We are a nation of BBQ-lovers, even though we don’t always have the weather for it. This means we take every opportunity there is, especially when we see a dry, sunny spell coming. The messages go out, the date is set and it’s then a case of stocking up the fridge. Whether you’re having a BBQ with friends or family, the cost quickly adds up and before you know it, you’ve spent your weekly food budget for just the one meal. With this in mind, we’ve listed our top 5 tips below of how you can keep the cost to a minimum, without it spoiling any of the fun.
1) Make your own marinade
You’ll usually find that food that has already been marinated is more expensive than food that hasn’t. This is because there’s an additional cost for the suppliers of the marinade itself, as well as applying it to the food. It’s extremely easy to make your own, most often from everyday seasonings and produce you’re likely to have anyway, such as limes, lemons and spices. You’ll find a massive cut to your food bill, as well as having the opportunity to show-off your cooking skills to everyone attending.
2) Set up some competition
Further to the first point, extend the competition side further by setting up a Come Dine With Me type event. This will allow you to ask people to bring particular dishes, without it appearing you’re just doing it to cut down the cooking for yourself. Everyone can then make their favourite marinade, salad or pudding, with a quick bit of judging at the end. You’ll also find people will focus a little bit more on what they bring rather than a generic salad.
3) Drink Pimms over wine
Alcohol often makes up the bulk of the cost, people tend to drink more on sunny days and the cost of wine really soon adds up. By just having Pimms you can decide on the strength and it’s fantastic value for money, with a standard bottle making around 4 – 5 litres. Including the fruit and lemonade/soda mixer, the total cost will be around £20, which works out to be £4 per litre. This compares to wine, which will cost you over £5 a bottle (70cl) for something drinkable, which is the equivalent of £7.15 per litre. From this, the saving made by drinking Pimms is a whopping 46%.
Beer is also cheaper on wine based on quantity and is always on offer – this should mean you’re then fully catered for anyone looking to have an alcoholic drink.
4) Buy large cuts of meat
If you’re having a large group of people over for the BBQ, avoid buying individual cuts of meats as it works out to be far more expensive. For example, buy the full pork loin and be your own butcher at home to turn slice it into pork chops. You can also look at large, cheaper cuts of meat such as shoulder of pork, which you wouldn’t usually use everyday. These can be turned into delicious pulled pork, which is incredibly tender and will be an absolute stand-out and the talk of the BBQ.
5) Use potatoes as a filler
It’s a fact – potatoes fill people up very quickly, whilst being one of the cheapest food items to buy. If you’re providing your own salad, make up a large potato-salad so you can cut down the amount of meat you need to serve. You can also get some jacket potatoes going on the BBQ – a great tip here is to preheat in the microwave or oven and then wrap them in foil before placing on the BBQ for the last bit of cooking. Again, they’re a great filler and will ensure you’re guests go away feeling stuffed.
Now all we need to hope is that we continue to see some fine weather so the BBQ gets it’s fair share of use before being put away for another year!