Frugal Outdoor Cooking Tips

Frugal outdoor cooking is something I must admit is something I rarely get to do but it is certainly one of my friends biggest summer delights.

She has always loved getting outside in the garden and preparing a barbecue for her friends and family, summer just wouldn't be the same.

However she doesn't have a very large garden and the expense of buying a full size professional barbecue has always been outside of her budget.

So instead we put our heads together to come up with frugal recipes and alternatives to the grill issue and here we have highlighted them for you. Enjoy your summer and barbecue cooking.

Frugal Outdoor Cooking - The Barbecue

Instead of splashing out on a BBQ and perhaps only using it a couple of times a year, why not make your own for frugal outdoor cooking. Depending on how big and how often you want to use your grill the options for building your own are:

  • Building your own permanent brick built pit grill - A simple construction that only requires basic brick laying skills as it is not necessary to be perfect and small gaps between the bricks is OK.
  • Building a BBQ from an old metal drum - The drum will have to be cut length ways and either buried into the ground to make it stable or it will have to be secured to a wall or a simple stand will have to be made.
  • Using an old wheelbarrow for your stove - This is a great eco friendly and frugal outdoor cooking option. The bottom half of the wheelbarrow can be buried into the earth to make it secure.
  • Using large terracotta pots - Stones can be placed inside to line the pot before the logs are placed inside.

Which ever of these solutions you decide upon, the basic rules for creating a BBQ are the same.

  • Make sure that the bottom of the BBQ is heat resistant to stop scorching, by using a metal plate if the container is not made from metal already. (If making yours in a pit onto packed earth, this will not be necessary).
  • Make sure the construction is firmly planted to the ground, to avoid toppling over.
  • Make sure a cover is constructed to prevent too many sparks flying around. Use a metal mesh for this.
  • Make sure the BBQ is close enough to the house for ease of transporting food etc, but at a safe enough distance as to not to be a fire hazard.
  • You will need to buy a grill rack to cook your food on, big enough to cover your chosen BBQ container.

Frugal Outdoor Cooking Food

One of the biggest shocks I ever had was when I went shopping with my friend for her Barbecue cooking groceries. The bill was so large I was beginning to wonder if it just wouldn't be cheaper to eat out.

It also didn't taste that great either, the manufactured burgers were dry and the sauces were bland and watery.

So next time we decided to make as much of the food we could ourselves and by buying meat and vegetable in bulk we ended up having tastier and cheaper food that we could also freeze for other occasions if we didn't use it all up at our barbecue.

Basic Barbecue Sauce Recipe

1/4 cup. cider or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup. molasses 
1 cup. tomato ketchup 
1 tbsp. mustard 
1 tsp. each garlic powder, onion powder, chilli powder and black pepper Use all or which ever combination you prefer

Heat the vinegar and molasses together until dissolved then stir in remaining ingredients. That's it, if you want to make the sauce a little sweeter try adding some honey to the mixture.

Barbecued Corn on the Cob

This is a great frugal outdoor cooking option as it is great for finger food and easy to prepare.

Simply brush each cob with a little cooking oil, sprinkle some seasoning to taste onto each cob and then dot some little blobs of butter. Wrap each cob in tin foil and place on the barbecue for 25 minutes, turning occasionally.

Once cooked you can then remove the foil and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes to char grill the outside a little.


Buy mince beef or lamb (not too lean) which ever you prefer or which ever is cheapest at the time. If you buy large bags you will save money in the long run. Add to the mince a few breadcrumbs and a beaten egg to hold the mixture together and then add seasoning and spices as you wish.

You can make them as original as you like i.e. you could add some chilli or rosemary and even add little blobs of mozzarella or tomatoes to the mixture. When shaping your burgers make sure you press firmly and chill them in a refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before grilling, to save then from falling apart on your grill.

Jacket Potatoes

Brush olive oil onto each potato and rub with a little salt.
Wrap each potato in tin foil and place on BBQ for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally.
Check with skewer to see if soft.

More Frugal BBQ Tips For Desserts

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