The most mouth-watering but simple and easy recipes to cook on a charcoal grill.

High summer is now hitting its fullest stride. And this being Britain, it has, thus far, featured the classic combination of short sharp downpours and correspondingly short and sharp appearances of the sunshine. But hailing from the UK means one thing: neither searing heat nor a deluge will deter us from our valiant efforts to fire up the barbecue. After all, if we don’t do it now, it’ll be another whole year till we get sizzling once more.

We love a spot of al fresco grilling for the ceremony of it as much as the food. But it helps when the latter is as good as can be. Here we’ve rounded up our very favourite recipes, from the committedly carnivorous to the best vegan barbecue options, as well as the ultimate accompanying potato salad.

Nathan Outlaw’s Seafood Burger

Jamie Oliver

The culinary star behind the pass at the eponymous double Michelin-starred Nathan Outlaw Restaurant (currently being restyled as Outlaw’s New Road) in Port Isaac is a genius when it comes to seafood. Having worked previously with Rick Stein, ultimate king of the fish, he should be. Here Jamie OIiver defers to Outlaw’s seafood burger on his website, as well he should; it is truly sublime. King prawns, cod fillet and crabmeat, all given a kick with wasabi mayonnaise and quickly chargrilled on the barbecue: irresistible.

Barbecued Sticky Ribs

Great British Chefs

The seductive powers of sizzling pork in a frying pan is well-documented (many is the new vegetarian who cites the smell of bacon as the thing most likely to pull them back into their old carnivorous ways). But throw it on the barbecue and the smoky sweet flavours hit new levels of come-hither deliciousness. This recipe from chef Josh Eggleton is a winner, thanks to the aforementioned smokiness allied with the sticky black treacle, soy sauce and ketchup marinade. When they say finger-lickin’ good, this is what they mean.

BBQ Chilli Chicken Wings

Olive Magazine

To us, the best barbecue dishes pack a big flavour punch without being labour intensive (it is supposed to be a relaxed meal, after all, not one for slaving over). This is one such, the potent mix of paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and fresh oregano ensuring it hits the highest possible taste notes. The drizzle of lemony, garlicky yogurt lightens the whole affair and looks invitingly good too. Recipe writer and BBQ expert Helen Graves tip is to ‘use a two-stage method for chicken wings, cooking them over indirect heat, then crisping them up at the last minute. This produces the best result – juicy wings with a little char on the skin.’ The ideal way to feed the masses on a searingly hot day.

Barbecued Corn on the Cob

BBC Good Food

Who doesn’t love chowing down into a half-blackened corn on the cob at a barbecue? It is practically compulsory for the juices to run down your chin as you engage in some Henry VIII-style guzzling, albeit in this case with somewhat less meaty fare. In this case, you may just want to have a napkin at the ready to strike, as these beauties come slathered in a sweet and spicy butter featuring honey, ketchup, garlic and harissa. Do note, the recipe advises splitting the mix into two serving bowls if children will be eating this, and only putting the harissa in the bowl intended for the grown-ups. Happy gnawing.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Olive Magazine

One of the truly great things about feeding the hordes – aka your friends and family – by grilling everything in sight is that you can keep the central parts of the repast pretty basic, so long as you have a great sauce to pimp everything up with. Sausages, burgers, chicken and ribs all taste extra delicious in the company of this sauce, which is smoky, sticky and gently spicy. The best thing is, you can make it two or three weeks ahead if you store it in the fridge in sterilised jars, giving you all the more time to concentrate on sizzling the staples to perfection.

Potato Salad

Jamie Oliver

Back to Jamie Oliver’s website again, but this time to the man himself. Every picnic needs salads, and although we’re also advocates of big, light leafy green salads drizzled with vinaigrette, the humble potato salad is a non-negotiable. But there are potato salads and potato salads; here Jamie outlines how to make the classic three ways. For us, by far the best is the version with lemon, lemon zest, herbs and a bit of English mustard. We can’t tell you to what extent this is the best potato salad we’ve ever made. We stopped short of the bacon and breadcrumb additions, preferring to keep things lighter. By the by, we also learned via this video to always put the spuds into boiling water to preserve flavour and nutrients, rather than putting them into cold water and bringing them up. Who knew we’d been cooking potatoes wrong all these years?

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches with Avocado Slaw

Minimalist Baker

We are unashamed to admit that we are fully lusting after these beauties – and with a completely guilt-free conscience too, since they contain not a scrap of meat. Once you’ve got your hands on a jackfruit (which you can do easily online or at selected supermarkets and which, emphatically, must be the young variety in water), the rest of the recipe is brilliantly simple. Just sautee and cover in BBQ sauce, and serve up in your brioche with avocado slaw and cashews for crunch and those all-important good fats. For those vegetarians and vegans who miss the taste of meat but love the animal- and eco-friendly benefits or eschewing animal products, jackfruit is everything, believe us.

BBQ Honey Sausages

Good Housekeeping

For the committed carnivore, no barbecue is complete without sausages. You can, of course, simply throw them on the grill with no prep – especially if they’re good quality sausages from a butcher – and they will be delicious. But we love ours sweetened with honey, here balanced by soy and Cajun spices and served up with a fresh papaya sambal. Delicious, quick and easy.

Jamestown Grilled Prawns

Great British Chefs

‘Grilling over charcoal is the favoured way to cook most fish and seafood in Ghana – especially along the Accra coastline where there is an abundance of fresh seafood, and up into the region alongside Lake Volta. This recipe is inspired by my experience in Jamestown, Accra, where I watched the local fisherman hauling in their catches,’ says chef Zoe Adjonyoh. We adore this dish, which looks as beautiful as it tastes, and is packed full of summer flavour.

Miso Glazed Ribs With Asian Slaw

Olive Magazine

Ok, so this recipe takes almost four hours to prepare. But just look at it. It’s meaty, it’s sweet, it’s sticky, it’s perfection. If you’re going all out at your next barbecue, then this is a must for your al fresco grill.

Updated July 2021
By Nancy Alsop

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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.