BBQs, like most food experiences, are undergoing a fusion

This is How to Take Your BBQ to the Next Level

Spending time with loved ones should be about quality time surrounded by food. That is why family BBQs are so common in the summer months. And spending time outside might come earlier than we think, with gardens already blooming four weeks early this spring.

So, make the most of spring, summer, and the good weather by gathering your loved ones for the perfect outdoor feast.

Darren Sivewright, Group Innovation Manager at food hamper business: Baxters of Scotland, says: “BBQs are bigger, better, and tastier than ever with everyone getting creative and personalising their food. Don’t miss out on the early good weather, and make sure you’ve got the right feast planned for the entire family to enjoy.

“BBQs are less about the traditional cheeseburgers and more about exploring your own tastes. Hosting the best BBQ this summer is now about incorporating flavours from multiple cuisines and diets so that everyone can enjoy.”

Fusion foods

Darren says: “BBQs, like most food experiences, are undergoing a fusion. From combining unique flavours to different cultures, embracing your BBQ means finding something exciting to make to keep your guests on their toes. From haggis burgers to chorizo hot dogs, there are plenty of ways you can add a bit of flavour and spice into your next meal.”

Ditch the American smoked meat flavours for something sweeter by adding Asian-inspired marinades into your cooking. It isn’t any surprise that these flavours are finding their way into our homes, and gardens, with Google Trends data showing a 250% increase in “Korean BBQ sauce” searches. If you’re wanting a bit more crunch in your burger, swap out your standard lettuce for kimchi instead – adding a bit of spice into your bite.

But this isn’t the only fusion you can create. Have some fun exploring different flavours, textures, and cultures within your food. You can get culinary inspiration from your favourite places, whether it be a country or your own region, with locally inspired dishes. Add some Scottish whisky to your meat for a more tender cook or add a Cherry & Kirsch jam for a sweet twist to your heartier meals. A Korean-inspired kimchi with chilli pepper can also deliver that tongue-tingling kick.

Catering for your loved ones

Darren says: “Your loved ones are your greatest customers, and so being able to make the food they will love is important for any family or friend BBQ. You’ll want to consider everyone’s dietary requirements and even their favourite items to make the day extra special. BBQs no longer have to be meat-heavy and can incorporate vegan and vegetarian diets too.”

In fact, according to Google Trends data, the search term “Korean BBQ and vegan” has seen a rise of 1,650%, with more people looking to add less meat to their meals. If you’re a fan of Korean BBQ, including this in your traditional BBQ (with a vegan twist) can add meat-free options without losing any flavour.

Bean burgers can be a great alternative for vegans and vegetarians who don’t want to miss out on a hearty burger. You can even use alternatives such as tofu and roast it with the same marinade to ensure that everyone gets the same great flavours.

A hamper can be the perfect choice for those leisurely, al fresco gatherings. Brimming with spreads, sauces, chutneys and snacks, it can really help inform BBQ meal ideas and make sure all your guests are catered for with aplomb.

Why not turn your BBQ into a potluck so everyone can bring their favourite dish to share? Whether you have a friend with the best potato salad or a sibling with a famous couscous salad, encouraging everyone to share their food can make it a collaborating, creative time.

To treat everyone, and feed the masses, you can add home comfort foods to your BBQ menu including garlic bread and pizza – these cook quickly and help pad out any buffet table. Just because you’re having a BBQ, you don’t have to feel obligated to stick only your BBQ grill. You can fire up your oven to help get food out quicker, or even cook chicken nuggets and chips if you’ve got little ones waiting.

And of course, in addition to your main fayre, it’s the smaller plates and little touches which can really elevate the entertaining experience. How about some delicious pickled gherkins to pair with burgers or a caramelised onion chutney to really tie all of those flavours together?

Building a flavour profile with wood

Customising your BBQ for exquisite tastes isn’t only about the produce and marinades used but also about the wood you’re using. More people are exploring the woods they can use in their BBQs to get additional depth to their meals.

Stephen Talbot at Logs Direct, BBQ lovers and experts in kiln-dried logs, says: “The right type of wood to pick will come down to what you're cooking on your BBQ. For lighter, less dense meats like fish, seafood, and poultry, lighter woods like apple and cherry offer milder, sweeter accents. This way, you're not overpowering the original flavour.

“Pork, beef, and other meats that are denser with more pronounced flavours are better suited for use with stronger woods. Walnut and mesquite are popular choices to add new elements to your food.

“One important thing to remember is that too much wood will overpower the natural flavours. So, approach it with the mindset that you can always add, but you can't take it away!”

Picture perfect

Taking the perfect picture isn’t always on top of the list, but it can be a great way to create precious memories. If you’re looking for some inspiration, there are plenty of picture-perfect settings on the internet. In fact, there are 37.5 million posts under #bbq on Instagram.

Choosing the right location is a must. This can be your garden, someone else’s, or even picking up your food and heading for the beach or countryside.

Darren Sivewright continues: “The perfect BBQ doesn’t have to be the traditional person standing at a grill. Although hot food is always best, you can wrap up and go for a picnic centred around your favourite chargrilled chicken and hot dogs.

A food hamper can be a great way to add a bit of flavour to your BBQ. Pack chutneys, jams, and even some drinks for the best experience, and enjoy some views while you eat.”

With spring and summer on the horizon, it is now time for us to dust off the grill and get to cooking. Finding the next best burger might be hidden in the food fusion trends we see online or even from finding the picture-perfect picnic setting to take your wrapped meats out. Adding a bit of inspiration can make spending time with your loved ones a bit tastier.

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