The best BBQ food for summer 2021

Stacey Smith Products tested by the Good Housekeeping Institute
·6-min read
Photo credit: Unsplash
Photo credit: Unsplash

With restrictions slowly lifting and the promise of summer socialising on the horizon, it’s time to dust off the BBQ and start compiling your summer shopping list.

Well good news, because the results are in for this year’s big BBQ Taste Test. Our trusted panel tasted a whopping 124 products from supermarkets, online butchers and specialist shops to bring you the tastiest spread for al fresco entertaining.

While online butcher Eversfield took the top spot in our burger taste test, it was budget supermarket Tesco that reigned supreme in the sausage department.

Veggies and vegans are well catered for too, with a comprehensive selection of meat-free burgers, sausages and dairy-free cheese slices, that are sure to impress.

For something a little different, there’s also a selection of meat and seafood kebabs, which will provide a stunning centrepiece when hosting guests.

And to wash it all down? We’re suggesting a light, hoppy session IPA, ideal for any time of day drinking.

Here are the winners of the GHI's BBQ taste test 2020...

BEST BEEF BURGER

From native breed organic meat through to budget-friendly family favourites, we tried 19 varieties of beef burgers, to bring you the best for every occasion.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Eversfield Organic Beef Steak Burgers, 460g (4pk), £6.76, Score: 87/100

Made from coarsely ground organic and grass fed-certified beef, our winning burger smells sensational. Online butcher Eversfield seasons them with nothing but onion, salt and pepper, with our panel describing them as rich and succulent. To ensure you have a steady stream of steak burgers all summer long, these are available as a one-off purchase or on subscription.

Read on for our full list of GHI-approved beef burgers.

BEST SAUSAGES

We’ve completed the ultimate sausage taste test, trying 18 bangers — including traditional cumberland, lamb merguez and hearty chorizo creations.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Tesco Fire Pit Chorizo Sausages, 300g (6pk), £4, Score: 88/100

For a taste of Spain, make Tesco’s chunky chorizo the centre of your BBQ spread. As you’d expect, the skin is tougher than your average banger, and some found these a little salty. However, if you’re after a hearty, smoky sausage with plenty of paprika, you’ll love it.

Read on for our full list of GHI-approved sausages.

BEST KEBABS

Whether served as an elegant canapé, or as the centrepiece of your summer spread, we tried 20 meat and seafood kebabs — these are the ones to impress your guests with.

Best meat kebab

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned


Swaledale North African Spiced Lamb Kofta Kebab, 400g (4pk), £8, Score: 90/100

Specialising in native rare breed meat, online butcher Swaledale allows its lambs to roam free along the Yorkshire dales. These petite koftas are made with freshly ground lamb shoulder, combined with onion, garlic, chilli, coriander and paprika for a gently spiced North African flavour. Although on the small side, the lamb has a decadent fat content to keep them moist. Try serving with a fresh salad, flatbreads and a dollop of cooling yoghurt.

Best seafood kebab

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Aldi Salmon Kebabs, 206g (4pk), £2.99, in store only, Score: 90/100

For something a little different this summer, these chunky salmon fillet pieces are a lovely light alternative to meat. Marinated in a Thai-style sweet chilli, lemongrass, coriander and soy glaze, our testers found this fish deliciously juicy.

Read on for our full list of GHI-approved meat and seafood kebabs.

BEST MEAT-FREE BURGERS

Our tasting panel fired up the grill to cook an impressive line-up of 18 veggie and vegan burgers. These are the ones that wowed on taste...

Best vegetarian burger

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned


Waitrose Vegetarian Aubergine and Feta Burgers, 210g (2pk), £2.75, Score: 88/100

Our winning vegetarian burger is packed with chunky lentils and butternut squash. Flavoured with gently spicy chilli, smoky paprika and cumin, it reminded some of a fragrant falafel. Although we’d have preferred the feta and aubergine element to be more prominent, overall we think this is a great option if you prefer your veggie burger to taste of veggies.

Best vegan burger

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned


Moving Mountains Burger, 227g (2pk), £4.69, Score: 81/100

These high-protein quarter pounders had an authentic beef burger flavour with a salty, marmite note. The texture is a dead-ringer for the real deal too, made from pea and soya for a pleasingly fatty, chewy bite. Although slightly bitter on the finish, these savoury patties will be fantastic with all your classic burger toppings and also come in plastic-free packaging.

Read on for our full list of GHI-approved meat-free burgers.

BEST VEGAN SAUSAGES

We tried 17 sausages suitable for vegetarians and vegans, only the ones with the tastiest textures, convincing plant-based skin and delicious herbs and seasoning found a place in our line-up.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Moving Mountains Sausage, 228g (4pk), £4.69, Score: 89/100

If you’re looking for a convincing meat replacement, we reckon these cook-from-frozen bangers will win you over. They look and smell much like a real pork sausage, with a nice charred finish and wrinkly plant-based skin — in fact, we reckon you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference. The plastic-free packaging is an added bonus.

Read on for our full list of GHI-approved vegan sausages.

BEST CHEESE SLICES

Trying a total of 15 cheese slices, including vegan options for a plant-based feast, these are the best cheese slices for crowning your burger with…

Best cheddar cheese slices

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned


Lidl Mature Cheddar Slices 200g, 65p, In-store only, Score: 83/100

With a subtle sharpness and well-rounded creaminess, our winning cheese slices are sure to be a family favourite. Some would have preferred a slightly sharper note, but overall this well-priced pack took the top spot.


Best vegan cheese slice

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned


Violife Non-Dairy Cheese Alternative Slices, 200g, £2.99, Score: 72/100

Free from dairy, gluten and soya, this Greek vegan cheese is an excellent alternative to standard cheddar. Although not quite as sharp as the real deal, our panel found these mild slices rich and creamy. Add a slice to your favourite meat-free burger for a fully plant-based feast.

Read on for our full list of GHI-approved cheese slices.

BEST IPA

If you enjoy the hoppy character of IPA but are looking for something lighter in alcohol, a session IPA is ideal.

Joint best session IPA

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned


Mondo Brewing Co. Little Victories Session IPA 330ml (4.3% ABV), £2.79, Score: 83/100

Situated a stone’s throw from London’s Battersea Power Station, this independent brewery is influenced by the American craft beer scene. With bright fruity notes of pineapple and light hops, this is a great example of a session IPA. It’s not overly fizzy, making it a particularly food-friendly option for the summer months.

Joint best session IPA

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned


Brick Brewery Peckham Session 440ml (4.2% ABV), £2.79 per can, Score: 83/100

This light and easy-breezy session IPA is crying out for a hot summer’s day. Mango bursts out of the glass and a touch of lemon provides welcome refreshment. Our panel found it deliciously smooth and well-rounded, with most saying they’d buy it again.

Read on for our full list of GHI-approved session IPA.

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