Have a lot of BBQ leftovers every time you host? Us too. And in a survey Great British BBQ carried out to find out the BBQ habits of the nation, 83% of people admitted to having BBQ leftovers so we’re definitely not alone!
If you don’t know what to do with all that extra meat and sides, here are some ideas on what to do with BBQ leftovers so they don’t go to waste!
Weighing it up
It is often hard to predict how much food you will need for a BBQ because you don’t know how hungry your guests will be, how many people will actually show up, and if any friends or family members might tag along. Even if you try to plan portion sizes ahead of time, it’s still difficult to gauge exactly how much everyone will eat.
According to the National BBQ Association and Mintel, UK households spend around £35 on food and drink for an average-sized BBQ, and hold around nine each year! (Is that one for each sunny day?) This adds up to a less-than-tasty £315 annually. So our question is, how much of this food goes uneaten and ends up in the bin?
Rather than throwing away the bbq leftovers, we want to help you make it keep for longer or turn it into a brand new menu of culinary delight, reducing waste and making your money go further.
The BBQ leftovers lowdown
When it comes to BBQs, the most commonly wasted items are buns, salads and meat. In fact, Mintel found that a third of UK households say they end up throwing away buns because they become dry, while almost a quarter (24%) claim to waste salad because it goes off too quickly.
The first thing you need to do is separate the food into different categories – buns, salads, meat, etc. Once you have everything sorted, it will be easier to decide what to do with it. Here are some ideas
- Buns: If the buns are beginning to dry out, you can give them a quick blast in the microwave or toast them lightly in the oven. This will make them softer and more delicious!
- Salads: If you notice a little bit of discolouration on your lettuce leaves or your coleslaw is starting to wilt, you can easily revive it by giving it a quick rinse in cold water.
- Meat: The best way to reheat meat is in the oven, on the stovetop or in the microwave. If you’re cooking your bbq leftovers in the oven, wrap them in foil and place in a pan and make sure that you reheat to an internal temperature of 165° F degrees.
What to do with BBQ leftovers
In our recent survey, we asked the public what they would be most likely to do with their BBQ leftovers, and this is what they told us:
As you can see, there are several different ways to use your BBQ leftovers instead of just throwing them away!
Some people like to eat them as is, while others prefer to transform them into new and exciting dishes. If you have a lot of guests at your BBQ, then you can always let them take some of the BBQ leftovers home with them to enjoy later on.
Even if no one wants to take any BBQ leftovers home with them, if you have a pet, they’d probably be more than happy to take them off your hands – or off your plate!
Top 10 tips to reduce food waste
- Make sure you always keep your fridge below 5 degrees to help your bbq leftovers stay fresh for longer.
- Use up herbs, garlic cloves, onions and anything else in your fridge to create your own marinades and dipping sauces. Choose whichever flavour combinations you like best from your fridge and use our tips to make your own with the perfect bbq marinade recipe.
- Make homemade lemonade from any lemons that are past their best or have gone unused with this simple recipe using just sugar and boiling water.
- Send a message round to all those invited to your BBQ before you go shopping to check expected numbers – Facebook is the easiest way to reach lots of people at once, and you can keep track of attendees much easier than by text.
- If struggling for fridge space on the day use coolers, coolboxes or cool bags wherever possible to avoid leaving food out in the warm, even if it’s only for a short time.
- If you’ve got leftover salad that’s looking a bit limp, don’t bin it – put the leaves into a bowl of ice water to get it nice and crisp again and eat as soon as possible.
- Leftover barbecued vegetables can be warmed through then used with noodles to make stir fry, mixed with mashed potato for a classic bubble and squeak or mixed with oil and grilled again until soft to make Mediterranean vegetable sandwiches.
- If you’ve got spare vegetables in your fridge that haven’t yet been on the BBQ, chop them up to make crudités for dunking in leftover side dishes and dips like hummus, or grate and mix with mayonnaise and mustard for easy homemade coleslaw.
- Any BBQ leftovers like meat should be refrigerated immediately, certainly within two hours of being cooked. You can then use it for up to four days in lunch boxes, on sandwiches or served with salad and leftover sides for cold summer dinners.
- Don’t waste a drop of your leftover wine and invest in some simple bottle stoppers. Leftover soft drinks like smoothies, fruit juices or fizzy pop gone flat need not be thrown either! You can easily transform them into delicious ice lollies with a mould and some sticks which will be available from most supermarkets.
So, there you have it! These are just some of our tips if you’re not sure what to do with your bbq leftovers. If you have any other ideas, we’d love to hear them!
You can tweet us @GreatBritBBQ! We look forward to hearing from you!