Top tips for the perfect summer barbecue

Barbecues are staple of the British summer, allowing us to indulge our predilection for spending time outside, come sun or rain, as well as our taste for chargrilled food. Here we recommend a few corners to cut and fun things to try on the grill this year.

1. Cheat with chicken
Barbequed chicken often ends up being charred on the outside and raw on the inside. Try cooking it in the oven first, on a medium heat for about 45 minutes, and finishing it off on the barbeque

2. Leave your sausages alone
Many claim that poking your sausages with a fork is the best way to check if they’re cooked. It’s not. This invariably makes them fall apart. Time them precisely, then remove them from the heat and cut them open carefully with a knife to check them

3. Be creative with veg
Barbeque whole sweet corn in their husks, for about 25–30 minutes, and serve with generous knobs of butter. Take care when removing the hot outer husks—oven gloves are best. Popular garlic mushrooms are also easy to do: thread button mushrooms onto skewers and barbecue for 5-10 minutes, turning and basting with garlic butter

4. Spice up your salads
Don’t just focus on your barbequed meat—try to create something interesting alongside it. Mary Berry’s green couscous salad, with garden asparagus and sugar-snap peas, is a real winner, or try a classic potato salad

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5. Barbeque bananas for pudding
Barbeques don’t just have to be for savoury foods. Add bananas onto the heat at the end of the meal, still in their skins, and cook for a few minutes. When the skins are black, remove them and cut them open. The bananas will be wonderfully squishy inside. Add your favourite dessert toppings—sugar, cream, rum, liqueur or even chocolate!

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