We’ve moved alfresco and this is how to do it.
Can we really say the words “British Summer” if you don’t get the BBQ out? At Funky Pigeon, we don’t think so, and, with most of us spending a considerable amount of time at home, we’ve likely all used our BBQs more in the last year than ever before.
In the past 12 months, Brits have spent a whopping £9.5 billion* on getting our gardens, patios, and balconies ready for BBQ season, but that is just the beginning. With so much to think about and summer quite literally around the corner, here’s everything you need to know about the new British alfresco dining experience.
The Ultimate British BBQ
Of course, good food + good weather + good company is the perfect formula for a successful barbecue, but how many people would be disappointed if their alfresco meal included the simple hot dog and burger options? We predict quite a few.
The idea of what it means to have a good ol’ barbecue has come a long way in recent years, and, with more to think about and more to plan, you may be looking for a cheat sheet.
Well, we have you covered – here’s what you need to know to take your summer dinner to the next level:
1. Remember, Marinades Will Be Your Best Friend
A good marinade can take your BBQ to the next level. Yes, it’s easy just to buy food to throw on the barbie, but that’s not going to crown you barbeque boss. The earlier you get that food marinating, the better, so we always recommend getting ahead of yourself by preparing the night before and leaving food in the fridge.
2. Have All the Condiments You Could Possibly Need
In this day and age, the standard ketchup and mustard will just no longer suffice. If you want to make sure there’s something for everyone, you will need to have condiments for all occasions, meats, taste buds, and veg. We’ve taken a little look into which are the favourites to give you a head start on your shopping list:
Top 10 UK’s Favourite Condiments
Keen to find out more about which BBQ condiments the nation favours, we took a look at regional search data to discover the popular choices for Brits this summer.
We analysed the average monthly search volume for phrases commonly associated with BBQ and ranked them to see which one came out on top.
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Tartar sauce
Although mustard and mayo have managed to get into the top 10, ketchup is no longer a national favourite to have at a BBQ – ranking a lowly 17th! – as Brits focus more on adding a complementary condiment than a sauce.
3. Be Prepared for Whatever the Weather
We may be biased, but we genuinely believe that British weather is some of the most unpredictable. So much so that it’s better to expect the unexpected. We like to hope a sunny forecast means the perfect weather but, having a gazebo or parasols that you and your diners can gather under for ‘ just in case’ purposes wouldn’t go amiss.
4. Cater to Everyone’s Needs
Whether that means more vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian options, you will need something for everyone to have and host a successful barbecue. Everyone should feel like they have plenty of tasty options to choose from, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend big.
Of course, it ultimately depends on how many people you’re catering for, but asking people to bring something with them can help make sure they have the food they’ll definitely like and assist you in terms of expenses. This also is helpful for people who are doing specific diets because they’ll know which foods they can eat without feeling left out.
5. Get All the Equipment Ready In Advance
Between the briquettes or gas (depending on your BBQ) to skewers, tongs and aprons, there’s a lot of equipment needed to master the alfresco British summer dining experience. Your absolute essentials list includes:
- Tongs, knives and spatulas for cooking and flipping
- Coal + firelighters/firelighter fluid or Gas (depending on the type of BBQ you have)
- An empty bin/big bag
- Reusable cups
- Disposable cutlery
- An apron (because you don’t want to get your clothes dirty as the chef!)
- Gazebo, parasols or a sheltered area for people to take cover in case it rains
- Food storage containers and covers to keep things fresh and flies away
- Drinks cooler or a bucket to put drinks into
What Does Your Barbecue Plate Say About You?
Burgers and Hotdogs All the Way
You’re a traditionalist. Chances are you never miss the opportunity to have a BBQ, or go to one for that matter, but you don’t need anything ‘fancy’; a couple of burgers or hotdogs and you’re happy.
Between the tossed salad, potato salad, and pasta salad, sometimes you just want good vibes without the hot food, and a BBQ provides this splendidly. No, none of it goes on the BBQ, and yes, it’s usually just an accompaniment, but it holds a prominent place in your heart (and on your plate) just the same.
You successfully manage to navigate a BBQ without the need for a plate, like the BBQ-pro that you are without getting your hands that ‘dirty’. All you need is the location of the tissue. After that, you’re all good.
Skewers are helpful in more ways than one – they hold a variety of food together, and they’re made for holding. You like the idea of bitesize food, with the possible thrill of finding a selection of food on the beloved skewer.
Bit of Everything
You don’t pass up an opportunity to sample a little of everything; after all, how can you with so many different flavours going on? The good news is, because you like a little of everything, if other people only eat certain things, you’ll happily make sure they get what they need first.
* Brits spent on average £181 on Garden Decor + Garden Furniture + BBQ equipment in lockdown, according to American Express / £181 * 52,673,000 (UK adult population) = £9,533,813,000 or £9.5 billion – the amount adults spend on getting gardens and outdoor spaces ready.
We created a list of over 30 of the UK’s most popular condiments according to articles published by multiple reputable publications. We then built out a list of search terms used for the condiments and used these to track the average search volume for each condiment across the UK from April 2017 – March 2021.