Promoted: Smoke & Fire: Get your meat sales sizzling

With lockdown lifting in time for the summer season, and events, campuses, offices and leisure venues starting to slowly welcome consumers back, it’s the perfect time to make the most of BBQ season and let meat take centre stage by tapping into hot BBQ trends.  

Nothing screams British summer quite like a good old BBQ, and with a market currently worth an impressive £2billion, it’s certainly worth making room for on menus. For operators that don’t have outdoor cooking facilities, creating mouth-watering BBQ-inspired dishes inside, such as slow-cooked large joints of succulent meat, marinated in smoky sauces, means the BBQ season can still be enjoyed.

Stacking stations

Burgers seem to remain the true barbecue king. Not only are profit margins healthy, they are incredibly versatile and easily adapted to suit the broadest of tastes. 

With customisation a key trend this year, stackable burger options are perfect for consumers to mix and match flavours. Bringing a ‘stacking station’ into the dining area of any establishment is easy to execute and the stacking options are endless - from slow-cooked pulled pork, chilli, blue or even truffle cheese; to burnt ends or bacon, and even macaroni cheese. To elevate your offering even further and tap into the key 2021 cuisine trends, why not spice it up with a theme such as ‘global flavours’, paired with accompanying sides, such as spicy masala chips, crunchy slaws, or fully-loaded dirty fries. Creating a diverse range of stacking and side options gives the consumer the diversity they are after, and opportunity for the operator to encourage multiple purchases or offer ‘meal deals’ to drive loyalty.

Americana rules

The Americana trend has been established for some years and is experiencing a resurgence. In a recent Bidfood survey (conducted in partnership with CGA April 2021), 33% of consumers were looking forward to American dishes when they can eat out again (compared to 37% Sunday roasts).

Americana is all about the meat and heat! Whilst burgers are still a core, well-loved favourite, in the search for something a bit different, cuisine authenticity and flavour, as well as growing fascination with the process of primal cooking techniques that involve charcoal, embers, smoke and fire, many more American cuts and meat dishes are coming to the fore. 

Think – slow cooked beef brisket, tender beef short rib that falls off the bone, crispy burnt ends, crunchy fried chicken stacks, as well as familiar favourites like wings, pulled pork and puck burgers are all seeing rising popularity. These all work well for restricted menus due to their adaptability and the potential for customisation of dishes, with different marinades to infuse the flavour, sauces and perfectly paired sides.

A flat brisket rubbed or marinated and slowly cooked on an open charcoal barbecue is easy to cook and will beautifully fall apart, as a perfectly tender and mouth-watering main. Chopped and seasoned, it will also provide intensely flavoured burnt ends, which you can use to top your own bespoke puck burger or as chunky finger food. Pork belly or shoulder works in exactly the same way to create pulled pork. These types of joints have a slightly higher fat content, making for a really succulent dish, which is easy to execute in a conventional oven indoors, and can be cooked in large joints overnight on a timer, freeing up the oven for other dishes the following day.

Marinade your menu 

With many operators temporarily turning to reduced menus, caterers need to become even craftier with how they create a diverse BBQ offering.  A big trend we’re seeing this year is ‘little luxuries’ – with consumers seeking ways to elevate an everyday dish with a simple twist. So, with BBQ expectations higher than ever, no longer will a simple cheeseburger or hotdog do.

Marinades provide an easy way to create a wide range of flavours, whether that’s sweet and smoky, or tangy and hot. We’re seeing a rise in popularity in marinades applied after the meat is cooked, allowing each order to be tailored to the individual. The range from Major is brushed on and soaked into the meat while it’s resting, allowing a griddle of different meat cuts to be transformed into individual unique dishes tailored to a customer’s desire, with flavours of creamy garlic and herbs, fragrant and spiced, hot peri peri, and so much more.

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