Barbecue recipes — for delightful al fresco dining

These barbecue recipes offer generous platters bursting with seasonal flavors that are perfect for informal, convivial meals in the garden with family and friends

An example of barbecue recipes showing a barbecue with a cooked chicken, lemon halves and rosemary
(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Indulge in the art of sharing with our delightful summer barbecue recipes that are perfect for warm weather.

These barbecue recipes celebrate the summer in all its glory. Our dishes make the most of seasonal produce and involve minimal preparation, so you can spend more time with your guests. 

Lunch is an array of colors and textures, from the figgy baked ricotta that can be served as a starter, to the barbecued leg of lamb and sweet-savoury salad. Finish with a summertime favorite, a delicious fruity meringue.

We have also included outdoor dining ideas, with table setting tips, to inspire you if you are entertaining for a special occasion or dreaming up garden party ideas.

All you need now? Some wonderful ice-cream recipes as the perfect dessert...

Barbecue recipes

First, you need to set the scene for your summer barbecue. For comfort, choose a table generous enough to easily accommodate all of the sharing dishes while leaving plenty of room for guests. 

Pretty votives and outdoor string lighting ideas add a celebratory touch and ensure this leisurely feast can continue well into the evening.

An outdoor dining area amongst trees with string lights

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

If you're looking for garden bar ideas, evoke a relaxed mood by using a serving table as a bar, keeping it well stocked with wine and other tipples. Encourage guests to help themselves when they please.

A close up shot of a table featuring bottles of rose and wine glasses

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Against the simplicity of a crisp white tabletop and understated artisan ceramics, add pops of pink, blue and gray with colorful hand-painted napkins, loosely tied with a length of leather thong. 

Introducing woven place mats and sprigs of foliage will help to create a charming, natural look to complement your garden ideas.

An example of barbecue recipes showing a round, purple placemat with a white plate and a colorful napkin tied with a leather thong

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Position the barbecue close enough to keep an eye on without abandoning your guests and also downwind so they are not engulfed in smoke.

An example of barbecue recipes showing a smoky barbecue next to trees and a white dining table

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

The menu

Aperitif

White wine sangria 

To start

Baked ricotta with honey and figs 

Main 

Our ceviche; nectarine salad; roast root salad with crispy red rice; barbecued lamb and bulgur wheat salad 

Dessert

Meringue with cherry and apricot compote

White wine sangria

An example of barbecue recipes showing glasses of orange sangria with ice spilled on a table

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Serves 6-8

Swapping red wine for crisp white makes a refreshing twist on this summer favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 6 apricots, chopped and stoned
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 lemons 
  • Crushed ice
  • 1 lime
  • 2 ripe peaches
  • 1 bottle crisp white wine, such as Riesling or Chablis
  • 300ml soda

Method: 

  1. Put the apricots in a medium pan with the sugar, 100ml water and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. 
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the fruit starts to break down. Leave to cool a little. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Fill two jugs with ice. Slice the other lemon, lime and peaches, then add to the jugs with the wine and apricot pulp. Top up with soda to taste and serve.

Baked ricotta with honey and figs

An example of barbecue recipes showing baked ricotta with figs and honey

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole ricottas, 250g each
  • 8 figs
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Medium bunch oregano
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 100ml olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 100g toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, sliced

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Line a large baking tray with baking paper and turn the ricottas out onto the tray. 
  2. Cut the figs in half and scatter over the ricotta, then season well. Bake for 20 minutes, until starting to turn golden. 
  3. Meanwhile, mix together the oregano leaves, honey, 2 cloves crushed garlic and the olive oil. Roughly chop the hazelnuts.
  4. Put a large griddle pan on the highest heat and char the bread for a couple of minutes on each side. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub on one side of each bread slice, then drizzle with olive oil. 
  5. Remove the ricotta from the oven, spoon over the oregano mixture and scatter with the hazelnuts. Serve on the tray alongside the sourdough toast.

Our ceviche

A close up shot of ceviche

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Serves 8

This light summer recipe makes the most of British summer produce. It can be made well in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve.

Ingredients:

  • 300g skinned cod fillets
  • 8 large scallops
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 200g ciabatta
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ bunch radishes, trimmed
  • 3 red or green tomatoes
  • 2 green chillies
  • ½ small bunch parsley
  • ½ small bunch chervil

Method:

  1. Chop the cod into 1cm chunks and slice the scallops into thin rounds, discarding the roe. 
  2. Transfer to a large bowl, season then drizzle with a little olive oil. Add the zests of the lemon and one lime along with the juice of the lemon and two limes. Toss together, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. 
  3. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Tear the ciabatta into 3cm chunks and scatter over a large baking tray. In a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic with the olive oil, then toss with the bread. Season well, then pop in the oven for 15 minutes, until golden, tossing halfway through. 
  4. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, thinly slice the radishes and place in a bowl of iced water for 10 minutes. 
  5. Chop the tomatoes, chillies and herbs, then stir through the marinated fish. Arrange on a plate, topped with the radishes and croutons. Serve at once.

Nectarine salad

An example of barbecue recipes showing plates of apricot salad on a table

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Serves 6-8

Charred nectarines are extra sweet and juicy.

Ingredients:

  • 200g pancetta
  • 6 ripe nectarines
  • 1 cucumber
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 200g green beans
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Small bunch tarragon, chopped
  • 50ml rose wine
  • 50ml olive oil
  • ½ medium bunch mint leaves

Method: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and lay the pancetta on it. Bake for 15 minutes until crisp. 
  2. Heat a large griddle pan over a high heat. Halve, stone and quarter the nectarines. Char on the griddle for a couple of minutes on each side, then transfer to a large platter. 
  3. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut into 2cm half moons. Char on each side on the griddle, then transfer to a bowl. Grate in the zest of the lemon, then stir through the chilli and season. 
  4. Griddle the green beans for 4 minutes, turning occasionally. 
  5. Mix together the shallot, juice of the lemon, mustard, honey and tarragon. Stir in the rose wine, then slowly whisk in the olive oil, until well combined. Season the dressing to taste. 
  6. Scatter the charred vegetables over the nectarines on the platter. Crumble over the pancetta, then spoon over the dressing. Scatter with the mint leaves and serve.

Roast root salad with crispy red rice

An example of barbecue recipes showing a plate of roast root salad

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Serves 6-8

Look out for candy beetroot, a sweet variety with appealing pink and white stripes.

Ingredients:

  • 150g red rice
  • 1 bunch baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp cumin 
  • Sea salt
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 3 candy beetroots, peeled
  • ½ kohlrabi, peeled 
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Handful of pea shoots
  • Small bunch mint leaves, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Cook the red rice according to the instructions, then drain and rinse under cold water. Spread out on kitchen paper to dry. 
  2. Scrub the carrots and trim, leaving a short stalk. Then spread out on a baking tray. 
  3. Mix the honey, cumin, salt and lemon zest with 2 tbsp oil. Toss through the carrots, then bake for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until golden and slightly crisp. Leave the oven on. 
  4. Fill a large bowl with iced water. Finely slice the beetroots, kohlrabi and fennel, adding them to the bowl. Set aside. 
  5. Scatter the rice over 2 large baking trays and drizzle with oil. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until crispy and crackling. Leave to cool. 
  6. Meanwhile, combine the tahini, yogurt, sumac and lemon juice. 
  7. Lay the rice on a large platter and scatter over the carrots. Drain the rest of the vegetables and arrange on top. Drizzle over the tahini mixture, then scatter over the pea shoots and mint, and serve. This recipe can be prepared in advance and kept separately until you're ready to assemble it and serve.

Barbecued lamb & bulgur wheat salad

An example of barbecue recipes showing barbecued lamb with a mint dressing and lemon halves

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Serves 6-8

Start this dish the day before you want to serve it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste
  • Salt
  • Leaves from 1 bunch oregano
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 2kg leg of lamb, butterflied and bone removed

For the bulgur wheat salad:

  • 300g bulgur wheat
  • 2 red onions
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed
  • 2 tsp harissa paste

For the dressing:

  • 1 bunch coriander
  • ½ medium bunch mint 
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 green chilli (or to taste) 
  • 6 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. In a small pan toast the peppercorns, fennel and coriander seeds for 30 seconds, or until they become fragrant and begin to pop. Transfer to a pestle and mortar or small blender and grind to a fine powder. Tip into a large bowl and mix with the lime zest, paprika, 6 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, chipotle paste and a large pinch of salt. Stir in the oregano leaves, garlic and chillies. 
  2. Lay the lamb flat on a baking tray and massage the marinade into the meat. Cover with cling film and leave overnight in the fridge. Remove from the fridge an hour before cooking. 
  3. Fire up the barbecue and make the salad while it heats. Pour the bulgur wheat into a medium pan and add three times the amount of water. Add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the bulgur has puffed up and is cooked. Drain and leave to cool a little. 
  4. Peel and halve the red onions, then finely slice and put in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the onions. Season with salt and add the sugar. then squash with your hands until the onions turn bright pink. 
  5. Use a peeler to create long ribbons of carrot, then toss together with the onions. 
  6. For the dressing, chop the coriander, mint, 1 garlic clove and the green chilli as finely as possible. Place in a bowl and add enough olive oil to create a runny paste. 
  7. Cook the lamb on the barbecue, turning every 10 minutes for 40-45 minutes. Transfer the cooked lamb to a board to rest for 15 minutes. 
  8. Toss half the carrot and onion mixture through the bulgur wheat and transfer to a platter. 
  9. Stir the harissa paste and juice of the remaining lemon through the bulgur salad. Drizzle over the dressing, keeping half aside for the table. 
  10. Slice the lamb and place on top of the bulgur salad. Scatter over the remaining onions and carrots and serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

Meringue with cherry & apricot compote

An example of barbecue recipes showing a large meringue with strawberries and edible flowers

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Serves 6-8

You can make this dessert with whatever fruit is in season.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large free-range egg whites
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • Salt

For the compote:

  • 300g cherries, stoned
  • 4 figs quartered
  • 4 apricots, halved and stoned
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 punnet of edible flowers, to decorate

For the whipped yogurt:

  • 250g Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 60ml maple syrup
  • 200g creme fraiche

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Line a 40x25cm baking tray with greaseproof paper. 
  2. Check there is no shell or yolk in the egg whites and put them into the bowl of a freestanding mixer, making sure it's really clean. Whisk on medium-high until the whites form firm peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add both the sugars and a big pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for about 4-6 minutes, until the meringue is white and glossy. To test if it's ready, rub some of the mixture between your fingers. If it feels completely smooth, it's done: if it's slightly grainy, it needs a bit more whisking. 
  3. Dot each corner of the greaseproof paper with a blob of meringue to help stick it to the tray. Spoon the meringue on to the paper then, using the back of a spoon, shape and swirl it into a large round. 
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. until crisp on the outside and a little soft and sticky inside. Leave to cool. 
  5. Meanwhile, put all the fruit in a pan along with the zest and juice of the lemon and the honey. Bring to a boil over a high heat for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. 
  6. In a large bowl whisk the yogurt with the vanilla paste and maple syrup, then fold through the creme fraiche. 
  7. With the back of a spoon smear the yogurt over the meringue. Scatter with the fruit, drizzling over the juices, then decorate with edible flowers.

Recipes/ Emily EzekielStyling/ Ali BrownPhotography/ Emma Lee