Best Beach Barbecues

Feeling hungry?


Words Carolyn Caldicott; photos Chris Caldicott 

Nothing beats a beach barbie,  and now we're in for an Indian summer, make the most of it with these easy recipes



An excellent way to use super-fresh gleaming mackerel, after a successful fishing trip around the bay.

Brush the Asian-inspired marinade over the prepared fish and leave the flavours to combine while the barbecue is reaching the correct temperature.

Serves 4

4 mackerel, gutted and rinsed

The marinade

4 tbsps light soy sauce

Juice and grated zest of a lime

2 tbsps sunflower oil

1 tbsps runny honey

1 dsp sesame oil


5-cm/2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and grated

Whisk the marinade ingredients together until well combined. Slash the mackerel at regular intervals on each side and brush the marinade over the skin and into the flesh. Leave the mackerel to marinate until the searing heat of the barbecue has died down. Lay the fish on the grill and cook for 4–5 mins on each side, until the flesh is cooked through and the skin is chargrilled.


Meaty monkfish is robust enough to thread on skewers without running the risk of losing half the fish in the fire.  If you are using bamboo skewers, remember to soak them in water for half an hour before threading.

No time to mix a marinade? Reduce the monkfish quantity by a third, top up with thick slices of chorizo, brush with oil and chargrill.

Serves 4

800g/1lb 9oz monkfish, cut into 3cm/1. inch cubes

The marinade

2 plump garlic cloves, crushed


2 red chillies, seeds removed and sliced

A handful of coriander leaves

3 tbsps olive oil

3 tbsps natural yoghurt

Zest and juice of a lime

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blend the marinade ingredients in a food processor until the herbs are finely chopped and the sauce is smooth. Coat the monkfish cubes with the marinade and set aside until the barbecue coals are ready.

Thread the monkfish on soaked skewers and cook for 2 mins on each side, until golden brown and just cooked through.


You can assemble these halloumi brochettes using almost any barbecue friendly veg, paneer cheese has a similar non-melting texture to halloumi with a milder creamy flavour for an Indian style alternative.

Makes about 12

275g/ 10oz halloumi cheese

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

2 medium courgettes

15 cherry tomatoes

The Marinade

4 tbsps olive oil

Juice and grated zest of half a lemon


1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses or honey

1 heaped tsp chopped thyme leaves

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the halloumi into 2cm/3/4 inch squares and cut the peppers and courgettes into similar sized shapes. Combine the tomatoes with the prepared halloumi and vegetables in a shallow dish. Whisk the marinade ingredients together and pour evenly over the halloumi and vegetables. Gently mix together and leave to marinade for an hour or so. Thread a selection of the ingredients onto skewers, shake away any excess marinade, and cook on the barbecue until golden brown and soft.



Serves 4  

300g/10 oz couscous or fine bulgar wheat

570ml/ 1 pint hot vegetable stock mixed with 1 heaped tsp harissa (or to taste)

Small bunches of parsley, coriander and mint, finely chopped

6 spring onions, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

The grated zest and juice a lemon

3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

A generous handful of pomegranate seeds

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the couscous in a bowl and pour over the hot stock. When the stock is completely absorbed, fluff the couscous with a fork until all the grains are separated. Set to one side to cool. Mix the cooled couscous with the chopped herbs, spring onions and cinnamon until well combined. Whisk the lemon and olive oil together and season to taste, combine with the couscous and sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top.



Perk up jumbo prawns with an aromatic piri-piri marinade. Choose raw prawns in the shell whenever possible – the shell protects the prawns from drying out.

Makes 16

4 tbsps piri-piri sauce

1 tbsps olive oil

Juice of . a lime

16 jumbo prawns, raw and shell on

Combine the piri-piri sauce with the olive

oil and lime juice.

Coat the prawns with the piri-piri marinade and set to one side for 30 mins or so (if you are using bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in water while the prawns are marinating). Thread the prawns on skewers (or place in a wire fish cage) and cook for a couple of mins on each side until they begin to turn golden brown.


The barbecue needs to burn for at least 15 mins before the serious business of cooking can begin. If the coals are too hot you run the risk of thicker ingredients becoming burnt on the outside while they are still uncooked on the inside.

The coals are ready when the smoke stops and the embers glow. Work out your barbecue pecking order, placing ingredients that require quick cooking over a high heat, such as shellfish, squid and sardines, on the grill at the beginning of the barbecue, when the coals are at their hottest, and leaving thicker ingredients that need a slower approach until the temperature of the coals has started to drop.

Allow all ingredients to warm to room temperature before placing on the grill.

To prevent bamboo skewers burning, soak in water for 30 mins or so before threading with ingredients,

Chunky fish, meat and vegetables can be marinated overnight, but salt and citrus juices should be added no more than two hours before cooking.

Thin fillets and small fish only need to marinate for a short time – the time it takes for the barbecue to die down once lit is plenty.

Prepare marinades the night before, pop into a container with a tight-fitting lid and store in the fridge.

Take care to oil your barbecue ingredients only lightly – any excess oil will drip on to the coals and create a fog of smoke. Stick to sunflower oil or light olive oil (a barbecue is too hot for extra virgin).

It's worth investing in a mesh barbecue cage to cook smaller fish, which have an annoying tendency to slip between the gaps in the grill. With a cage, turning the fish becomes a breeze.

Whole fish are much more forgiving on the barbecue than fillets, which tend to break up and dry out. For the best results, stick to small or medium-sized whole fish. Oily fish such as mackerel and sardines are always a good choice: the flesh stays moist and the skin crunchy.

To test that a fish is cooked through, insert a knife into the thickest part and gently lift. The flesh should flake easily.

Taken from Beside the Seaside by Carolyn Caldicott with photographs by Chris Caldicott, published by Pimpernel Press at £12.99.

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