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Nothing tastes more like summer than delicious food cooked outside on the BBQ.

Whilst is can sometimes be a little pricey to throw a BBQ bash for your friends and family, these 5 budget friendly BBQ ideas will help you stretch the pennies a little further and help you create some of the best barbecue foods around.

1. Use cheaper cuts

Great barbecue flavour is achieved through tender meat, great seasoning, and flame grilled goodness. Cheaper cuts of meat a lot of the time actually have more flavour than their more expensive counterparts and taste great on a barbecue, especially when covered in sauce or seasoning.

A few examples of some of the cheapest meat cuts are: chicken thighs, chicken legs, pork belly, pork shoulder, beef skirt, and beef flank.

2. Keep the menu simple

One great way of keeping food costs down at a barbecue is to create a capsule menu. This means you should plan two dishes (three max), and make them quality. Some of the best barbecue foods for this idea are:

Burgers: you can get a “personalised burger” station going

Sausages: you can make them “gourmet” with a variety of toppings like melted cheese and bacon or caramelised onions

Chicken thighs: they are full of flavour and totally versatile. Create two or three different sauces or seasonings, from BBQ to Cajun, and then everyone can make their own.

3. Go big on the extras

If you’re going to capsulize the main event, then it’s worth going big on the frills. Sauces, seasonings and condiments are cheaper than buying steaks, so buy a large selection of them and let people customise their foods.

Things like crisps and salads are also a great cost effective accompaniment. Potato salad, for example, has always been a long term favourite because it is both cheap and filling.

4. Add more vegetables

Healthy, as well as cost effective, the UK saved over £2.8 billion last year on cutting down on meat.

Many vegetables taste great on the grill, such as aubergine, tomato, or courgette. Corn on the cob is also a summer stable for many barbecue’s. If you are not a huge vegetable fan, or would prefer to eat a more “meaty” flavoured vegetable then try sliced tofu or grilled, whole, portobello mushrooms.

5. Crowd management

As tempting as it can be, hold back on opening and grilling all the food at once. Not only can this be wasteful if there is too much food to be eaten, but it can also lead to food going cold. Instead, cook “on demand”, and when people stop eating you can stop cooking. By managing how the food is cooked you also give people more time to eat the sides and salads you’ve prepared so they don’t go to waste either. If you have any left over meat you didn’t manage to cook they can always be frozen for later use.

Furthermore, by making the party a “potluck” event you can ask everyone to bring a drink, side, or dessert. This means that not only do you share the cost, but you’re also left with less clearing up! Whatever people bring they take home!

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