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Testing is complete and the results are in for our first ever Summer Taste Awards. We tasted 110 products across 18 picnic and barbecue categories to bring you our definitive shopping list for summer 2019. Read on to discover which supermarket products came out on top in our barbecue categories.
The best burgers
Best burger buns
Specially Selected brioche burger buns (4-pack), Aldi (79p)
Soft, buttery and sweet but not too sweet, our judges loved these buns, which come conveniently pre-cut.
Taste the Difference brioche burger buns (2-pack, 160g), Sainsbury’s (£1)
These were praised for having the roundest shape and a lovely glaze. Although slightly drier and less buttery than our winning bun, this would be a benefit for holding wetter ingredients, such as rare meat burgers or lots of sauce.
Luxury sliced brioche rolls (4-pack), Iceland (£1)
Opinion was a little divided here – some of our judges loved the sweetness in this bun, which was likened to a croissant by two panel members, but others found the texture too crumbly.
Best classic burger
Taste the Difference steak and caramelised onion burger (2-pack, 340g), Sainsbury’s (£2.50)
Praised by our judges for a ‘handmade’ texture and meaty flavour, the sweetness from the caramelised onions means this burger would go well with strong cheeses.
The best beef & bone marrow burger (2-pack, 340g), Morrisons (£3)
If you prefer a saltier burger, this one’s for you. Beefy and well-seasoned, bone marrow provides an added boost of flavour. The judges also loved the size, thickness and juicy texture.
Our Best Ever burger with a cheese, gherkin, tomato & mustard melt (2-pack, 340g), M&S (£3.50)
Although this is a good all-round burger with great flavour, the cheese, gherkin & mustard topping did not melt as it was supposed to when cooked on the barbecue, so this is best for oven cooking.
Best vegetarian burgers
The Deli Sweet Potato Burgers (2-pack, 230g) Aldi (£1.49)
Our judges liked the slightly curried, dhal-like flavour of these – they hold together well when barbecued and would be great in a bun with a dollop of yogurt or raita.
Best vegan burgers
Love Your Veg! The Smoky ‘Jack’ quarter pounder (2-pack, 227g), Sainsbury’s (£2.50)
Smoky and well-seasoned with peppery undertones, these have great flavour and an excellent ‘meaty’ texture that holds well on the BBQ. Both vegans and meat-eaters will enjoy them.
Vegan seitan pattie (2-pack, 227g), Waitrose & Partners (£2.99)
Our judges were surprised by the meatiness – both in taste and texture – of these vegan burgers, which taste a bit like a sausage patty.
The Deli beetroot burgers (2-pack, 230g), Aldi (£1.49)
A typical veggie patty that makes no attempt to mimic meat in texture, this has a crisp exterior but is soft inside, with a spiced, Indian-style flavouring heavy with cumin and a red beetroot hue.
Best barbecue sauce
Classic BBQ sauce (460g), Asda (£1)
The most balanced BBQ sauce we tried, this has a pronounced tomato flavour, low-level vinegar acidity, a touch of smoke and not too much sweetness. Our judges felt it would go well with everything.
Co-op Memphis BBQ sauce (340g), Co-op (£1.50)
A close second for those who liked a slightly smokier flavour, this has a malty taste and a sharper contrast between sweet and acidic.
House BBQ sauce (275g), M&S (£1.50)
Sweet and fruity with a slightly jammy texture, this has a hoisin-like flavour so our judges thought it would go well with duck, chicken or any BBQ dish involving Chinese flavours.
The best hot dogs
Best hot dog buns
Hot dog brioche rolls (4-pack, 280g), Tesco (95p)
A good balance of sweet and savoury, this buttery roll has a light, airy crumb yet pleasant chew. Its shape and size makes it perfect for all sizes of hot dog.
Brioche Posh Dog™ rolls (6-pack, 385g), M&S (£1.90)
This classic white roll-style bun has a sweet brioche flavour and nice spring to its texture.
Rich & buttery hot dog buns (4-pack), Waitrose & Partners (£1.55)
Our judges liked the golden-brown appearance and all-round savoury flavour in these. While they are slightly denser and chewier than our winning buns, this means they would hold up well with any fillings.
Taste the Difference smooth pork sausages (400g), Sainsbury’s (£2.50)
A stand-out winner, these are perfectly seasoned, herby and peppery. The texture is smooth yet robust and they hold up well on the BBQ.
Finest pork, red leicester & jalapeño hot dogs (400g), Tesco (£2.50)
Slightly larger and straighter than the others tried, these more Bratwurst-style bangers would hold up well in a bun with all the toppings. They were praised by the judges for their mild heat and overall balance of flavours.
Extra Special pork sausages (400g), Asda (£2.25)
A great all-rounder, these had a pleasing porky flavour and although the meat is slightly coarser than others tried, it’s well-seasoned, juicy and even in texture.
Best vegetarian sausages
Meat free Lincolnshire-style sausages (6-pack, 264g), Tesco (£1.75)
A great example of a classic veggie sausage, these have a juicy, meaty texture, strong seasoning and are an all-round crowd-pleaser.
The Deli red pepper & butternut squash sausages (6-pack, 270g), Aldi (£1.49)
Earthy lentils, sweet peppers and a mild smoky flavour make a great combination in this veg-heavy banger, which has a nice, almost meaty texture.
Best vegan sausages
Vegan whirls: Italian style & Spanish style (4-pack, 400g), Waitrose & Partners (£4)
These were highly praised for their distinctive, impressive flavours and ‘meaty’ texture, however their shape does limit use as a classic hot dog in a bun.
Love Your Veg! Green Supreme sausages (10-pack, 500g), Sainsbury’s (£3.50)
A great, veg-forward sausage, our judges loved the strong pea flavour, well-balanced mild spicing and seasoning in these.
The Deli masala roast cauliflower sausage (6-pack, 270g), Aldi (£1.49)
Our judges loved the umami savouriness and mild curried flavour in these vegan sausages, which had visible chunks of veg running through them.
Best barbecue meat, fish and veg
Tandoori chicken breast kebabs (250g), Waitrose & Partners (£4)
A modern take on a tandoori kebab, the meat is well-spiced and the addition of black onion seeds on the outside give a nice crunch.
Korean-inspired chicken kebabs (305g), Tesco (£4)
Made with chicken thighs, these are very succulent. The judges love the Korean-style spicing, with plenty of heat and floral undertones.
Best vegetarian kebabs
Vegan tandoori kofta kebab (280g), Waitrose & Partners (£2.99)
Nicely spiced and with flecks of grated carrot within them, these have a good texture and would go well in a hot dog bun or served with salad.
Best barbecue fish
Chilli & lime salmon kebabs (4-pack, 177g), Tesco (£4)
Vibrantly flavoured with a spicy-sweet Asian-style marinade, these salmon popsicles are an impressive-looking and accessible BBQ fish choice.
Best barbecue joint
Ready-to-cook garlic & herb spatchcock chicken (1135g), Co-op (£6)
A real crowd-pleaser, this juicy chicken has a good hit of flavour from the herby garlic marinade but without being overpowering. It has to be cooked in the oven first but it crisps up nicely on the BBQ to finish.
How we tested
All food was prepared, cooked and presented by independent home economists. All products in the barbecue categories were cooked entirely on the barbecue, apart from the larger ‘barbecue joints’, which were started in the oven and finished on the barbecue. Packaging was removed and the dishes were blind-tasted and assessed by our team of experts. Judging took place in silence to ensure the panel didn’t influence each other’s decisions and the entire process was overseen by an independent adjudicator.
The team sampled 113 different entries, looking for a winning product in each category, as well as up to two highly commended products for products that didn’t win the top spot but which we felt deserved recognition. We looked, first and foremost, for the best flavour but other factors were considered such as how well burgers and kebabs (particularly vegetarian ones) held together on the barbecue and texture came into play too, especially in categories involving bread and pastry.
This review was last updated in May 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.