Supplement with a side! Salads are a great way to compliment meat at a BBQ and are usually cheap to do. Potato salad is a great way to get some good carbohydrates in you, giving you lots of energy for summer activities, and it is reasonably inexpensive to make. A fresh leaf (spinach/rocket/lettuce) and bean (butter bean/chick pea) salad will get protein and vitamins you need in your diet and, like potatoes, will fill you up, so you’ll be using less of that pricey meat!

Be neat with meat. If you’re deciding to stick with the classic – burgers, sausages and chicken – there are many ways you can cut the cost of your BBQ and still have some tasty food. Instead of buying pre-made gourmet sausages, cut some cheaper ones in half, add some interesting filling (try pesto or roasted pepper) and then wrap in bacon so they hold together when on the BBQ. If you want a decent burger as opposed to unappetising frozen ones, buy yourself some mince and make them yourself. Also, stuff the burgers with cheddar. This will add some great cheesy flavour to your burger and will make the meat go much further! One handy hint about chicken: buy it on the bone, it’s so much cheaper than buying breasts, and it tastes just as good. Also, don’t buy pre-marinated, you can make marinades very easily and cheaply yourself. Be creative!

Make your own sauces. Most sauces can be made quite easily with a foundation of ketchup plus other ingredients you can find in your kitchen. There is a great selection of D.I.Y. recipes online, many of which taste much better than their bottled counterparts. Don’t think you have the ingredients for a sauce? Ring a friend. They will surely come running to help you if you offer them BBQ food… who wouldn’t?

Save money on fuel. Although buying a disposable BBQ may seem like the quick and easy option in the summer, they are a massive waste of money. Buying a small portable one and a bag of charcoal is a much cheaper option. Also, don’t use too much charcoal on the BBQ. It will take longer to light and you can always add more if needed. You’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint, and everyone knows it’s good to be green!

Befriend your butcher. A lot of the time there will be certain cuts of meat which are cheaper than others due to the season. So, it is a good idea to get friendly with your supermarket or local butcher. For example, lamb neck tends to be a lot less pricey than other lamb cuts, but it’s still just as delicious.

One final bit of advice – learn how to be a grill master. Far too much food gets wasted on a BBQ simply because it gets burnt and is then inedible. Check out some videos online. There are loads of great step-by-step tutorials on how to get perfectly cooked meat every time.

Happy grilling!

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