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It's National BBQ Week, so here are the rules for a Scottish barbecue

The annual celebration of al-fresco cooking runs until July 10

Published: July 6, 2022
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It’s National BBQ Week until July 10.

We'd like to postpone those dates in Scotland since we’ve barely worked up to a single picnic yet, let alone sitting outside for the time it takes to cook a heap of meat and halloumi. Still, if the weather starts improving, we may be in luck. If you’re not ruling it out, here are our rules for the perfect barbecue.

1 Don’t talk about the weather or say the word barbecue out loud. You have to be quietly spontaneous, or it will rain. Worse, there will be a storm, you’ll be hit by lightning, and some say you deserve it for tempting fate. The same goes for buying a shiny new barbecue. Use the old web-covered one you have in the shed, or the whole summer will be cursed.

2 Don’t overbuy sausages. There should be two or three, maybe four, per person. Nobody wants to end up with a dozen blackened snags that fester in the fridge.

3 If you want to take it to the next level beyond caveman and camping techniques, go to a class, like the Weber BBQ Classes at Edinburgh School of Food and Wine (www.esfw.com), where you can learn rotisserie and how to cook fish and vegetables. They’re running throughout July and August.

4 Buy snacks. For those who don’t barbecue regularly, the delayed gratification can be an endurance exercise. You don’t want to end up eating the rolls, bread and all the sides before the meat has cooked. Also, don’t drink all the booze as an amuse bouche.

5 If it does rain, chuck everything in the fridge and get a takeaway from Edinburgh’s Smiddy BBQ (www.smiddybbq.com). Or, try the new Porty Taphouse and Smokehouse from the people at sour beer brewers, Vault City (www.vaultcity.co.uk). They’re cooking Texas beef links and vegan pulled pork on their smoker. Everyone also raves about the chicken wings at Buddy’s BBQ (www.buddysbbq.co.uk) in Glasgow, and they’re sure to not still be pink inside like your DIY efforts.

6 It’s all in the marinades and condiments, so get yourself something like the Aberdeenshire-made Holy Puck Hard Hitting BBQ Sauce from Singularity Sauces. It has a heat rating of one out of five, which isn’t too scary, and has the appropriate sweet sharpness, with ingredients including fermented red peppers, maple syrup, apple vinegar and chipotle. Alternatively, you could kill two birds (well, midgies) with one stone, thanks to the Bite Back Marinade, which was made as a collaboration between Quality Meat Scotland’s Make it Scotch campaign, Aberdeen brand Succulento and midge expert, Dr Alison Blackwell, and unveiled at the recent Royal Highland Show. It contains garlic, basil, rosemary and lemon juice, all of which are great on Scotch Beef or Lamb, but repellent to the biting nuisances, www.succulento.co.uk

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7 Ice-cream for pudding. It’s all very well trying to barbecue whole pineapples, making s’mores or cooking bananas in their skins, but gelato is all anyone has space for after a meat-fest.

8 If you’re barbecuing in, say, a public park, please find the nearest toilets, so we don’t have to watch. Also, keep taps oan.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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