Summer marinated spatchcock chicken

8 barbecue dishes to cook this Bank Holiday weekend

by Great British Chefs 25 August 2021

While summer hasn't exactly played ball this year, we're hoping for some half-decent weather this Bank Holiday weekend so we can get grilling in the great outdoors. Here’s what we’ll be firing up the coals for over the weekend.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Bank Holidays are all about friends, pub gardens and mini-breaks – and while the lockdowns of the past eighteen months still hang heavy over us, we can at least enjoy food and drink with friends and family. For those of us lucky enough to have a garden, there’s ample opportunity to enjoy the long weekend outdoors with a barbecue – provided we get lucky with the weather!

While sausages and burgers are all well and good, there’s so much more we can do when cooking over coals. Planning in advance works wonders, as you can marinate meats, prepare sauces and get some prep done in advance, meaning your full attention on the day can be on the grill (and whatever drink you happen to have in your hand too, of course). Below are our eight top picks for this Bank Holiday, but be sure to check out our full collection of barbecue recipes for more inspiration.

Chicken satay

Kebabs are always a winner when cooking outdoors – they can be eaten with your hands, take mere minutes to cook and can be prepped in advance to minimise hassle. These chicken kebabs from Sambal Shiok’s own Mandy Yin are marinated in a heady satay spice mix – think lemongrass, garlic, palm sugar and chilli – which are then served with a rich peanut dipping sauce. A guaranteed hit.

Green romesco with nectarines and asparagus

Fruit and veg benefit from a lick of smoke just as much as meat and fish, and this colourful dish combines seasonal asparagus with sweet slices of charred nectarine. The romesco sauce steals the show, however – green peppers are blackened over coals until smoky, then blitzed with almonds, bread, sherry vinegar and garlic to create an incredible base for the rest of the ingredients to be piled upon.

Burnt ends

American barbecue is world-famous for a reason – the low-and-slow approach to cooking and smoking huge cuts of meat until they fall apart is perfect for feeding crowds. While an entire pork shoulder or belly is going to be a bit too big for a lockdown-based barbecue, this burnt ends recipe is perfect for a family of four and encapsulates everything great about US barbecue technique. It does require a long cooking time, however, so be sure to get things going in the morning – eight hours later, you’ll have a plate of gnarled, charred beef brisket in a tangy Kansas-style sauce (and a very happy family).

Spatchcock chicken

Cooking a whole chicken on the barbecue can be tricky, as the legs and breasts will finish cooking at different times. The best way to remedy this is by spatchcocking the chicken – essentially flattening it – so it cooks evenly over the coals. Adam Gray’s recipe sees the chicken marinated in a simple combination of spices overnight, before being lovingly grilled for half an hour until smoky, charred and incredibly moist.

Monkfish kebabs

Home cooks often shy away from cooking fish on the barbecue, as it’s prone to overcooking or falling apart on the grill. Monkfish, however, is the perfect choice, as it’s meaty, firm and much less prone to flaking into pieces or sticking to the grill bars. Peter Joseph’s monkfish kebabs are a work of art – marinated in spiced yoghurt, the fish blackens and chars beautifully over the flames, and when served with the mint chutney, offers a perfect bite to enjoy in the back garden.

Tacos al pastor

Authentic al pastor is one of Mexico’s greatest culinary hits – but a rotating vertical spit isn’t something any of us (unfortunately) have at home. Nud Dudhia’s recipe replicates the smoky flavours of the shredded pork by cooking marinated pork steaks on the barbecue, resulting in a fantastic home-cooked version of the dish that’s perfect for bringing to the table so everyone can customise and build their tacos themselves.

Watermelon and halloumi salad

Side dishes at a barbecue can sometimes be a bit of an afterthought, but this salad utilises the grill to combine halloumi with refreshing watermelon and lime-pickled onions. The result is a dish full of contrasting textures and flavours which will easily outshine anything else on the table.

Celeriac burgers

Burgers are pretty much a given at any barbecue, but instead of beef try a disc of glazed celeriac on for size. Packed with flavour thanks to the homemade barbecue sauce they’re doused in, the accompanying sauces, bun and other burger accoutrements give you the same delicious burger ‘experience’ – just without the meat.