Eight of the most popular British BBQ foods revealed (and #5 surprised us)

One of the best things about summer is that means it's barbecue season! Here are the most popular foods we love in the UK…

Image of people at a barbecue
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Summertime means one thing, it's barbecue season! And we've rounded up the most popular BBQ foods that Brits just can't get enough of.

From burgers and chicken kebabs to sizzling lamb chops and chargrilled halloumi, we've got all the British favourites and BBQ food ideas.

Why do we love a BBQ so much in the UK? "It's the combination of getting giddy when the sun comes out and utilising the rarity of beautiful sunny days, great company, and the joy of cooking outdoors that make barbecues so appealing," Casey Bumpsteed, Cordon Bleu chef, food writer and editor at Ceramic Cookware Review told Goodto.

"It’s a cultural tradition that brings us together, evoking a sense of camaraderie and shared enjoyment. Plus, nothing beats a cold beer with some grilled meat! It's like seizing an opportunity and being part of an exclusive, time-sensitive club!"

Here are the most popular BBQ foods in the UK right now.

Image of a burger and chips on a plate

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1. Burgers

Why so popular? The burger is a British institution and no barbecue would be complete without it. So whether you're opting for a traditional beef burger, a lamb and mint one, or a delicious spicy bean plant-based patty, you won't be disappointed. The next question, of course, is what are your toppings going to be, are you adding cheese, and do you favour an old school white bap or are you more of a brioche bun kind of person?

How to serve: Jazz things up by swapping Cheddar for blue cheese, add some chargrilled peppers, or even a griddled chilli if you like it spicy! And why not make your condiments work harder by mixing mayonnaise with sweet chilli sauce, harissa or pesto for an instant lift?

Try our recipe: Chicken burger recipe

Image of sausages on a barbecue

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2. Sausages

Why so popular? Sausages are one of the earliest forms of prepared foods known to civilisation and nowadays often are a staple of any barbecue. The popularity of sausages lies in their rich flavours, varying from herby Lincolnshire to the spicy Cumberland, and now chorizo is fast becoming a firm favourite at a British barbecue.

How to serve: The obvious choice to go alongside sausage is potato salad and coleslaw, two classics at any British barbecue. However, there are so many other options available. Try a side of sautéed peppers and onions or put it in a bun with crispy bacon bits and a generous dollop of ketchup and mustard.

Try out recipe: Lime and coriander glazed sausages

Image of BBQ chicken

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3. Chicken

Why so popular? If you want to know how to barbecue chicken then your first step is in the prep. Let's face it, the marinading possibilities are endless, making chicken a BBQ favourite, says Casey. Skewers are particularly good as they cook quickly and kids love them. 

How to serve: The great thing about chicken is it's so versatile. Marinade it in your favourite flavours then add chunks to kebab sticks with veggies, spatchcock a whole chicken for a delicious centrepiece served with crispy green salad, or add a spicy rub to drumsticks and thighs.

Try our recipe: Sticky chicken wings

Image of BBQ halloumi and salad

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4. Grilled halloumi

Why so popular? The rise of vegetarian options on the barby can't be ignored. Halloumi, with its unique ability to hold up on the grill, is a UK favourite, says Casey. It pairs well with so many things, and makes a great addition to any skewer.

How to serve: Grill slices until charred and serve on a skewer with cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. If you fancy a bit of meat it goes very well with the sweetness of chorizo on kebab sticks, too. Serve with cops cops, quinoa salad or chargrilled veg.

Try our recipe: Grilled halloumi with honey

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5. Lamb chops

Why so popular? Known for their succulent and flavourful nature, lamb chops are a great addition to any British barbecue. They come from the loin - the most tender part - making the chops lean and delicious. The secret to cooking lamb perfectly is the tenderising and marinating as it's a great vessel for flavour.

How to serve: Rub with rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper, grill to perfection, and serve with mint sauce. Add a spicy Jerk sauce for a Jamaican twist and serve with peas and rice, or simply cook with some oil and garlic and serve with potato salad and your favourite mustard.

Try our recipe: Lamb chops with mustard sauce

Image of BBQ salmon and salad

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6. Fish fillets

Why so popular? Not only are they really healthy and low in calories, fish fillets on the BBQ are really quick to cook, and taste great with a marinade, salsa or sauce. Fish is also full of good fats including omega-3 so it's a good choice for anyone looking for a nutritious meal. If you're cooking fillets straight on the grill, opt for fish with skin that is fairly robust to the heat - salmon, halibut and monkfish work well. Season the skin with oil and salt to prevent sticking and get that lovely crispy finish.

How to serve: The great thing about fish is it works wonderfully with so many different sides. Serve it with a simple green salad, chargrilled vegetables or sautéed green beans covered in butter and fresh cracked black pepper. BBQ favourite potato salad is delicious with salmon, and pickled veg such as sauerkraut makes a great addition to any fish dish.

Try our recipe: Salmon fillet recipes

Image of BBQ corn on the cob

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7. Corn on the cob

Why so popular? A universally loved BBQ option, its natural sweetness gets amplified on the grill. It's also a child-friendly choice and works well with flavoured herb butters or chilli oil.

How to serve: Grill until charred and smother with a mix of butter, lime, and a sprinkle of chilli powder. Eat with coleslaw, potato salad and BBQ beef brisket for a Texan twist.

Try our recipe: Sticky maple corn

Image of mushroom burger with tomatoes

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8. Portobello mushrooms

Why so popular? A great alternative to a meat burger, they're loved for their meaty texture and smoky flavour when grilled, says Casey. Mushrooms contain macronutrients that are important for a healthy immune system. They are full of selenium, which helps the body make antioxidant enzymes to prevent cell damage. If you're watching your weight, mushrooms are very low in carbs but protein-rich so they will help to fill you up.

How to serve: Add a fried egg for extra protein and enjoy in a bun, or serve with an array of rice or pasta salads, crisp green leaves and fresh guacamole. Portobello mushrooms also stand up well on kebab sticks so add to halloumi and veggie skewers for a nutritious BBQ meal that kids and adults alike will love.

Try our recipe: Mushroom burger

For more summer ideas, check out our guide on how to light a BBQ, check out our summer dessert ideas, or find perfect summer Sunday dinner ideas.

Maddy Biddulph
Freelance parenting writer

Maddy Biddulph is a freelance journalist specialising in lifestyle and family-focused content. With 25 years in consumer media, she has worked as a writer and editor for some of the bestselling newspapers, magazines and websites in the UK and US.  As a mum of two art-obsessed daughters, Daphne and Esther, Maddy is always looking for parenting hacks to make life easier. She is also a Level 3 personal trainer, and creates energising workouts for busy mums who need some me time.