sauce. Allow to melt, then whisk vigorously to combine. Once you have drained the potatoes, add them to the miso butter in the pan, smashing them down lightly with a spatula and cooking and turning them for a couple of minutes to coat.
- Spoon the potatoes into a serving dish and drizzle with the herb vinegar to serve.
Twisted’s nectarine Panzanella
From the new Twisted: A Cookbook – Bold, Unserious, Delicious Food for Every Occasion, this nectarine Panzanella recipe makes good use of leftover bread, combined with nectarine cooked on the BBQ, peppers, tomatoes, and burrata.
- 2 Large red peppers
- 2 Large yellow peppers
- 4 Nectarines pitted and cut into thick slices
- 4.5 tbsp Olive oil
- 400 g Firm, good-quality, day-old bread sliced
- 2 tbsp Red wine vinegar plus 1 tsp
- 1 Red onion thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp Caster (superfine) sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Garlic clove crushed
- 500 g Ripe mixed tomatoes cut into wedges
- a large handful of basil roughly torn
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 Burrata to serve
- Preheat your barbecue until the flames have subsided and the coals have turned white.
- Grill the peppers in their skins until completely blackened all over, then transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) to steam for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off the blackened skins, slice the peppers into thick slivers and set aside.
- In a bowl, toss the nectarine slices in 1½ tbsp of the olive oil, until well coated. Grill the slices until they are a little charred, then set aside.
- Using your fingers, sprinkle the bread slices with 2 tbsp of the red wine vinegar, then toast on the grill and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the red onion with the sugar and lemon juice and leave to macerate for around 20 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 tsp of red wine vinegar, the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil and the garlic to the onions, then add the sliced, cooked peppers, the tomatoes with their juices, the grilled nectarine slices and the basil. Tear the toasted bread into rough chunks and add to the mix, then toss to combine. Season to taste.
- Transfer the salad to a large platter then tear over the burrata, drizzling with a little more olive oil if you like.
BBQ cherry & almond tart
Taken from the Grill Smoke BBQ by Ben Tish, this BBQ cherry and almond tart is a perfect option to impress guests. This tart is slightly challenging but also great fun to make, and once you’ve mastered it, you’ve got a versatile base to work with, varying the fruits with the seasons.
- 1 quantity Sweet pastry (see below), at room temperature
- 125 grams Unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
- 125 grams Caster (superfine) sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 3 Free-range eggs
- 125 grams Plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting sifted
- 220 grms Cherries pitted
- 125 grams Ground almonds (almond meal)
For the Sweet Pastry
- 250 grams Plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- 50 grams Icing (confectioners’) sugar
- Salt, a pinch
- 125 grams Unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1 Egg lightly beaten
- 4 tsp Full-cream (whole milk)
To Make the Sweet Pastry
- Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl, then add the butter and rub to form rough crumbs.
- Add the egg and milk and mix to incorporate
- Bring the dough together into a ball and dust lightly with flour, then wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes
- Bring the pastry back to room temperature before rolling it out
- Grease the tin or pan with butter and dust with flour, then put in the fridge to chill
- Place a large sheet of baking paper on a work surface and dust with sugar, then sit the pastry on top and cover with another sheet of baking paper
- Roll out the pastry between the two sheets of paper to a thickness of about 3mm (1⁄8 in) and with a circumference large enough to line the tin with some overhang
- Carefully transfer the pastry to the tin
- Don’t worry about any small holes or tears – just patch them up as best you can with a little of the excess overhanging pastry
- Press the pastry into the base and sides of the tin, then prick the base all over with a fork.
- Cover the tart shell with a crumpled sheet of baking paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
- Make a frangipane by creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (either using an electric mixer or by hand), then beat in the eggs one by one
- Finally, fold in the flour and almonds until fully incorporated
- Fill the lined tart shell with baking beans or uncooked rice, then blind bake for 10–15 minutes, or until the base and sides are cooked and crisp but still pale
- Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking
- Place the lump of wood to the side of the charcoal to start smoking
- You want the temperature inside the barbecue to be about 180–190°C/350–375°F, regulate with the vents and lid during the baking time, if needed
- Remove the tart shell from the oven, take out the paper and beans or rice and leave to cool for 10 minutes before cutting away the crust overhang with a small knife. Spoon the frangipane into the tart shell and dot the cherries on top
- Wrap the base and sides of the tin in a double layer of foil to help buffer the fierce heat rising from the coals
- Sit the tart on the plank, then transfer to the indirect heat zone and close the lid of the barbecue
- Cook the tart for 35–40 minutes or until the crust has browned, the frangipane has just set (a skewer inserted in the centre should come out fairly clean) and the cherries have started to bleed their juices
- Remove the tart from the barbecue and leave to cool for an hour before serving.