Making Your Own Food for a BarbecueLook in any supermarket and you’ll find plenty of pre-prepared foods that you can cook onbarbecues. But it’s so easy and rewarding to make your own barbecue food, it would be ashame just to stick to ready-made burgers and sausages.By making your own food, you can provide a tastier selection of dishes, and ensure that thefood is healthy and free from artificial ingredients. And whatever you decide to make, onceyour guests find out the food is homemade, they are bound to be impressed.Barbecue food is really simple to make, so even if you’re not an expert cook, you’ll still be ableto get great results.There are plenty of cookery books written specifically about barbecue food where you can getideas and recipes or you can just experiment with your own ideas and combinations.Think about how many people are going to be at the barbecue and scale recipes up or downaccordingly. You don’t want to have too much food left over but it’s probably advisable to makeslightly more than you need to avoid running out. Most people will come back for seconds soit’s better to over-cater than to have hungry guests.Consider who will be coming to the barbeque and choose foods that you think they will like.There’s no point cooking sophisticated fish dishes if most of the guests are children who prefermore simple tastes. Find out about any dietary requirements that your guests might have inadvance. Once you know who is coming to the barbecue you can choose dishes that you thinkthey will enjoy.Try and include a mixture of different dishes. For instance, rather than making three types ofhomemade burger, introduce some different options. Perhaps have one meat dish, one fishdish and one vegetarian dish and then serve a variety of interesting homemade salads to go onthe side.Prepare as much as possible in advance. If you choose recipes that can be prepared a day ortwo ahead, you’ll make things much easier for yourself. Just ensure that you have room in yourfridge for anything that needs to be kept chilled.Include a few dishes that don’t require any cooking. Again, this will make things easier on theday and will free up space on your barbecue for other things.
Good food hygiene when making your own foodWhen preparing your own food, it’s important to follow the rules of good food hygiene: Keep raw poultry and meat away from other food and use separate chopping boards and utensils for each. Wash your hands thoroughly before you start preparing or cooking food. Always wash your hands after handling raw meat or poultry. Keep raw food fresh by storing it in a fridge or cool box until you are ready to cook.What to make?Here are some different ideas for you to try when making your own food for a BBQ:MeatIt’s easy to make your own burgers and you’ll find that homemade burgers usually have muchmore flavour than the ones that come out of a box.Buy coarsely minced beef from the butcher and add your own seasoning combinations such aschilli, garlic or Mediterranean herbs before forming into a burger shape.FishIf you want to include some healthy options, then fish is a great choice. You can either steamlarger fillets of fish such as salmon by wrapping in a loose pouch made of tinfoil, or threadsmaller pieces of fish and tiger prawns onto skewers to make tasty fish kebabs. If using woodenskewers, remember to soak them in water first to stop them catching light on the barbecue.VegetablesWhether you are catering for vegetarians or just want to give the meat-eaters a bit of variety,there are lots of ways you can cook vegetables on a barbecue. Griddle strips of vegetables suchas aubergine, courgette and pepper to make a mixed vegetable salad, or thread bite-sizedpieces of vegetables onto skewers to make kebabs.SaladsOn a hot day, salads are always a popular choice. They can provide useful extra dishes forvegetarians and health-conscious guests. But salads don’t have to be boring so forget thelettuce and tomatoes and experiment with different combinations. Pasta salads and rice saladsare great for providing a filling salad option at BBQs. Liven up a basic potato salad by addingadditional ingredients such as fresh mint or finely sliced spring onions.
DessertsYou’ll probably find that the barbecue is still hot after you have cooked the savoury food, sowhy not make the most of it and cook your dessert on the barbecue too? You can put bananasstraight onto the barbecue and cook until soft, or wrap other fruits such as apple slices, plumsor pineapple rings in tin foil and place on the barbecue until soft. Served with ice-cream or rumbutter, they all make a delicious dessert.For a tasty and unusual dessert that everyone will love, take a banana and with the skin still on,use a knife to make a long split along the length. Cut through the skin and slightly into the fleshbelow. Next, push a few chocolate buttons into the split you have made. Wrap the banana intinfoil and place on the barbecue. Leave to cook for approximately 10 minutes or until thebanana flesh has become soft and gooey. Serve the bananas in their tinfoil and let your guestsunwrap the delicious parcels to reveal the squidgy banana and melted chocolate inside. Thisdessert can be a bit messy, so serve on paper plates with a spoon to dig out the filling.