The only barbecue recipe you need this summer

On days when a burger or a sausage just isn’t going to cut the mustard you can use your barbecue to smoke a chicken and bake some hot flatbreads.


Barbecue smoked chicken with grilled flatbreads and homemade barbecue sauce

You don’t need any fancy equipment to smoke meat at home – you can use a regular kettle style barbecue and a handful of hickory wood chips. It can generate a good amount of smoke, so maybe it’s a good idea to make sure your neighbours washing isn’t out on the line unless they like it infused with a rich, smoky aroma.

Hot smoked chicken is amazingly moist. Trapping the heat and smoke under the lid for an hour gives it a rich chestnut colour, a rich, smokey taste and makes the meat succulent and juicy. When we eat this we keep it simple, a few slices of chicken in a flatbread, a lettuce leaf or two and some sweet and tangy barbecue sauce is all you need. It’s worth checking the temperature of the meat to make sure it is cooked through so try to get hold of a probe cooking thermometer.

Cooking bread on a barbecue is dead easy too, so don’t be put off if baking isn’t usually your jam. This stuff is a world away from a packet pitta.


250g strong bread flour
250g plain flour
1 tsp instant (Fast Action) yeast
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp table salt
310 ml warm water
2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1. Mix the Flour, yeast and salt and then mix in the water and oil.
2. Knead for 5 minutes (ideally in a mixer with a dough hook)
3. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes
4. Knead for 5 more minutes then dust with flour.
5. You can use it straight away or sit in the fridge for several hours in an airtight container until you are nearly ready to cook.
6. Take the dough out of the fridge, make the dough into satsuma sized balls (around 90g)
7. Wait 40 minutes for the dough to come to room temperature.
8. Roll each ball into a pitta shape on a floured board.
9. Heat a pizza stone/heavy pan over the coals, or just cook straight on the bars.
10. Place the dough on the stone or grill bars and replace the lid, cook for 3 minutes each side until puffed up and lightly browned.

Barbecue sauce

½ tsp garlic granules
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
Salt & pepper

1. Mix all the ingredients together then bring to the boil in a pan and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Test for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Dry Rub

½ tsp garlic granules
1 tsp onion granules
2 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tsp muscovado sugar
½ tsp dried rosemary (ground)
½ tsp dried thyme (ground)

1. Coat the chicken in the dry rub and massage in.
2. Refrigerate for a few hours if possible then dust off any excess rub before you get smoking.

Chicken smoking

Kettle style barbecue with a lid
Heatproof metal tray of water
Barbecue coals
Bag of wood chips for smoking
Probe style cooking thermometer

1. Soak 4 handfuls of wood chips (hickory/cherry etc) in a bowl of water for 1-2 hours.
2. Light your barbecue coals, 1 hour in advance, or half an hour if using a chimney heater.
3. When the coals have stopped flaming and have become hot and white put the lid on and let the heat build up.
4. At this stage you can grill your hot breads if you like.
5. Carefully move the coals to the back of the barbecue and place a tray of water at the front.
6. Replace the lid and allow the heat to build up again.
7. Sprinkle 2 handfuls of wet wood chips onto the hot coals to create the smoke.
8. Place the chicken over the water tray.
9. Replace the lid and allow the heat to increase – the interior should reach 350-400°F
10. After half an hour turn the chicken around and add the rest of the wood chips.
11. After another half hour check the temperature of the centre of the chicken breast with a heat probe, it needs to reach 165°F to be safe to eat.
12. If you aren’t able to test the temperature or are concerned it may not be hot enough you could always heat through in a hot oven for 20 minutes.

Sit back, soak up the sunshine and enjoy!

Now that you’ve got your main course sorted, why not try my mouth-watering mini desserts, to really cement your reputation as barbecue master?

Or if the weather isn’t playing ball and you need to abandon the barbecue plan altogether, I find a big bowl of pretzel dogs and beer cheese dip usually makes guests forget all about the rain…


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Claire Sutton

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Claire Sutton

Claire is our resident expert on all things edible: she cooks, styles and photographs her mouth-watering recipes from the comfort of her country kitchen in Derbyshire. You can find all manner of recipes, projects and photos of her dog, Ernie, over at