It seems to have become a British tradition that as soon as the slightest bit of sun appears, people get their bangers out (come on people, I mean sausages). In England, where it rains on average 109 days out of a year, and the other 200 being overcast, that leaves 56 days of sunshine. Thus, us Brits love to celebrate these glorious sunny days with a BBQ, complete with drunk relatives and someone getting pushed into the paddling pool. For those of you that didn’t think that there was an etiquette to the Great British BBQ, well there is. Whether you’re from abroad or a Brit and need a refresher course, here’s my guide to doing BBQ, British style-ee.
1. Gas or charcoal BBQ? I have no idea, I suppose this depends on your preference, but according to my not so extensive research, whilst charcoal BBQs are cheaper and give that authentic chargrilled flavour to your food, they are also a bit temperamental. Like the British weather, funnily enough. Gas BBQs are more expensive but are also easier and quicker to use, as you don’t have to wait a millennium for the coals to get hot and for your guests to give up and go home.
2. Do men always have to man the BBQ? Now, I’d hate to be one to conform to gender stereotypical roles, but, yes, man does seem to have this desire to control the BBQ. I think there is an evolutionary explanation for this relating back to cavemen times- think “me man” “umm meat!” “umm fire!” and you’ll get the picture.
3. What exactly does one bring to a BBQ? – Interesting question, so glad you asked. In an ideal world, one would turn up with a bottle of wine, however, it appears turning up with a pack of sausages to put on the BBQ is just, if not more, appreciative.
4. What happens if it rains? I am yet to meet a Brit that has not had their BBQ rained on at least once. You can’t just give up and go inside though, because that would be embarrassing, not to mention completely go against our ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ mantra. So, that is what one must do, the parasol can double up as an umbrella after all. Genius.
5. My burgers are looking a bit black, do I still serve them?- Of course, one expects their meat to be “well done” at a BBQ. It’s better to serve cremated meat than give them all food poisoning, right?
6. What does one wear to a British BBQ?- BBQs pretend to be laid back but they may as well come with a dress code. Formal dress is a no-no, but you knew that already I hope. Same goes for white, the last thing you need is burger sauce dripping down your white shirt. Think a simple short and shirt, or a light summer dress to nail the BBQ look.
7. I’m a vegetarian, shall I bother turning up? Although BBQs were definitely not intended for vegetarians, ask politely if the hosts wouldn’t mind catering to your non meat eating needs. To avoid conflict, tuts, and “the nerve!” comments, it might be wise to bring your own non meat options, such as Quorn burgers etc.
8. What’s for dessert? Can I stick a cheesecake on the Barbie? No you may not. If you even have room for dessert after the farmyard you have consumed, I would suggest light options, such as Ice Cream, or indeed cheesecake, which, I repeat, does not belong on the BBQ.
9. It is acceptable to get drunk at a BBQ? – When isn’t it acceptable? Next.
10. Anything else I need to know?- Yes, when people start falling asleep on your patio because of the amount they’ve had to eat/drink, it’s time to call it a night.
Hope this helps and happy BBQing!
Love Georgia x
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