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Sausages and burgers beware. The barbecue is going through a revamp and it’s setting its sights on healthier fare and international flavours to keep its customers and coals glowing.

Scottish barbecue

Who doesn’t love a barbecue? The Queen digs them, doing hers in Scotland every summer, and the rest of us are happily tucking in to more too throughout the year. 

With the barbeque season upon us, what’s the future of the sector? What exactly does the consumer want? And are there opportunities to create our own barbecue style with a Scottish twist? 

It's not just about bunging a few sausages and burgers on the grill anymore, inspiration and sophistication is the order of the day. Consumers are looking to the Scottish food and drink industry to give them the tastes and flavours that will bring the zing to their alfresco cooking and impress the neighbours. 

Healthier barbecues please 

The common or garden barbecue is becoming more health-focused, with light fish options, such as whole fish, scallops and sardines, joining vegetarian and vegan options on the grill.  

Pumpkin and spinach burgers, cauliflower steaks, and kale & mushroom sausages, are popping up on supermarket shelves. And meat substitutes, such as seitan and jackfruit, are gaining in popularity. 

Customers are looking for great-tasting, healthy food options to cook with, both indoors and out.

The global barbecue

World cuisine is a growing influence on the home-grown barbecue sector too. Barbecue styles from the Middle East, Korea, Japan, South America and Mexico are influencing how we barbecue, the cuts of meat we’re choosing, and the choice of barbecue cooking methods we're adopting. 

This fusion of methods, as well as the added ingredient of international tastes and flavours, is bringing a whole new dimension to barbecues on home soil. 

Unique meat cuts 

So, with sausages and burgers being pushed more and more to the fringes of the barbecue, here’s some of the cuts taking their place.  

Thin meat cuts, like thin pork chops and steaks, inspired by Korean and Japanese grill masters, are great for barbecues because they tend to marinate and cook faster than thick ones. They also offer a higher ratio of spice and smoke to the meat, resulting in a crustier and more intense savoury flavour. 

Meat cuts that are slow cooked over a barbecue, such as beef brisket, pork shoulder, ribs or pulled pork, are trending in restaurants.

While underused beef and pork cuts, such as shin, leg and collar, also cooked slow, have potential to interest the commercial market. Game meat, such as venison, quail and duck are also barbecue favourites.

Flavours rule

Many of today's consumers travel a lot. We now get to try so many different foods that our taste buds are generally more open to international cuisines. 

Chipotle flank steaks, sobrebarriga, Colombian flank steak, and picanha steak from Brazil are all on the menu abroad, and are finding a home here.

Smoky and sweet are flavour combinations that many people are being drawn to as well. Sweet spicy Korean chilli paste and sriracha are popular. Southern Italian Calabrian chilli pepper, and spicy ghost pepper, as well as North African harissa, are all gaining ground. 

While popular seasonings like Yuzu, miso and black garlic from Japan and Korea are also prevalent. Hummus, and sumac are perennial Middle Eastern favourites. While innovative barbecue sauces and condiments are being inspired by Filipino and Caribbean cuisines.

Scottish opportunities 

The customer seems to be open to all sorts of innovation in this sector, making it full of exciting opportunities for the Scottish food and drink industry to create its own barbecue style but with a Scottish flourish.

If you want to understand more about the barbecue trend in Scotland get in touch with our Make Innovation Happen team, who support all food and drink businesses in Scotland for free. 

Whether what you’re doing involves product, processes or employee development, we can help you explore your ideas and develop them all the way through to market. 

For innovation support get in touch today