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5 Effortless Barbecue Meals to Cook in 15 Minutes

Photo by Nicholas Peloso on Unsplash

Easy barbecue meals for backpackers.

Summer in New Zealand often means cooking on the barbecue. Campsites, most hostels, holiday parks… They all have them! So why not give these effortless barbecue meals to cook in 15 minutes a try?!

These barbecue meal recipes are so easy that any barbecue newbie can give them a go. We have also chosen them knowing that a lot of us backpackers don’t have a million ingredients on hand. These recipes only use about four or five core ingredients, which can definitely be added to if you can get your hands on them.

For more budget meal inspiration, check out 10 Easy Meals to Cook in a Hostel in 10 Minutes and 5 Meals Under $5 to Cook in a Hostel.

5 tips for grilling on a Kiwi barbecue

Before you get started, here are a few tips on using Kiwi barbecues:

  • Almost all the barbecues you will find in New Zealand budget accommodation are gas. Just turn the nozzle on top of the gas canister in the direction of the arrows to open up the gas, then you are likely to need a match or lighter to ignite the flames of the barbecue.
  • Stay with your barbecue when you are grilling! Things can cook up pretty fast on a barbecue so stick with it to avoid burning.
  • After grilling meat, let it rest for a couple of minutes to allow the juices to run and make it more tender.
  • To work out the heat of your barbecue, hold your hand about 5 inches above the flames and see how long you can hold it there before it burns. 6 seconds is a low heat, 4 seconds is a medium heat and 2 seconds is high. You will want your barbecue on a safe medium heat for these recipes.
  • Leave space on your barbecue grill to move things around, especially for when “flare-ups” happen and the fire engulfs your food! You can then move your food out of the way and let the fire die down.
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Easy Barbecue Fajitas

Mexican food seems to work so well on a barbecue so you’ll notice that our first two effortless barbecue meals are Mexican-inspired. They grill up quick, they’re super tasty and it tricks your fellow campers into thinking you know what you’re doing.


500g skirt steak (marinated if you have spices like cayenne pepper/oregano/garlic, for instance)

1 bag of tortillas

2 sliced capsicum

1 sliced onion

1 tsp cooking oil

Preparation Instructions

1. In a frying pan on the barbecue, add the oil then fry onions until soft

2. Add steak and fry until brown

3. Add capsicum and fry for your preference (some like them crunchy, some like them soft)

4. Load the fried food into a tortilla and roll up


Barbecue Fish Tacos

Not many ingredients are needed for this one, which is perfect for a camping meal! What’s more, fish tend to cook up super quickly on an barbecue. With a healthy seafood culture in New Zealand, you’re bound to find a good deal on fish at a local fish market or a friendly Kiwi is bound to give you one of their catch. Find out more about what fish is considered sustainable to eat in The Best (and Worst) Seafood to Eat When in New Zealand.


1 bag of shredded cabbage or lettuce

1 bag or tortillas

500g fish

Topped with a salsa or tartar sauce

Preparation Instructions

1. Simply grill the fish on the barbecue. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side and check that your fish has changed colour all the way through.

2. Load the tortillas with the shredded cabbage, fish and top with salsa/tartar sauce.


Barbecue Chicken

One of the more affordable meats in New Zealand, chicken pieces make a food barbecue meal as they grill up nicely! If you are cooking this meal in a campsite with limited preparation and washing facilities, we recommend cutting up the chicken before you go to avoid the messy times you’ll have at the campsite. This recipe is so easy that, well it barely needs a recipe. Nevertheless, we’ll give it to you anyway!


1 bag of chicken (can be drumsticks, wings, breasts – and pick enough for the amount of people you’ll be serving)

1 bottle of barbecue sauce

Preparation Instructions

1. Brush barbecue sauce onto your chicken

2. Grill until the chicken is white all the way through


Real Barbecue pizza

Yep, it’s true! You can make pizza on a barbecue! This is a perfect one to share with your fellow campers or hostel-dwellers, as you can change the toppings to suit anyone. (We know, being a vegetarian at a barbecue is tough). Plus, it’s ideal for potluck dinners in your hostel. (For more potluck dinner ideas, check out 5 Potluck Dinner Recipes for Backpackers).


1 pack of pizza bases

1 can of tomatoes

150g of sour cream

200g grated cheese

Your favourite pizza toppings: Sliced veggies/sliced pepperoni, for example.

Preparation Instructions

1. On a skewer, grill your toppings

2. Drain the can of tomatoes of any liquid and mix with sour cream (add herbs for added flavour)

3. Spread the tomato and sour cream sauce on the pizza bases

4. Top with cheese and your now-grilled toppings

5. Place pizzas on the barbecue until cheese has melted


Hamburgers and Hot Dogs

Finally, we’ll get to the most classic barbecue meal of them all: hamburger and hot dogs. This is the most common food you’ll find at any Kiwi barbecue. To make your hot dogs extra Kiwi, simply roll the sausage into a slice of bread and top with tomato sauce. (Seriously, that’s what they do here). For more classic Kiwi dishes, check out 5 Traditional New Zealand Recipes.


1 pack of burger patties

1 pack of sausages

1 pack of bread rolls

1 loaf of sliced bread

1 bottle of tomato sauce

Preparation Instructions

1. Grill the hamburgers and sausages, turning them once one side is browned

2. Lightly grill the bread rolls

3. Put the grilled burger patties in the bread rolls and the grilled sausages in a slice of bread

4. Top with tomato sauce


More camping and cooking advice

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