Planning the perfect family barbecue

People sat around table full with BBQ food.

Throwing a barbecue can be a great excuse to catch up with your friends and family. Spending the day outside in the sun, followed by a relaxing evening with drinks in the garden is a real treat. Choose a unique theme to make your barbecue a memorable and truly tasty occasion.

Around the world (in less than 80 dishes)

Barbecue is a staple across the world, so ask each of your guests to bring along a side dish from their favourite travel destination. To add to the fun, you can pop on a playlist of popular music from each country, as well as hanging up flag bunting and marking the dishes with cocktail stick flags.

American style burger with side of sweet potato fries.

Not only will your guests’ culinary creations provide a great conversation starter – they’ll give them the opportunity to taste a wide variety of unique flavours too. It’s a good way of encouraging your younger (and fussier!) guests to try new things.

This theme has the convenient advantage of giving you less to prepare. Just make sure you have a table large enough to host all the delicious dishes.

Mini Olympics

Work up your guests’ appetite with a friendly tournament. Include the teams on the invite before the event, and have team colours ready on the big day to get your party into the competitive spirit.

A mini Olympics with frisbee discus, tin throwing, or a classic egg and spoon or sack race can be enjoyed by everyone, and won’t be too strenuous. Once the games are over, have a quiz prepared for your teams to see if their brains match their brawn.

Children playing can toss game in garden.

Super-sized fun

Entertain your youngest guests as well as the young at heart by setting up giant versions of your favourite games. Whether it’s a game of giant Snakes and Ladders, chess, checkers, bowling or Jenga, you can guarantee that the novelty-sized versions of these classics will keep them entertained. Continue the theme onto the table with over-sized burgers, steaks or hot dogs, and giant marshmallows for roasting later.

Man playing large outdoor chess game with boy.

Stick to a single colour

For a twist on the classic barbecue food try sticking to a single colour. Love orange? Replace regular chips with sweet potato fries, and swap apple pie with pumpkin pie. Fancy a cup of tea at the end? There’s even Orange Pekoe tea to match your theme.

Alongside the table and garden decorations, you can encourage guests to wear a single piece of clothing with the colour to bring out the best of your theme.

Table full of ribs and sides.

DIY barbecue

Laying out a selection of garnishes, sauces and flavoured oils allows guests to experiment with creating unique flavours. With a table set aside for toppings, dipping sauces and fresh herbs, there won’t be two people with the same meal at your barbecue.

Large jars filled with drinks set on outdoor side table.

To wash it down, try making your own fruity cocktails or ‘mocktails’ (non-alcoholic cocktails) and placing them into large glass dispensers for people to help themselves.

Chargrilled Scotch fillet with beurre noisette and guasacaca

Who said barbecues are just for burgers and hot dogs? This South American-inspired steak recipe is quick, delicious and great for feeding a hungry crowd.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 4 minutes (for medium rare)
Serves: 1


For the guasacaca:

1 brown onion (peeled and quartered)
2 green peppers (stem and seeds removed)
2 ripe avocados
2 small garlic cloves
½ bunch parsley (washed well)
½ bunch coriander
80 ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the fillet steak and beurre noisette:

1 x 230g scotch fillet portion (2 ½ cm thick)
30 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. For the guasacaca, combine the onions, green peppers, avocado flesh, garlic, herbs, salt and vinegar in a blender. Blitz for 40 seconds then slowly pour in the olive oil. Place into the refrigerator and allow to develop overnight.
  2. To make the beurre noisette, place a small pan onto the grill until hot. Add in the butter and allow to sizzle, melt, foam and lightly brown. Carefully remove and set aside. It should be lightly golden and have a nutty hazelnut bouquet.
  3. Ignite the BBQ as per instructions and set up for grilling.
  4. Remove the steak from the fridge several hours before needed. Lightly brush the steak all over with the olive oil, season both sides with the salt, but do not use the pepper just yet.
  5. Place onto the hot grill and leave for 20 seconds. Now flip over and cook for another 20 seconds. Continue to do this for 6 minutes, (or until it reached 50 °C in the centre) for a medium-rare steak.
  6. Remove and place onto a tray with a cooling rack and lightly cover. Rest for 4 minutes, brush all over with the beurre noisette, slice, season with the pepper and a little salt if needed.
  7. Serve with a bowl of guasacaca.