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BudgetQue: 4 Money-Saving Barbecue Tips

Barbecuing can be exciting and fun. But it can also be expensive. With that in mind, I’ve put together a short guide to helping you make delectable dishes at a great price. Let’s find out how!


1: Veggieque

Not surprisingly, sticking to veggies can be very cost effective. When barbecuing, there are a plethora of vegetables that can be grilled, smoked, and slathered with delicious sauces and rubs. You’ll find that meat tends to be somewhat expensive (especially organic meat) as compared to larger quantities of vegetables.


So, if you’re looking to save money on your meals, load up on the veggies!


2: Herb gardens

There are a number of herbs and spices that we use in our barbeque dishes. From garlic to tarragon, if you’ve got a plot of land in front of or behind your house, odds are it will be the perfect spot for growing.


Another simple method for growing your own herbs is indoor potting. Some of the herbs I mention below are well suited for this, as they require warmer environments. Do you have a bay window in your house? That might be the perfect place for a black peppercorn vine! Here’s my short list of favorite “herb garden” delicacies.


  1. Cumin
  2. Cilantro
  3. Rosemary
  4. Mustard
  5. Black Peppercorns
  6. Garlic


Remember that some plants, such as the black peppercorns, will require special care or extra consideration. However, if you are easily able to accommodate these needs, I think you’ll find that growing your own herbs can become a cost effective and rewarding way to keep your barbecue budget down.


3: Chicken thighs

We could potentially coin this number “underused cuts of meat,” but we’re going to specifically focus on chicken thighs. There’s a chance I could sing the praises of chicken thighs until the end of time. They’re juicy, they’re tasty, they’re perfect for grilling, baking, and frying. But the best part about chicken thighs has to be their generally low cost.


Chicken thighs don’t get as much love as breasts, wings, and drumettes. They are higher in fat content, and therefore, either require someone who enjoys eating the fat, or who doesn’t mind cutting it off. They’re a little more complicated with the cleaning, but I promise you, they more than make up for their negatives with the marvelous flavor they possess.


It is precisely because chicken thighs contain their marginally higher fat percentage that they produce such mouthwatering flavor. Additionally, when smoking the thighs, the fat tends to melt into a glorious basting juice that makes an amazing base for future sauces. Friends, I can’t recommend enough that you try the thigh. I don’t think you’ll regret it.


4: Buy on sale

Yes, this can be considered common sense. But every once in a while, a reminder is helpful. In case you’re younger and just starting your barbecue journey, when things go on sale at your local grocery store, make a quick jaunt over to the marketplace and buy in bulk.


Now, there is a caveat here, and it pertains to the type of food you’re purchasing. If it’s something perishable like meat, vegetables, and fruit, we will need to take an extra step to preserve them. The goal of buying on sale and in bulk, is to get the best price for the most product, and that means using the product weeks, even months later.


For meat, the obvious choice is the deep freezer. Simply put the package whole into your freezer or re-allocate the meat to containers of your choice. Another option is using the meat to make jerky. Not a bad idea honestly, but the process does require more equipment, spices and materials, thus increasing our overall cost.


For fruits and vegetables, the fridge will work for certain selections, and the freezer for others. However, I find that the best way to take advantage of a sale on fruits and vegetables is canning and stewing. Granted, they are no longer fresh. However, some fruits and vegetables are still wonderful to use in the smoker and on the grill, even after you’ve canned or stewed them.


Final thoughts

I hope these ideas helped you in your quest to save money while barbecuing. Budgets can be tough to stick to, but with a little planning and prepping, you can produce world-class quality barbecue on a pinch-a-penny budget. As always, my goal is to inform, enlighten, and inspire. Have a great day, and I’ll see you at the grill!

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