AS THE weather continues to hot up, nothing quite beats a barbecue, however, your catering for 20 hungry guests can quickly add up.
Fortunately, members of money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk have revealed their hacks for enjoying a BBQ on a budget.
Get the guests involved
Taylor suggests making it clear the guests need to contribute from the outset: “Add the letters BYOB to the invites,” he says.
Similarly, Wendy believes everyone invited shouldn’t come empty handed: “Ask guests to bring something for you to cook.”
If it isn’t meat, guests could bring whatever they can manage, as Sheryl recommends: ‘Tell everyone to bring something, like salads, meat and drinks.’
Nelly knows a thing or two about getting guests in on the action: “I’m originally from South Africa and when you’re invited to a BBQ (or braai as we call it), you take your own meat and alcohol and the host usually makes salads – then there’s a mixture of everything. It’s always worked well and it’s not costly at all.”
BBQs are traditionally associated with outdoor grills, but why not cook the food inside and serve it in the garden? “Don’t buy a BBQ and all the equipment and just cook it in the oven or grill,” Tony suggests.
Lorraine agrees: “Make some of the meat in the oven like sausages and burgers.”
Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, says: “Cooking on an outdoor BBQ isn’t essential, especially if you want to save money – and ensure the meat is properly cooked ahead of time.
“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a plate out in the sunshine with friends and family, without the hassle of keeping an eye on the grill!”
While plenty of LatestDeals.co.uk members are used to shopping for bargains in supermarkets, it can pay off to plan ahead for specific events. Mandy says: “I stock up on bargains I find for BBQs.
“For my last one I got my burgers at Aldi, 30% off sausages, rings at 60p and rolls I made using flour, water, yeast etc.’ ‘I am buying reduced stuff whenever I see it and keeping it in the freezer,’ Andy adds.
Make sure everyone has a jacket potato first, that soon fills them up
Some members have come up with their own money-saving strategy: “Look out for reduced items about a couple of months before and freeze until the day,” Sophia recommends. Claire, meanwhile, likes to frequent stores in the evenings.
“Buy reduced meat – try going late at night (it might take a few tries). If you don’t see a bargain then check the sell by date on the meat and go back on that day.”
There’s also no beating a yellow sticker bargain, as Ben knows all too well. “We just got BBQ bits in Asda, 54p each for decent burgers, sausages etc. We keep them in the freezer till we have a BBQ.”
You don’t have to stick with bargains in the supermarket to save money – why not try saving at home with what you’ve got, too?
“Once defrosted, you could squish sausage meat out of the skins and make them into patties, add some seasoning like chilli powder, herbs etc,’ Oliver recommends.
Toby goes down a similar route, choosing to bulk out his purchases: “Add mince to supermarket own brand burgers and mix the lot together with your own spices – never fails!”
“Make your own burgers with a big pack of mince,” Tracy adds, thinking along the same lines.
Ray backs this up, saying: “We found making our own burgers worked out cheaper. Also you can add different flavours to the mince or just add cheese. The burgers always seem to go very quick!”
Meat can be costly, so plenty of budget BBQ hosts recommend laying on the carbs. “Do a big basket of chips – homemade of course,” Jack says.
“Try to use veggies like potatoes which are cheap but filling – you can make wedges, chips or sweet potato fries,” Claire adds.
Don recommends ensuring guests have lots of choices which are cheaper: “Provide plenty of tasty salad options and bread buns,’ he says.
Lorraine takes a similar approach: “Add up tasty sides like nice heavy salads, dips, flatbreads and burger buns.”
“Pitta breads are cheap enough, or make your own flatbreads,” Tracy suggests as an alternative.
Jacket potatoes are also a winner. “Have jacket potatoes with the meat,” Abigail says, with Warren agreeing: “Make sure everyone has a jacket potato first, that soon fills them up.”
“Make a variety of drinks in large jugs – it’s cheaper than individual drinks,” Lorraine recommends. This method is also a hit with Claire. “Buy value price drinks and put them into jugs,” she adds.
I bulk buy my meat from a wholesaler and you can then marinade it yourself
Tom Church says: “This idea is great for any gathering, not just BBQs. The difference in price between branded soft drinks and own brand can be massive, so even if you buy in bulk it can soon add up.
“Using jugs or pitchers is ideal for groups of family or friends, as pouring each other drinks is much more sociable than cradling an individual bottle in the corner!”
Many bargain shoppers will know that being smart about where and what you buy is crucial. “Shop around for food and buy in bulk, not four packs,” Aidan suggests.
A number of members go for Iceland bargains. “Iceland offers 32 sausages for £2, they are actually not too bad. Once they are covered in onions and ketchup they are lush,” Oliver shares, revealing that major savings can be made by getting two packs of 32 sausages, using one pack for patties and allowing two sausages per patty.
“You could have 32 hot dogs and 16 burgers for £4 – bargain!”
Marcus also knows how to make some major savings when it’s BBQ time. “I make kebabs using chicken thighs, and pitta breads are cheap enough or you can make your own flat breads. I get a big pack of mince and make my own burgers. I love a BBQ, I often do them and rarely spend more than £1 per person.”
Get bargain meat
As the meat is the most expensive part of any BBQ, it makes sense to be savvy about where you get it. “I bulk buy my meat from a wholesaler and you can then marinade it yourself,” Irene says.
Alternatively, be selective about the types of meat you get. “Choose cheaper cuts of meat like chicken leg quarters or chicken wings and sausages as opposed to lamb chops – or make your own kebabs,” Amy advises.
The butcher is also a favourite for several members. “Some do a really good deal. We went to a local one and they did sausage, burgers, steak and chicken kebab skewers for £25,” Tammy says.
Cooking the meat can also be done on the cheap, as Harry proves. “Boil cheap meat in salt to half cook it, then marinate and freeze. It will take less time on the BBQ and save coal.”
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons
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