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Eight brilliant barbecue recipes to make whatever the weather

British summers are never predictable, scorching hot weekdays followed by torrential downpours at the weekend, so it makes sense to have a 'plan B' if organising a barbecue. Be prepared with dishes you can cook indoors or out and easy recipes that taste just as good whether hot or not.

  1. Super salads

    A hearty salad can be lunch in itself if the sun doesn't show or the perfect side to grilled meats if a barbecue is on the cards. This Mediterranean orzo salad is bursting with prawns, pancetta and mozzarella, while this chunky BLT potato salad has all the classic flavours you would expect from your favourite sarnie. For vegetarians, this halloumi salad packs a punch with its chilli and tomato dressing - you could even grill the halloumi on the barbecue if eating outdoors.

    Super salads
  2. Oven-ready

    Let the oven take some of the stress out of barbecuing by cooking your main meats indoors. If the weather holds you can transfer them to the grill for the last bit of cooking so they pick up some charred, smoky flavour before serving, if not, you've still got beautifully tender meat to serve inside. This is particularly handy with large cuts that take a long time to cook, such as this melt-in-the mouth beef brisket or a whole chicken.

  3. DIY dips

    Dips and nibbles are ideal for keeping guests happy if plans change last minute. Lay out veg sticks, breads and crisps with some colourful dips to stave off hunger if you have to dash indoors out of the rain or wait for the grill to heat up outside. Try some of our favourite homemade dip recipes for inspiration.

    DIY dips
  4. Loaded burgers

    It wouldn’t be a barbecue without burgers and luckily most can be cooked in any number of ways. Make your burger patties ahead of time and bring to room temperature before cooking, either in the oven, under the grill, in a griddle pan or on the barbecue. What makes a burger special is all the toppings. Whatever the weather, guests will love choosing pickles, slaws, melting cheeses, creamy sauces and more from our collection of best burger recipes

    Loaded burgers
  5. Quick cooks

    If a change in the forecast means grabbing a last-minute barbecue opportunity then look to skewers and kebabs for the perfect quick and easy cook. You can layer up any combination of meats, fish and veg you have to hand, just cut everything up to similar-sized pieces so they cook evenly, and they only take minutes to cook once the grill is hot. Try meatball kebabs, smoky chorizo and asparagus skewers or veggie halloumi kebabs. For something a little different, these jerk salmon and pineapple kebabs only need three ingredients, while these charred strawberry skewers make a fun fruity pud, too.

    Quick cooks
  6. Little helpers

    Getting the kids involved makes it a fun activity come rain or shine. These foil-wrapped cherry and marshmallow cones are perfect for little fingers to fill, you can choose different fruits and fillings as you like. For a real treat, barbecued doughnut ice cream sandwiches are great fun - let the kids pick their favourite ice creams to press between the charred sweet buns.

    Little helpers
  7. Happy hour

    If clouds do threaten, keep the party spirit going indoors with some drinks. Make a round of junglebird cocktails with a tropical hit of rum and pineapple juice to conjure up a taste of sunshine, or how about a jug of this summer sparkler, with rosé, mint and lime. Be sure to offer guests who aren’t drinking a non-alcoholic tipple: try a classic iced tea or a fruity strawberry-infused cooler.

    Happy hour
  8. Quick cheats

    Make sure you have a handful of quick-to-cook recipes up your sleeve. Juicy corn on the cob is a barbecue staple and if you need food in a hurry, they’re the ideal choice. Cook the corn on the barbecue or grill it indoors and funk it up with Mexican flavours for a speedy side that’s packed full of flavour.