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3 unbeatable prepare-in-advance barbecue sides

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By Will Godfrey

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Planning a BBQ? These three make-ahead sides mean that instead of being stuck in the kitchen, you can be out enjoying the weather and socialising with your guests.

Here are some of our favourite sides that go equally well with veggie sausages and vegetable kebabs as they do with hunks of juicy red meat.

Cornbread

Cornbread is a staple in the southern states of America.  It’s golden in colour with an intoxicating aroma and subtle sweetness.

how to make cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 140g cornmeal
  • 1 ½ tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 40g golden caster sugar
  • 100ml milk
  • 280g buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g butter (plus extra for greasing)
  • 1 tbsp honey

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C fan with a 26cm cast iron skillet if you have one inside the oven to heat up, if not grease a standard loaf tin.
  2. In a large bowl sift together your dry ingredients, the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Mix a little to fully combine then make a well in the centre.
  3. Melt half the butter and allow to cool slightly.  When it has cooled to around room temperature pour into a jug with the milk, butter milk and eggs and whisk.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the middle of the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until it’s just come together, don’t worry if there are still a few lumps.
  5. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and brush a pat of butter over the entire inside of the skillet until it is evenly coated.  Pour the batter into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden on top and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  6. If baking in a tin, pour into your prepared tin and place in the middle of the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  7. Melt the rest of the butter in a pan and stir through the honey and a pinch of salt.
  8. Once you have a removed the cornbread from the oven brush the honey butter over the cornbread until you have used it all up and the top is evenly covered. Allow to cool slightly, before serving warm.

Tip: Cold cornbread is delicious, but for an extra special treat if making it in advance, cool the cornbread and store after it’s baked before you dress with butter. Then just before you want to serve it, warm it up in a low oven (around 120C) covered in foil for 10-15 minutes, then follow the steps for the butter glaze at the table for an exciting, luxurious side.

Quick pickled cucumber

Quick pickles, or fridge pickles are the easiest way to add some tang to your plate, they cut through the richness of red meat and help to balance your palate. There’s a reason pickles are a common addition to burgers!

how to make quick pickled cucumber

Ingredients:

  • 6 baby cucumbers
  • 2 sprigs of dill
  • 300ml white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

Method:

  1. In a small pan, heat the vinegar, salt, sugar and mustard seeds together until the salt and sugar have dissolved.  Allow to cool to room temperature then chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthwise into spears.  Tear the dill into small fronds and put half in the bottom of a sterilised jar.  Arrange the cucumber spears tightly in the jar then top with the remaining dill.
  3. Pour over the chilled vinegar then store in the fridge for overnight before serving.

Chilli and lime butter

This citrusy butter with a kick of chilli will make your simple barbecued corn on the cob the star of the show.

how to make chilli and lime butter

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, softened at room temperature
  • ½-1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp of mild chilli flakes

Method:

  1. Whisk together the butter, cayene, half the lime zest and a pinch of salt until fully combined.  Cool in the fridge until firm but pliable.
  2. Lay a sheet of clingfilm over a chopping board and sprinkle the chilli flakes and the remaining lime zest over half of one side of the clingfilm.
  3. Remove the butter from the fridge and roughly shape into a sausage.  Wrap in a fresh piece of clingfilm and roll on a work surface to shape into an even cylinder.
  4. When you’re happy with the shape, remove from the clingfilm and place on the edge of the chilli lime film. Roll the butter in the clingfilm getting an layer of the chilli and lime over it at the same time.
  5. Cool in the fridge until ready to serve, then serve sliced over charred corn with a squeeze of lime juice.

Corn on the cob with chilli butter and lime

Why not give some of these creative sides a try at your next barbecue, and let us know what you think of them in the comments!

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