Top Tips And Recipes For Hosting A Spanish Barbeque This Summer

Cooking food outside on an open flame or barbeque is a summer time institution in many countries. Britons and Americans famously love to barbeque! But hosting a barbeque is also a popular summertime pastime in Spain too.

In Spain a barbeque is most commonly known as a parrillada. In fact, there’s nothing Spanish chefs won’t throw on a barbeque grill when the sun is shining – which is most of the time!

Here’s what you need to know about barbequing in Spain:

The Many Spanish Words For Barbeque

The most commonly used Spanish word for barbeque is, as we mentioned above, parrillada. This term is used in most Spanish-speaking countries. Barbeques may also be referred to as barbacoa, parrilla or asada.

If someone mentions any of these words then you’re being invited to enjoy some freshly grilled goodies! I use the word goodies rather than meat because although meat features in a Spanish barbeque, you’re just as likely to be offered fish, vegetables, and shellfish from the grill too.

Is It Legal To Barbeque In Spain?

First things first, if you’re planning a barbeque in Spain then you need to know where and when it’s legal to light your grill. In most cases there are no laws prohibiting lighting a barbeque on private property.

As nice as the idea of a beach barbeque is, open flames on the beach are banned. Barbequing on the balcony of a shared apartment building is frowned upon and you may also need to seek approval from your resident's association if you want to barbeque in a communal area.

Outdoor barbeques and lighting fires is prohibited in much of Spain’s public spaces. This is to prevent forest fires which are a real risk in the hot, dry country.

Basically, if you don’t have your own property with an outdoor space that is a good size for lighting a barbeque then consider going out to a grill restaurant instead!

What To Cook On A Spanish Barbeque

With that being said, if you want to host a Spanish barbeque then you may be wondering what you should serve.

Barbeque in Spain isn’t just a hot dogs and burgers affair. Like any well-presented Spanish meal you will be expected to offer a Tapas, First Course, Main Course and Dessert. In Spanish this would be referred to as Tapas, Primer Plato, Plato Principal, and Postre.

So that you can socialise with your guests and enjoy some time in the sunshine when you aren’t behind the grill, try to make things as simple as possible by offering cold tapas or dessert, for example. But really you have the freedom to carve the menu that best suits your needs. There are no set rules when you’re barbequing in Spain.

Looking for some inspiration for what to put on your summer Spanish grill? Here is some recipe inspiration:


Spanish Melon With Serrano Ham – This delicious dish is as simple as it sounds. Take a ripe honeydew melon, deseed it, and then cut it into chunky cubes. Add a slice of thin serrano ham on top, and then hold together with a tooth pick.

roasted red peppers and garlic

Roasted Red Peppers In Oil, Vinegar, And Garlic - Take 3 whole roasted red peppers. You can usually buy these pre-roasted, alternatively you may want to roast them yourself. Mince a whole clove of garlic, place in a bowl, and pour in a few tablespoons each of vinegar and oil. Stir. Pour this mixture over the roasted peppers, and then serve with fresh bread.

Grilled Shrimp Tapas - This dish can be cooked in just 7 minutes. Place a pound of shrimp on a grill with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and squeeze lemon juice liberally on the shrimp. You’ll know they’re cooked when the shellfish turn pink and shells should “brown” slightly when cooked.

Looking for more inspiration? Here are 5 Spanish tapas dishes that will blow your mind.

This delicious gazpacho soup will serve as a tapas in small shot glasses, or could be used as a starter in a bigger bowl. Find the recipe here.

Spanish omelette tortilla is another great dish that can be prepared in advance and could serve as tapas or starter. Find our recipe here.


The Barbeque is the place for hearty, filling and rich dishes. These are often meat or meaty fish dishes, with vegetable dishes served alongside. Here are some of our favourite recipes:

barbecued spanish ribs

Spanish Barbequed Ribs


  • 1 rack baby back pork ribs
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Cooking Method:

  • Rinse then pat dry the ribs. Place in a baking dish and rub in garlic onto both sides of the meat.
  • Mix all of the other dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub this mixture into the meat.
  • Sprinkle the ribs with vinegar then chill in the fridge until you’re ready to grill.
  • Grill for around 30 minutes on each side, and then serve.

Grilled Beef Kabob

Grilled Beef Kabob


  • 2 to 3 pounds steak (sirloin works best but cheaper cuts will work too)
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup smoky mild chilli pepper paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Cooking Method:

  • Cut the beef into chunky cubes and place into a large bowl.
  • Take a second bowl and crush the garlic cloves. Add 1/4 cup of the vinegar, 1/4 cup chilli pepper paste, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper to the garlic and stir.
  • Smother the beef chunks in this marinade and chill for a couple of hours
  • Place the beef chunks on stewers and then they are ready to grill on your barbeque. They will need to be cooked for around 5 minutes on each side. 

 To serve alongside your barbeque dishes you may want to consider some side dishes. We suggest at least one of the following:

Classi Patatas Bravas. You can find the recipe here.

russian salad

Delicious Russian salad. You can find the recipe here.

A simple green leafy salad.

A plate full of fruit. Watermelon is especially popular and refreshing during the summer months.


Delicious Spanish dessert options are near-endless, from classic churros to fruity flan. Consider choosing something light and something that can be prepared in advance to make your life as easy as possible.

You can find our churros and chocolate sauce recipe here.

You can find 5 favourite Spanish desserts here.

spanish flan

For something that will work well with a barbeque dinner, try this:

Spanish Flan With Caramel Sauce


  •  3/4 cup sugar
    • 2 cups whipping cream
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup almonds
    • 1 sprig mint, for garnish

Cooking Method:

  • Place ramekins in a baking dish and then fill the baking dish (but not the ramekins) with boiling water.
  • Add the sugar to a hot saucepan and keep cooking and moving the sugar until it becomes caramelised. This will be sticky, rich, and brown in colour.
  • Spoon the caramelised sugar into the bottom of each ramekin.
  • Add the cream to a new saucepan and heat, then add 3 slightly beaten eggs to the cream. Add the remaining sugar and vanilla extract then stir until thoroughly mixed.
  • Ladle the mixture into the ramekins then bake in an oven preheated to 325 inside the water bath in the baking dish. Bake for between 50-60 minutes until cooked.
  • Serve when cooled.

 Are you thinking of living in Spain? Perhaps you like the idea of submerging yourself into the traditional Spanish lifestyle and cooking Spanish recipes every day? Whatever your dream, we can help. Why not get in touch with our team of local property experts today, to find out more about how we can help you.