What to serve at a BBQ

I think BBQs can often get a little over complicated. People tend to panic and make a million and one things, treating it like some sort of tapas. If you take all of that confusion out of the equation, and just consider it as an outdoor dinner, it gets simpler. 

The meats and veggie mains really do speak for themselves – whether that’s just a small selection of hotdogs and burgers, or a larger offering including lamb chops, fish and chicken. For me, the magic trick in a bbq is to offer just a couple of delicious side dishes, but even they don’t need to be complicated.

Over the years I’ve found that my coleslaw and chilli-lime corn salad fly off the tables at family meals. The coleslaw is extra special, not because of the ingredients, but because of how the vegetables are prepared; by salting them before rinsing and mixing with the mayo and sour cream, excess water is removed, which leaves the veggies with a satisfying crunch and more intense depth of flavour. The corn salad offers an extremely refreshing zing and subtle chilli heat, along with that all-familiar sweet crunch of the kernels.

Both of these side dishes can be made up to two days in advance – just cover and refrigerate. These recipes are measured to serve four, but you can amend the quantities to suit your gathering size.

Coleslaw Recipe


200g red cabbage
200g carrots
1 small red onion
2 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp soured cream
1 tbsp red wine vinegar


Step 1: Finely shred the cabbage, coarsely grate the carrots and finely slice the onion. Put them into a bowl with the salt and sugar, cover and leave to rest at room temperature for an hour or two.

Step 2: Once the vegetables, salt and sugar have rested, the vegetables should look wilted (and stronger in colour) and should be sat in a pool of liquid. Tip everything into a colander and rinse well with cold water, then put the vegetables into a clean tea-towel or muslin and squeeze tightly to remove even more liquid.

Step 3: Transfer the vegetables to a clean, dry bowl and add the mayonnaise, soured cream and vinegar. Mix well.

Step 4: Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chilli-lime Corn Salad Recipe


3 corn on the cob
1 tbsp olive oil
2 red peppers, finely diced
1 fat red chilli, very finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely sliced
Small handful fresh coriander 
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp runny honey 


Step 1: First shave all the corn kernels from the cob: take a sharp chef’s knife and hold a corn cob on its end. Use the knife to shave down towards the bottom of the cob, separating the kernels from the tough core.

Step 2: Heat a frying pan over a high heat and when hot, add the oil and peppers. Fry, tossing frequently, for a few minutes until the peppers are slightly charred. Add them to a mixing bowl.

 Step 3:
Return the pan to a medium heat and add the corn kernels and fry, tossing occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until slightly tender.

Step 4: Add the cooked corn to the bowl along with the chilli, spring onions and coriander. Toss everything together to mix well.

Step 5: For the dressing, put the ingredients into a jar and shake to combine. Just before serving pour the dressing over the salad and toss through.


Hosting a BBQ for the family? Try out our BBQ side dish recipes and tag us in your posts on social media. We'd love to see!