Brits can’t help but go outside when the sun’s out. Can you blame us? If we’re lucky we get about a month of summer weather each year and we’re eager to take advantage of every second of it.
Whether it’s a trip to the lakes, a hike up a mountain or a day in the park you can be sure that any temperature above 22 degrees will see people all over the UK heading outside, and stripping off (!), to enjoy the sun.
And for many of us, the humble BBQ is an essential part of this tradition. Back-gardens, balconies and river banks are filled with the smells of hundreds of BBQs. They take all wonderful shapes and sizes from the classic clam shaped grill, the built-in fire pit all the way down to shop bought disposables (please get rid of them properly). When the sun’s out you can guarantee Brits are grilling.
When we’ve got the weather for it there’s nothing we love more at Freedom Brewery than a BBQ. In fact, alongside brewing great lagers, throwing a great BBQ is something we think we’ve become a bit of an expert in.
With this Bank Holiday Weekend likely to be the last bit of sun we see for a while, we wanted to share our BBQ-ing expertise with you, so here’s our 5 do’s and 4 don’ts for throwing the perfect Freedom Brewery BBQ.
In our opinion 50% of BBQ-ing happens before anything touches the grill. Whether it’s Tandoori chicken marinating overnight in the fridge; or halloumi and aubergine skewers dusted in Za’atar just before grilling the best way to give your food bags of flavour is with proper prep beforehand.
Your guests don’t want flavourless chicken burgers and veggie kebabs so you definitely want to be marinating before they come round otherwise you might find some fast food wrapper amongst the post-party rubbish.
Bonus tip: Keep those condiments coming
Tomato sauce and mayonnaise. They’re classic BBQ staples but they aren’t exactly going to set the back garden culinary world alight are they? When you’re doing the shop for the big party, get adventurous with the condiments. People love options, who doesn’t want some mango relish on their jerk plantain burger?
“It’s not that hot, I’ll be fine” admit it, we’ve all said that at least once in our lives.
Only to wake up the next day with some dodgy looking tan line (Why did I think a string vest was a good idea??) and rather red arms. With sunshine being such an infrequent occurrence in the British Isles, we can’t help but get over excited when it arrives and forget to protect our fair skin.
So when you’re out shopping for food and beer for the big party make sure you pick up a few bottles of factor 50 and some sun parasols too. The last thing you want is the memory of your great BBQ being overshadowed by baths in aftersun and pink lobster skin.
Bonus tip: Check the weather forecast
You don’t want to get all your BBQ stuff ready only to find out it’s raining (though many of us Brits HAVE perfected the art of BBQ-ing under an umbrella!) All that work would have been for nothing. Make sure you check the weather before committing to a BBQ. You could save yourself a lot of hassle.
Don’t listen to anyone who says you don’t need to spend all day by the BBQ. Those burgers aren’t going to flip themselves right!?
But seriously, what we’re getting at here is that a BBQ can be a chance to slow roast meats and veg to create truly delicious food. For example, making a beef brisket takes six hours, making a smoked watermelon ham (an amazing vegan alternative) takes five. Both recipes require your joint to be slow roasted over coals after being sat in a salt brine for 5 days.
At what other time are you going to be able to do that if not at your own BBQ? This is your chance to take on that truly mammoth food project and invite all of your friends around to see, and eat, the fruits (sometimes literally) of your labour. That might require you to carefully tend the coals for a few hours to get the perfect result but let’s be honest, that’s every pitmasters dream. Just make sure you’ve stocked up on cold beers to keep you cool whilst staring into the flames.
Now, we’re not saying there’s anything wrong with the odd frozen burger. If you’re having a BBQ down at your local park or river, prepping a big feast might not be practical and frozen burgers could be the way to go.
But if you’re bringing round friends and family you’ll want to pull out all the stops to give them a BBQ they’ll remember. If you’re a pretty confident chef, use your party as a chance to test your skills and push the boat out for loved ones. New to cooking? Use your BBQ to build your culinary confidence and master some easy recipes. Homemade beef burgers or bean burgers are a great start.
Going that little extra mile on the food front can go a long way in the minds of your guests. Show them you’re a confident cook and your BBQ party will be the envy of your social circle.
Traditionally when we think of a BBQ we think of a loaded grill full of red meats. But that image completely ignores the wealth of amazing sides you can prepare for your BBQ.
We think a BBQ is only as good as its salads and you’re missing an opportunity to impress if you only focus your BBQ party on the grill. Potato salad, panzanella salad, corn salad.
These are just a few of the great things you can make to accompany your BBQ and you might find that a well made and presented salad will become the star of your BBQ.
The last thing you want to happen during your BBQ is to run out of food or beer. You might be lucky enough to have a shop around the corner if supplies start running low but do you really want to run away from your own evening to go and buy more food and lager?
Alternately, how bad would it be to end your BBQ only to find you’ve got a mountain of uncooked food left and a whole cooler full of un-drank beer (Well, the beer part isn’t too bad).
Checking your guest list in advance can help you plan the amount of food to prepare so you’re not left eating chicken burgers and pots of hummus for the next two weeks. Planning your menu based on the number of guests coming also means you can spend extra time preparing each dish and making it something special as opposed to just buying a load of burgers and hoping for the best.
Hey, it is a party after all. Music is great for creating a nice atmosphere and getting people dancing and chatting. The type of music you play is entirely up to you but it might be worth checking your guest list and making a few educated guesses when putting a playlist together. Just make sure the music isn’t too loud, you don’t want to annoy the neighbours.
A cardinal sin at a BBQ! You want to keep the good times flowing at a BBQ and the best way to do that is with an ample supply of beers. Sure the food is important, arguably the centerpiece of the whole evening, but without something delicious to wash it, the whole event can feel a bit dry.
Keeping a few crates on hand is the best way to avoid the alcohol river drying up and guarantees your guests will enjoy your hospitality well into the evening.
When we say hydrated we mean with water and beer. It can be hot at a BBQ so as well as providing shade and sunscreen, having some water on hand can help guests if the heat is getting too much for them. The last thing you want is to be dealing with a person suffering from sunstroke at your BBQ party.
Thankfully, unless you’re really pushing the boat out, you’re probably going to be BBQing in your garden which means the kitchen tap isn’t far away.
And once your guests are feeling fully refreshed and hydrated again you can sling them another Freedom Beer.
Whether it’s a small get together, family gathering or a big garden party blow out Freedom Brewery is here to provide all your beer related needs. We sell a variety of crates over on the website with a range of strengths, flavours and prices so there’s something for everyone.
Plus, to celebrate the August Bank Holiday, we’re offering 20% off all orders! So, if you’d like to check out our range of drinks and order some for your next get together check out our shop now.
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