You guys know I love bargains, and there’s really no better place to bag one than Aldi. Even though our closest shop is across town, I’m always happy to pop in and take advantage of those low prices!
I decided to put together a tasty BBQ to show how easy and cheap it can be to throw a party that’s a step above the usual shop-bought bangers and burgers. Beer-can chicken, home made double yolked burgers, rainbow slaw, potato salad, salsa and tortillas, and a cheese board – it’s a feast for kings!
First off, the cheese board! You wouldn’t think of putting together a cheese board for a BBQ usually, but it’s a great way of providing fancy, savoury nibbles for your guests while they’re waiting for the grill. Plus, in all honesty, I can’t resist Aldi’s cheeses… they’re so tasty!
The easiest way to elevate a cheeseboard is variety and presentation. I already made a bunch of chutneys (including Riverford’s cucumber relish and a gorgeous apple chutney with a kit from The Spicery), so all I needed was a packet of multigrain crackers (69p), some green apples (Granny Smiths £1.19), and some of my favourite cheeses: crunchy Somerset cheddar (£1.99), mini roulé with garlic and herb (79p), Wensleydale with cranberries (£1.49), and Stilton (£1.49). That’s £7.64 for a really good cheeseboard, and all of the cheeses are absolutely delicious (and everyone loved the crackers too, and kept asking where they were from!).
Another thing that’s easy to knock together while your guests are waiting is homemade salsa and tortilla chips. I use the same salsa recipe I’ve had since I was a kid – simply chop a punnet of baby plum (69p) or cherry tomatoes together with half a red onion (62p) or a bunch of spring onions, and half a bunch of coriander (69p), the juice of a lime and some salt. You can even prepare this in a food processor to get it really fine. Aldi’s tortilla chips are very tasty and only 46p, so serve them together and your guests will be treated to nibbles for around £2.46!
Onto the BBQ – and one of my favourite things to cook is a whole chicken. It’s so easy and it’s really cheap too – I got a medium whole chicken for £2.75. Usually I spatchcock them for speedy cooking (easier than you think if you have a good pair of scissors, just cut out the backbone and flatten the bird out). This time I decided to be fancy and do beer-can chicken!
This couldn’t be simpler. I popped some fresh rosemary in a pestle and mortar with some oil and sea salt to make a marinade, but you can use whatever you prefer for the flavouring. Then, grab a can of beer and pour around half out (or drink it… probably drink it is better), then sit the bird on top of the can. Make sure your chicken is sitting pretty on the can and not falling over before you leave it to cook!
I used Aldi’s 1079 Project beer which is £2.49 for four cans. The beer in the chicken boils and steams as the chicken cooks and makes the flesh unbelievably moist and tender. I cooked mine for an hour and a half but don’t forget to pierce the thigh with a knife to ensure the juices run clear before serving. You’ll need a good pair of oven gloves to finagle the chicken off of the can – and there will still be some liquid left, so be careful!
A simple way to serve this is with some baked sweet and ordinary white potatoes (95p and 65p, respectively). Wrap them in foil with olive oil and rock salt and cook them along with the chicken. This will make a really decent meal for four for under a fiver!
Another way to elevate your BBQ game is to offer some tasty side dishes. You don’t need to go mad, potato salad and coleslaw are classics for a reason!
My secret tip for amazing potato salad, passed down from my mum, is to soak the cooked potatoes in vinaigrette (1 part vinegar to 5 parts oil, with plenty of seasoning, a pinch of sugar and a dab of mustard).
Just mix in mayonnaise and some spring onions if you feel fancy!
The rainbow slaw is a bit more complicated, and you’ll need a spiraliser or a grater. Grate half a red cabbage and half a white cabbage (43p each), plus a red onion (62p), three carrots (around 50p for a bag) and two green apples (£1.19 for the bag). Mix a couple of tablespoons of apple juice with four tablespoons of olive oil and some salt. Leave to marinade for an hour or two! It’s so delicious and makes a tonne – and it’s a lovely zingy side for all kinds of grilled meats and fish.
Now for the double yolk burgers! I picked up two 500g packs of 20% fat beef mince for £1.35 each – a high fat content makes for a juicy burger, so don’t shy away or waste money on the lean stuff. To that, add the yolks of two eggs (a great trick to add moisture and richness, instead of a single whole egg), a teaspoon of mustard powder, a finely chopped onion, a teaspoon of paprika and salt and pepper. Mix well and form into burgers – you can get eight really chunky ones from this mix.
Allow them to chill in the fridge for one hour. Make sure you add a small dimple in the middle of each burger with your knuckle to prevent the burger from expanding in the centre. This will help to maintain the flat shape.
Grill for a few minutes on each side until cooked – and then here’s another tip for great cheese burgers… add the cheese while the burger is still on the grill!
I used the Aldi crunchy cheddar and it was fantastic! Once you’ve left your burgers to get all melty, serve them directly into a fluffy bun along with onions and ketchup, and you’re well on your way to being a BBQ star!
Aldi supplied vouchers for this blog post. Photography and opinions are my own! Remember, prices will vary at budget supermarkets, so follow the special offers for great discounts.