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12 recipes to make sure you don’t have a boring barbecue

It’s National BBQ Week so get out your grill, don your apron and start cooking with these bouji recipes from barbie master Brian George. By Keely Doll

Monday 05 July 2021 12:00 BST
Forget the local Chinese: these chilli and pineapple spare ribs will steal the show
Forget the local Chinese: these chilli and pineapple spare ribs will steal the show (Brian George)

Who knew a national week could have a silver anniversary? Starting Monday 5 July, National BBQ Week is celebrating its 25th birthday, so march down to your garden shed, dust off your grill, don your apron and get cooking. The weather is no excuse.

It’s also for a good cause – and no, we don’t mean those poor burnt sausages. BBQ Week’s charity arm Barbi for Britain is encouraging grillers up and down the country to raise money for Cure Leukaemia, which will be used to train up specialist research nurses at 12 blood cancer centres around the country. This will mean more patients can get access to potentially life-saving treatments that are not currently available through the NHS.

You could help them achieve their goals by getting your guests to donate, auctioning off your best grilled dishes, or by visiting their Just Giving page, here.

Since its inception in the summer of 1997, BBQ Week has come a long way, and so, too, has the fare. Gone are the days of charred to death sausages and half-cooked skewered vegetables. So here are 12 fancy recipes to impress your guests from BBQ Week founder and master griller Brian George.

Sensational salt-bath sardines

Sardines are the perfect grilling fish (Brian George)

Sardines and mackerel are two of the very best BBQ fish, although my personal favourite is the sardine. Encased in sea salt, quickly grilled, (guts-in) then drizzled with a strong green extra virgin olive oil with a hearty squeeze of lime, simply sublime!

Makes: 4 servings


12 large sardines

1 pack of coarse sea salt

25ml extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 2 limes

Sea salt and rainbow peppercorn to taste


1. Wash the sardines and gut or not (adds flavour).

2. Sprinkle a good layer of sea salt on foil and place sardines on top, then sprinkle more salt over, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Remove sardines from fridge, brush off most of the salt and place on a fish grill tray.

4. Mix oil and juice of ½ lime and brush over the fish.

5. Grill on high heat on grill tray, about 4-5 minutes per side, baste with oil and lime juice.

6. Serve with remaining oil and lime juice, season with sea salt and rainbow peppercorn.

Awesome asparagus with parmigianino and lime

Quick and easy, this dish is sure to impress (Brian George)

I think this is one of the simplest, yet most impressive alfresco snacks or starters that you can prepare. I prefer baby or young asparagus with lots of parmigianino, but please remember to shave; do not grate!

Makes: 4 servings


16 asparagus spears

Juice of 1 lime

30ml extra virgin olive oil

15ml balsamic vinegar

A small wedge of parmigianino reggiano

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cracked black pepper


1. Mix lime juice, oil and balsamic plus ½ salt and black pepper.

2. Coat asparagus and grill slowly on medium, turn frequently and baste occasionally.

3. Remove asparagus once cooked through, lightly cover with shavings of parmigianino and drizzle remaining lime, oil and balsamic, season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Marvellous miso, mustard and sesame aubergines

An underrated vegetable that shines on the barbie (Brian George)

As if it needed to be proved, here is a superb and simple example of a vegetable that’s just great on the grill. Aubergine is in my opinion vastly underrated and the miso and sesame add a wonderfully oriental flavour, balanced by the dijon and honey!

Makes: 4 servings


2 ripe aubergines

1 tbsp miso paste

1 tbsp runny honey

1 tsp creamy dijon mustard

1 tsp ginger, grated

1 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp mixed soy sauce and cider vinegar

20g toasted sesame seeds


1. Mix miso paste, honey, mustard, ginger, garlic, soy, vinegar and ½ sesame seeds.

2. Cut aubergines length-wise then cross-cut flesh; brush scored side with ½ miso mix.

3. Place on medium grill, cut face-down to sear then turn and baste with remaining miso mix, turn frequently until charred all over, about 15 minutes.

4. Set aside to cool, round 5-10 minutes.

Classic chicken ciabatta

Show your skills by mastering this classic (Brian George)

This is a long-time barbie favourite that is seemingly easy but can be deceptively difficult to get perfect. A fruity, slightly exotic recipe that I created following a somewhat rambling tour around Tuscany – one too many Sangioveses and you’ve burnt the ciabatta!

Makes: 2 servings


2 skinless chicken breasts

1 large ciabatta

15g sundried tomatoes

1 mango, coarsely chopped

25ml mango juice

10ml white wine vinegar

25ml extra virgin olive oil

1 lime, juiced

25g ginger, grated

25g brown sugar

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 or 2 birds eye chillies, finely chopped and deseeded

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

2 tsp mixed turmeric and paprika

Splash Worcestershire sauce

Sea salt and black pepper to taste


1. For the marinade: mix half the chillies, ginger and garlic with ¾ lime juice and vinegar plus half the oil. Add a pinch of turmeric/paprika, black pepper and sea salt.

2. For the sauce: use the rest of the chilli, garlic and ginger, half the toasted sesame seeds and brown sugar, mix with remaining lime juice into a paste, slowly add mango juice and chopped mango. Season with Worcestershire sauce

3. Marinate chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, remove and sprinkle remaining sesame seeds and sugar over chicken.

4. Slice sundried tomato into strips and cut the ciabatta lengthways. Coat cut face with olive oil.

5. Coat chicken with sauce and sear both sides on hottest section of the BBQ, then remove to medium heat, basting with sauce. Turn occasionally.

6. Oil grill bars, place ciabatta cut face down on medium heat to warm through.

7. Top the chicken with sundried tomatoes and return to hottest section. Also transfer ciabatta to hottest section and sear outside.

8. Remove ciabatta, drizzle with oil, place chicken on top, add remaining sauce and sundried tomato, garnish with rocket and basil and add top ciabatta.

Sizzlin’ sea bass with fennel and sweet basil

Add some variety to your repertoire with the addition of sea bass (Brian George)

Sea bass is probably my favourite fish and when grill-sautéed with fennel and basil, it simply moves onto another plane. The foil helps keep the fish moist and in-shape, if you feel brave try searing the skin and serve skin side-up.

Makes: 4 servings


4 sea bass fillets (unskinned)

Fennel bulb, grated

4 finely sliced garlic cloves

5g sweet basil, roughly chopped

5g flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 lemon, sliced

10g sea salt

5g black peppercorn

5g fennel seeds

25ml olive oil

Plus 4 sheets cooking foil


1. Cut diagonal lines across skin of sea bass.

2. Mix fennel, garlic, basil, parsley and place equal amounts on each foil.

3. Place fish skin side up on top then sprinkle with salt, pepper and fennel seeds, drizzle over oil, place lemon slices on top then wrap foil over to form parcel.

4. Place foil parcels on medium heat and grill for 4-5 minutes each side or until fish is opaque.

Spécial spiced Corsican côte de bœuf

Bring French cuisine to the barbi with this dish. (Brian George)

A real barbie pièce de résistance, this classic French dish was actually inspired by my favourite haunt – Corsica. The juicy, spicy meat topped with fragrant Herbs de Maquis is a perfect reminder of a beautiful, unspoilt island – best with a glass of nielluccio.

Makes: 4 servings


4 cote de bœuf (including bone, if possible)

300ml nielluccio or shiraz

75ml extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp green peppercorns

1 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp Herbs de Maquis (or failing that dried mixed rosemary/sage/thyme)


1. Cut garlic cloves in half and rub over meat.

2. Mix wine and oil and pour over meat, work in.

3. Grind peppercorns and sprinkle half over meat then add mixed garam masala and oregano. Cover refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

4. Remove and sear on high heat, then remove to medium heat for around 5 mins.

5. Leave to cool for up to 5 mins then cut grain-wise and serve.

Best-ever burger with pancetta, avocado and blue cheese butter

What’s a barbeque without a good burger? (Brian George)

How the humble burger has grown up, so discount it at your peril. Food snobs may try to decry, but I think a properly made and grilled burger, with proper add-ons is just about unbeatable – and for me the only way to eat.

Makes: 4 servings (or 2 very hungry people)


500g best fillet steak, minced

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 green chilli, finely chopped/deseeded

1 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp rainbow peppercorn, crushed

8 rashers pancetta

1 avocado, peeled, de-stoned and sliced

125g unsalted butter

75g blue cheese

4 sesame buns


1. Soften butter and mix with blue cheese, form into roll and chill.

2. Mix steak mince, onion, chilli, salt and peppercorn and form into four patties.

3. Sear patties on both sides on high then grill 3-5 minutes per side on medium heat.

4. Grill pancetta rashers on foil tray on high heat.

5. Halve buns and light brush cut half with olive oil then warm through on medium heat.

6. Place slices of avocado on the pancetta rashers and allow to warm through.

7. Slice butter roll and place one slice on each bun base, then build with patty, another slice of butter, pancetta and avocado – serve immediately to rapturous applause!

Cool coriander and ginger lamb chops

Swap steaks for lamb on the grill this summer. (Brian George)

Lamb works really well on the barbie. This recipe is a variation on a dish picked up at a small roadhouse on the way out of Bondi – the slightly fusion edge enhances the overall flavour. Serve in an upright triangle, bones to the sky.

Makes: 2 servings


6 best-end lamb chops (bone in)

50g ginger, grated

1 ripe papaya, peeled and rough chopped

30g bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped

50ml extra virgin olive oil

2 or 3 hot green chillies, finely chopped and deseeded

100ml thick plain yoghurt

30g unsalted butter


1. Mix ginger, papaya, oil and coriander in liquidiser, mix in the chillies and yoghurt

2. Remove fat/meat from top 2 inches of chop and flatten out meat, removing any extra fat.

3. Coat the chops with marinade and refrigerate in sealed bag for at least 4 hours.

4. Sear on high heat, then grill for around 10 mins on medium heat and then a further 5 minutes on low. Keep turning to prevent burning and baste with melted butter.

5. Season with salt and pepper and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Charming chicken, prosciutto and sage skewers

An upscale twist on a kebab (Brian George)

Who said skewers were only for the local kebab shop? This delicious twist on an old theme is remarkably easy to do, combining piquant chicken and prosciutto with stale, olive oil and balsamic-soaked rustic bread. Served with a chilled prosecco, perfection.

Makes: 4 servings


4 boneless chicken breasts

12 slices prosciutto

Bunch sage

Day-old French country-style bread

30ml lemon juice

60ml extra virgin Olive oil

10ml aged balsamic vinegar

2 crushed garlic cloves

Sea salt and black pepper to taste


1. Cut breast lengthwise into 3 strips.

2. Mix lemon juice, oil, garlic and salt pepper and coat chicken strips.

3. Cut prosciutto slices in two and place couple of sage leaves on each then place chicken strip and wrap.

4. Cut bread into 1in cubes, add balsamic to remaining oil, garlic mix and toss.

5. Thread chicken on skewer and grill over medium heat, turn every few minutes and cook through – around 10 mins.

6. Do similar with bread and grill all round for 5 mins, serve with chicken.

Brilliant beef and guacamole foodie fajitas

Who said fajitas were simple street food? This is a foodie twist on a Mexican staple. The combination of piquant steak, spicy, fruity flavours balanced by a sharp creamy, cheesy taste remind me of tequila-fuelled night on the beach in the Baya.

Makes: 4 servings


500g rump steak sliced thinly

4 flour tortillas

2 medium avocados, skinned, stoned and finely chopped

2 hot green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

Juice of one lime

2 tsp chopped coriander

50ml creme fraiche

30g grated hard cheese, such as pecorino

2 crushed garlic cloves

1 tsp crushed chilli flakes

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp allspice

20ml Mexican lager

10ml olive oil

Handful of shredded lettuce


1. Mix garlic, chilli flakes, cumin, oregano and allspice with beer and oil.

2. Add sliced steak and coat all over, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Mix avocado, coriander, green chillies and lime juice add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate.

4. Grill marinated steak strips on medium heat, on foil tray – 2 minutes per side.

5. Toast tortillas on low heat until warm through.

6. Transfer steak to centre of tortilla add a layer of guacamole and creme fraiche, sprinkle cheese and shredded lettuce over and wrap, briefly return to grill.

7. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Enchanting chilli and pineapple spare ribs

Sweet and spicy, these ribs have the perfect balance of flavours. (Brian George)

Forget the local Chinese: this Asian delight is a real grill-star of the Orient and I got the idea for this dish at, believe it or not, a pub on Lantau Island. Simple to both prepare and BBQ, these ribs taste great, being, sweet, sour and spicy all at the same time!

Makes: 2 servings


6 pork spare ribs

Small canned pineapple, finely chopped, plus juice

Birdseye chillies, finely chopped/deseeded

1 red onion, finely chopped

4 crushed garlic cloves

30g grated ginger

50ml tomato puree

50ml lime juice

50ml runny honey

70g extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Black pepper


1. Separate ribs and simmer in salted water for 30 mins, then drain and cool

2. Pan-fry garlic, ginger, onion and chillies with oil until soft then add in chopped pineapple. Add pineapple juice, tomato puree and honey. Season to taste and boil till thick – leave to cool.

3. Brush mixture over ribs and grill over medium heat for around 15 mins, or until sauce becomes crusty/brown.

Heavenly honey’n’cream grill-glazed nectarines

It’s not summer meal without a rich dessert at the end (Brian George)

Finally, if you needed to be told that you can chargrill fruit and don’t want to put on a couple of ounces, don’t try this simple, but extravagant, self-indulgent, high in fat and definitely not one of your five-a-day dishes, but absolutely delicious!

Makes: 4 servings


4 nectarines halved and stoned

20ml runny honey

10ml black treacle

5g ground cinnamon

50gl vanilla ice cream

20g clotted cream


1. Mix honey and black treacle and brush over cut surface of nectarines.

2. Grill cut-face down on medium grill for 5 minutes, or until warmed through.

3. Serve with scoop of ice cream and smaller scoop of cream on top.

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