With the weather finally warming up, it’s safe to dust off the barbecue for a summer of outdoor socialising. But what should you be adding to your BBQ shopping list?
From steak burgers to salmon kebabs and ice-cold session IPAs, The Good Housekeeping Institute has revealed the results of its much-anticipated 2021 BBQ taste test and there’s plenty to salivate over.
Here’s what caught their attention.
For those in the market for luxuriously juicy burgers, the taste testers crowned Eversfield Organic Beef Steak Burgers (£6.76 for a pack of four) as the best burgers on the block, scoring 87/100. Seasoned with onion, salt and pepper, tasters described the burgers as rich and succulent.
The runner up, with a score of 83/100, was Swaledale Steak Burgers (£9 for a pack of four) which had a distinctive savoury smell that reminded some panellists of salty charcuterie with hints of olives.
Meanwhile the best budget four-pack was field&flower Burgers (£5.48 for a pack of four) scoring 80/100.
When it comes to the battle of the own-brand supermarket beef burger, both Tesco and Waitrose & Partners came joint first scoring 78/100 with their patties: Tesco Finest Chuck & Brisket Burger (£3 for a pack of two) and Waitrose & Partners No 1 Dry Aged Hereford Steak Burgers (£4.25 for a pack of two).
Tesco has proved to be the number one destination for sausages, winning best overall sausage for its Fire Pit Chorizo Sausages (£4 for a pack of six) and scoring 88/100. These saussies are perfect for people looking for a “hearty, smoky sausage with plenty of paprika”.
Piper’s Farm Natural Cumberland Sausages came a close second, scoring 85/100 (£5.50 for a pack of six). Meanwhile Aldi took the crown for best budget sausages with a score of 81/100 for its Specially Selected Monterey Jack and Jalapeno Hot Dogs (£1.99 for a pack of four).
The king of meat kebabs is the Swaledale North African Spiced Lamb Kofta Kebab (£8 for a pack of four). Packed with flavour, these smaller koftas are made with freshly ground lamb shoulder, combined with onion, garlic, chilli, coriander and paprika for a gently spiced North African flavour.
For pescatarians, Aldi’s Salmon Kebabs (£2.99 for a pack of four) should be added to your shopping list. Marinated in a Thai-style sweet chilli, lemongrass, coriander and soy glaze, testers found this fish “deliciously juicy”. Both kebabs scored 90/100.
The runner up, with 89/100, is M&S’s British Fully Loaded Lamb Shish Kebabs with a Creamy Citrus Yoghurt Dressing (£8.50 for a pack of two).
Taste testers also rated Waitrose & Partners Chicken Shawarma King Kebab (£8 for a pack of one), which is due in store and online late April. It was crowned best chicken centrepiece with 88/100, while the best beef kebab comes in the form of field&flower’s Teriyaki Marinated Beef Skewers (£4.10 for pack of two) which scored 87/100.
Best veggie and vegan treats
The crown for the best vegetarian burger goes to the Waitrose & Partners Vegetarian Aubergine and Feta Burgers (£2.75 for a pack of two), which scored 88/100. Reviewers loved the fact it’s packed with chunky lentils and butternut squash, and actually tasted of veggies rather than meat.
For the best vegan burgers and sausages, Moving Mountains reigns supreme in both categories with its burgers (£4.92 for a pack of two) achieving a score of 81/100, and its sausages (£4.69 for a pack of four) racking up a score of 89/100 – both touted as extremely convincing meat replacements.
Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Lincolnshire Sausages were crowned the runner up in the vegan sausage category, with a score of 88/100, while the leader of the pack when it comes to own-brand supermarket vegan sausages is M&S, scoring a solid 85/100 for its Plant Kitchen Chorizo Puppies (£3.50 for a pack of four).
For those looking to fire up the grill without spending a fortune, Asda’s Plant Based Meat Free Triple Chilli Burgers (£2.35 for a pack of two) were crowned the best budget vegan burgers, with a score of 80/100. Meanwhile Linda McCartney’s Mozzarella Burgers (£2.20 for a pack of two) were hailed the best budget vegetarian burgers with a score of 71/100.
Best cheese slices
With subtle sharpness and well-rounded creaminess, Lidl’s own brand Mature Cheddar Slices (65p for 200g) is the ‘big cheese’ this year, achieving top marks of 83/100. The runner-up cheese with a score of 79/100 is Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Barbers Cruncher Cheddar Slices (£2 for 150g). Tasters loved the crumbly, mature cheddar slices with a sweet fruity flavour, and delicious crunchy salt crystals.
For those not consuming dairy, Violife’s Non-Dairy Cheese Alternative Slices, (£2.99 for 200g) was crowned the best vegan cheese slice with a score of 72/100.
Best session IPAs
A perfect accompaniment for a BBQ, whether that be a juicy beef burger or a plant-based patty, is a session IPA, and they don’t come any better than Mondo Brewing Co. Little Victories Session IPA (£2.79 for 330ml) and Brick Brewery Peckham Session (£2.79 for 330ml).
Both brews tied for the top spot with a score of 83/100. Mondo Brewing Co. Little Victories Session IPA “isn’t overly fizzy, making it a particularly food-friendly option for the summer months”, while Brick Brewery Peckham Session is “deliciously smooth and well-rounded”, with most tasters saying they’d buy it again.
The joint runners up, with a score of 82/100, included Beavertown Neck Oil Session IPA (£2.19 per can), Brewdog Clockwork Tangerine (£1.25 per can) and Fourpure Hemisphere Session IPA (£1.66 per can).