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It’s a great British tradition to spark up the barbecue as soon as a sunny weekend appears. It’s also a great British tradition that weather forecasts cannot always be relied upon!

So here’s a Deep American South inspired barbecue recipe that doesn’t need hours of forward planning.

Barbecue food has its distinctive taste due to being smoked in its own fat and juices. The food has to sizzle so the fat drips on to the charcoal, and the resulting smoke is what gives the taste. So the core of a good barbecue is good tender meat with plenty of its own juices. A marinade isn’t essential with the right meat and the right spices.

The spice mixture is inspired by an old Louisiana recipe. You should find the sweet paprika and the celery seeds in the world foods or Polish aisle at the supermarket. The spice mix looks unusual but trust us, the combination of sweet, spicy and salty really brings out the flavour.


4 large chicken breasts (look out for ones without too much added water)

100 ml white wine vinegar

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

For the spice rub:

6 tbsp sweet paprika

2 tsp mustard powder

2 tsp crushed garlic

2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp ground cumin

4 tsp salt

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp celery seeds (optional)

To serve: a matching side salad such as this aubergine and feta dish, or this potato salad with a yogurt dressing.


  1. Light the barbecue and get it heating – you want to be cooking from the coals, not the flames.
  2. Mix the vinegar and wholegrain mustard in a small bowl with a little salt.
  3. Mix together all the spice rub ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside a few teaspoons for later.
  4. Rub the rest of the spice mix all over the chicken breasts, and leave them to rest for about 15 minutes.
  5. When the barbecue is ready, cook the chicken breasts for about 30 minutes, turning every so often.
  6. Before serving, put the vinegar mixture into a clean bowl and toss the cooked chicken breasts in it. Then sprinkle with the reserved spice mix.
the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.