Check out the best summer supermarket products for BBQs and picnics this year. The olive team chose 23 categories to showcase products that will enhance a summer barbecue or picnic. The supermarkets selected the products they wanted to put forward in each category (we only allowed them one entry per category, so they had to choose carefully). Our expert panel of olive judges tasted them blind, and rated each individually. Some categories had so many great entries to choose from, we awarded joint winners or highly commended. If you prefer to make your own, or mix and match, here are our easy and impressive BBQ recipes.
Best BBQ show-off product
Winner: Asda oak-smoked beef rib with BBQ sauce. £5/588g
A clear winner for its impressive show-off factor, it really delivers on flavour with a well-balanced smoke and a sharp, not-too-sweet BBQ sauce. The meat is tender and falls off the bone.
Best BBQ banger
Winner: M&S posh dogs, £4.50/600g
A well-seasoned sausage with a subtle smoky flavour and a dense, meaty texture. Would work well in a bun or on its own.
Best BBQ burger
Winner: Co-op Irresistible Hereford cheddar and onion burgers, £3.19/340g.
Just how a burger should be; caramelised and juicy with a rounded beefy flavour (we loved the cheddar, too, which gave the burger an umami boost).
Highly commended (not pictured): Iceland Luxury 2 ultimate 5oz steak burgers, £2/284g.
The aged beef flavour really shines in these meaty patties.
Check out our top burger recipes here for a homemade feel.
Best vegetarian burger
Winner: M&S edgy veggie burger, £3.75/240g
This veggie burger has a good colour, firm texture from the grains, and it holds up really well in a burger bun – a cracking addition to any barbecue.
We have a vegan burger recipe to try making at home, it’s perfectly grillable.
Best burger bun
Winner: Iceland 4 sliced brioche rolls, £1/220g
These rustic brioche buns are light and sweet with a savoury edge. They’re beautifully glazed and would be even better lightly toasted on the barbecue.
Best pork pie
Winner: M&S 4-grain pastry mini pork and smoked ham pies, £2.50/200g
A great example of a classic pork pie with smoky, meaty filling, crisp pastry and an added crackle from the seed topping.
Best scotch egg
Joint winner: M&S lamb kofta wrapped runny egg, £3.50/240g
We love this quirky scotch egg with its spiced kofta coating, bright, runny yolk and well-balanced seasoning.
Joint winner: Co-op hand-finished scotch egg, £1.29/140g
A very well-rounded, classic scotch egg with a textured crumb and meaty pork casing.
Prefer to make your own scotch eggs? Try our easy scotch egg recipe here.
Best fancy sausage roll
Winner: M&S handcrafted smoked bacon and mushroom sausage rolls, £2.75/192g
This sausage roll is punchy. It packs in plenty of flavour with a generous filling of tender pork, smoky bacon and earthy mushrooms, and a cheesy crumb to cover the flaky pastry.
Best gluten-free picnic item
Winner: Co-op Irresistible chocolate brownie stackers, £2.79/155g
Fudgy and squidgy, these chocolate brownies have a pleasant sweetness and an intense chocolate hit. You’d never guess they were gluten-free.
For plenty more gluten free inspiration, check out our gluten free section with hundreds of easy and inspiring recipes.
Best summer wine
Winner: M&S Castillo de Monterey Godello 2015, £9.50/75cl
This wine is fresh and light so would go with most summer foods. Serve chilled on a hot day, or even as a base for white wine sangria.
Best BBQ seafood product
Winner: Iceland Arctic royal Argentinian red shrimp, £5/300g
All you need to do is pop these big, juicy prawns on the barbecue for a tender and sweet addition to your spread.
Highly commended (not pictured): M&S piri piri king prawns with roquito peppers, £5/220g
If you’re looking for a flavour hit, these marinated prawns do the trick with an intense sauce and added sweetness from the roquito peppers.
Best vegetarian burger alternative
Winner: M&S chilli and halloumi kebabs, £4/225g
Vegetarians won’t feel left out with these indulgent kebabs. The halloumi melts on the grill but retains a pleasant squeak, and the salty hit with the gentle heat from the chilli is umami heaven.
Best BBQ skewer
Winner: Iceland chicken and chorizo kebabs, £3.50/525g
We chose this kebab as our winner due to its classic, distinct flavours – sweet, well-cooked peppers, juicy chicken and subtly-spiced chorizo – that deliver individually as well as together. A real crowd-pleaser.
Best moreish summer dip
Winner: M&S lamb shawarma velvet hummus, £4.50/348g
We love the tender lamb shawarma topping on this classic Middle Eastern dip. The quality of the chickpeas really shines through, making this velvety hummus one of the best we’ve tried.
Highly commended (not pictured): Ocado greek-topped hummus, £1.20/150g
The silky texture of this dip is beautiful, and the oregano is fragrant and delicious.
Try one of our homemade dip recipes here.
Best savoury snack to serve with drinks
Winner: M&S sea salt and rosemary focaccia chips with extra-virgin olive oil, £2/200g
A perfect shovel for dips. These super-crunchy chips have a subtle kick of rosemary, a pronounced olive oil flavour, and just the right amount of seasoning.
Best pâté or terrine
Winner: M&S chicken liver parfait, £3.50/80g
This picnic product delivers on appearance, texture and taste. We love the pretty jar filled with silky parfait that’s well seasoned and not too powerful.
Best non-alcoholic drink
Winner: M&S sparkling sangria-inspired spritzer, £2/750ml
This non-alcoholic spritzer would be super refreshing on a summer’s day. It has a pleasant lemony note and would make a great base for other sangria cocktails.
Best ice cream
Joint winner (18a): Co-op Irresistible chocolate hazelnut truffle ice cream, £2.50/500ml
We’re getting a luxury Nutella vibe from this indulgent ice cream. It has a lovely creamy texture with added chocolate pieces and swirls of chocolate hazelnut spread.
Joint winner (18b): Iceland Italiano lemon meringue ice cream, £1.50/900ml
For those who like their ice cream zesty, this scoop has got it going on; sweet and crisp meringue, sharp lemon and a sherbet zing.
We have loads of ice cream recipes to make at home from scratch, try one from our ice cream collection.
Best flavoured bread
Winner: Asda Extra Special hand-stretched caramelised onion and mozzarella flatbreads, £1.75/220g
An indulgent addition to a summer spread, these pillowy flatbreads are soft and moist thanks to the sweet onion and salty mozzarella topping. Ditch the sandwiches and stick to this, we reckon.
Best show-off salad
Joint winner (20a): M&S roasted cauliflower, freekeh and tahini salad, £2/195g
An on-trend and colourful salad with a nutty texture, plenty of nourishing ingredients and a creamy dressing.
Joint winner (20b): Co-op beetroot, goat’s cheese and black grain salad, £2.50/225g
There are lots of interesting elements to this vibrant salad – dramatic colour from the beetroot, vinegar dressing to cut through the creamy goat’s cheese, and lovely nutty textures from the black grain.
Best savoury summer tart
Winner: Asda petit pois, courgette and ricotta quiche, £2.28/400g
A perfectly cooked, creamy egg filling with pops of minty pea and courgette and the extra short, crisp pastry make this a winner.
If you prefer to make your own, we have some savoury tart and quiche recipes here.
Best frozen summer dessert
Winner: Asda raspberry and prosecco pavlova stack, £5/638g
A frozen dessert that really holds up after defrosting. It looks pretty and there’s a good balance between the sweet meringue and the sharp raspberries.
Best summer dessert
Winner: M&S Valencian orange and chocolate cheesecake, £4.50/535g
The team loved the beautifully smooth and moussey texture of this indulgent dessert. We liked the posh Jaffa Cake flavours, but it’s not too rich, so both kids and grown ups will enjoy it.
Look out for this winning sticker on the products in stores near you. It’s the olive mark of excellence!
listen to cookery writer Anna share her brilliant slow-cooking tips for summer. (Hint: your barbecue routine will never be the same!)
olive magazine podcast ep16 – Dan Doherty’s new book, summer slow cooking and afternoon tea sundaes