Light up the barbeque – and save

Summer is here and many of us are ready to celebrate the end of lockdown with a barbeque.

Having people round to enjoy a few drinks and some fun food is a great way to reconnect with friends you might not have seen for over a year. It’s certainly easier to run than an indoor party and if there’s the occasional spilled drink or dropped plate, it’s not a disaster when it’s your lawn rather than your carpet that suffers.

But costs can quickly add up when it’s a large group. Ask guests to let you know if they’re definitely coming and make a note of the number of people you need to keep fed and lubricated, then work out how much per head you want to spend. Of course, you’ll want to be generous, and you want everyone there, so it’s all too easy to find you are spending more than you intended.

Our helpful ideas could let you limit the expense, without putting a limit on the fun.

Hotdogs for all

Hotdogs are by far the most budget friendly item on the BBQ food list. Kids love hotdogs so let your younger guests fill up on the cheaper ones before you get out the more expensive meats for the adults. Make sure you stock up with plenty of them to fill people up which enables you to buy less of the more expensive items.

Nobody will know you bought packs of cheap sausages if you have them out of the packs before they arrive and presented nicely on a tray. You can also do this with burgers - it’s all about the presentation.

Last minute shop

To really cut the costs, go for value brands. You can get your hands on sausages, chicken portions, burgers and even things like chops that need to be eaten that day with a hefty saving.

You may also find salads and sides such as coleslaw and potato salads in the reduced cabinet.

You can also save by looking at the frozen food. Things like burgers, kebabs and drumsticks can be up to half the price. Many supermarkets have a frozen BBQ food section each summer. Check out Iceland’s £5 BBQ pack for an amazing deal.

Don’t forget the vegetables

Not everybody eats meat these days, so you need to provide some vegetarian alternatives – which is fine because cutting down on meat cuts the costs. Vegetable kebabs are delicious and great fun to make.

There are plenty of great tasting vegetarian barbecue ideas here.

You should also look at some oven cooking before you fire up outside. Corn on the cob is delicious grilled with butter. Wrap up a load of potatoes in foil for a few hours for mouth-watering jackets.

Ask for contributions

Part of the fun of a barbeque is bringing something to eat. Don’t be afraid to ask people to bring along something for cooking or a dish to share. Most keen cooks are flattered to be asked to bring along something they have made themselves. Pasta is a great idea, and a big bowl is easy to share.

Time for a drink

People will probably expect to bring something to drink, but you’ll need to lay in some beer and wine, and drinks for the children.

Don’t worry about cans for kids. Fill big pitchers with orange and lemon squash, and you can keep them hydrated all afternoon for a few pounds.

For adults, look online for deals on alcohol, or check out your local supermarket. Some own brand lagers have received good reviews.

Don’t forget the paperwork…

Finally, remember you don’t want to use your good plates and glasses for a barbecue. Head on down to your local pound shop or its online equivalent and stock up on paper plates and cups, and don’t forget the napkins.

After all the work you put in to hosting the perfect (if very economical) barbecue, the last thing you want is a pile of washing up!

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