A barbecue bust-up is almost guaranteed if you're in a couple

With almost half of couples arguing over how to cook outdoors, we reveal how to fire up the barbecue without firing up the anger levels

Image of Rockwell charcoal 210 barbecue from B&Q
(Image credit: B&Q)

It’s the weekend and the sun is shining, so chances are you’re planning a barbecue for family and friends. But any thoughts of a blissful, relaxing afternoon in the garden while enjoying an Aperol Spritz can quickly be ruined when it’s time to light the barbecue and get cooking.

From disagreements over how best to cook a sausage to checking the chicken is cooked all the way through, it seems couples love nothing more than quarrelling over the barbecue coals. 

In fact, according to the latest research from recipe box company Gousto, which has just launched its new al fresco dining range, as many as 40 per cent of couples admit to having had a major bust-up while barbecuing.

What’s more, 41 per cent feel their partner always assumes they can do a better job on the barbecue, while 27 per cent feel they are too often accused of burning food. 

A quarter complained that their other half makes too much of a meal of cooking on the barbecue, while a further 22 per cent complain their partner tries to take all the credit when people come over – and we all know how annoying that is, right?

Starting to sound all-too familiar? If you regularly fall into the above trap at your summer get-togethers, there are some quick ways to ensure your outdoor soirées are far more harmonious affairs. Follow these 20 tips and you'll (hopefully) be on your way to a stress-free party...

Barbecue etiquette rules

  • Never run out of bangers or burgers - 53%
  • Don’t scrimp on the drinks - 49%
  • Have contingency plans if the weather turns - 42%
  • Make sure everyone has a drink in their hand before you get to work on the grill - 42%
  • Light the BBQ an hour before your guests arrive - 37%
  • Have a vegetarian/vegan option to hand - 37%
  • Pre-cook some food for safety - 36%
  • Don’t get tipsy before you cook - 36%
  • Never use petrol to light your BBQ - 36%
  • Don’t offer BBQ advice to the host - 33%
  • Have some sunblock to hand - 30%
  • Never put the food on the BBQ when there are still flames - 28%
  • Have a golfing umbrella to hand - 22%
  • Always invite your neighbours - 22%
  • Use natural firelighters - 19%
  • Never use a disposable BBQ - 17%
  • Don’t wear a comedy chef’s hat - 15%
  • Never wear a rude/comedy apron - 13%
  • Don’t use a gas BBQ - 13%
  • Never flip another person’s burger - 10%

Despite the heated arguments over the barbecue, it seems that ultimately we just want to do the best we can to impress our guests. Whether it’s opting for fancy artisan bread (a fifth of those surveyed), serving deli cheese (29 per cent) dips and crisps (61 per cent) or even investing in brand new garden furniture (26 per cent), we’ll do everything possible to enjoy a glorious summer of al fresco dining.

Beth Murton
Beth first started working on Real Homes as a sub-editor over 15 years ago. Since then she has worked on 4Homes, Grand Designs and as a freelancer, before returning to Real Homes for the third time. She is Acting Editor on the magazine and always has a makeover project of some kind on the go.