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Dublin: 23°C Wednesday 10 August 2022

Some barbecue recipes from Ballymaloe for summer reunions

Maxine Hyde’s grandmother, Myrtle Allen founded Ballymaloe in the 1960s. Maxine now runs Ballymaloe Foods and is sharing some summer recipes.

Maxine Hyde

FOOD HAS BEEN in my family for many, many years. My mother, Yasmin Hyde, is the daughter of Myrtle Allen. Myrtle established a country house hotel and restaurant at Ballymaloe in the 1960s and it was here she developed her now famous Original Relish recipe, which our company is based on.

The relish was made at the end of every summer in Ballymaloe when tomatoes were ripe, and the summer tomatoes could be enjoyed throughout the rest of the year.

After my mum got married, she considered starting her own business that could be based on the wealth of recipes that were available in Ballymaloe House. She didn’t have traditional business experience but she learned a lot from her family.

A food-loving family

In 1990, my mum decided to start Ballymaloe Foods from her kitchen and for five years operated out of a portable building at our home. The success of the product was settled for her during tastings. She needed support to expand production to a workable level, and to that end, she was the first person to apply to the South Cork Enterprise Board for support.

dr-myrtle-allen Myrtle Allen, the grandmother of Maxine, opened Ballymaloe in the 1960s. Source: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland!

From there, the banks got involved and Ballymaloe Foods moved from a Portakabin in her front garden to a new facility in Little Island. As the company grew, so did the production facilities. As she says, nothing happened overnight but they worked hard and gradually grew the business over the years.

Family has always been a key driver for us. My mum says that the next generation has brought technical skills to the business that have helped move the company to the next level.

kitchen-garden-ballymaloe-midleton-co-cork-ireland File photo: the gardens at Ballymaloe House. Source: The Irish Image Collection

The consistency across the generations is the standard of the product, which has remained the same from the first batch in Ballymaloe under my grandmother, Myrtle Allen.

Running a business

Today I am the General Manager of Ballymaloe Foods. I remember the day my mum told me she wanted to start a business. At four years old, I was told I was the first person to taste this new product, and I loved it. My initial role in the company was limited, mostly involving sellotaping the boxes and working alongside mum at events such as the Cork Summer Show. 

It is a family business – from the owners to the people who have served the company for generations, to the families who enjoy the product. Staff are working with the company today who started out in the very early days.

Ballymaloe Group Social (4 of 5) Ballymaloe relish staff. Source: Fiona Casey

Like all businesses, the last few months are not without their challenges. For us, it has been a tale of two markets really. We supply to supermarkets and that business has been doing very well but we also supply to hotels, cafes and restaurants, which have been closed. 

Retail sales are up more than 30% and we have seen a particular jump in sales of pasta sauces. Relish sales are going well and another big seller for us is Ballymaloe Irish Beetroot, with its Cork-grown beets.

Our summer recipes

We have compiled four of our easiest and most favourite BBQ recipes. Hope the weather stays fine this year, so you can enjoy:

steak-sandwich-with-ballymaloe-relishphoto-joleen-cronin Steak sandwich. Source: Ballymaloe

Steak Sandwich

Chicken Drumsticks with a twist

Chicken and Chorizo Bun

Baked Potato with grated cheese and relish

Steak Sandwich

250g/ 8oz Strip Loin Steak

A little A Little Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

1/2 Red Onion

2 Handfuls of Salad Leaves (rocket, spinach, chard, lambs leaf…)

Wholegrain mustard

2 whole-wheat rolls or your favourite sandwich bread (sourdough, ciabatta, country white, baguette…)

Ballymaloe Steak Sauce


Marinate the steak in advance with some olive oil, salt and pepper and refrigerate. When ready allow the steaks to come to room temperature before cooking.

Heat a griddle pan until nice and hot and then add the steaks. For medium-rare cook 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

For the final moments cooking try basting the steak with some Ballymaloe Steak Sauce and turning to caramelise the edges. When the steak is cooked, remove it from the pan and allow to stand for about 10 minutes. The secret to a juicy steak is to let it rest before eating.

Slice the onion into half-moons. Spread mustard on one side of the roll and add salad leaves and sliced onion. Slice steak and place pieces on top of onions, finish with Ballymaloe Steak Sauce and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Tip: After cooking rest your steaks! Rest your steaks onto an upturned plate placed on top of another plate and leave them for a few minutes in a warm place. The secret to a juicy steak is to let it rest.

chicken Source: Ballymaloe

Chicken Drumsticks with a twist


16 Chicken Drumsticks

4 tbsp Mayonnaise

4 tbsp Ballymaloe Pepper Relish


Mix our Ballymaloe Pepper Relish and mayonnaise to create your BBQ dip.

Cook the drumsticks on a hot BBQ for 25 minutes, turning regularly to ensure the chicken cooks evenly on all sides. To check that the chicken is cooked through, cut into the thickest piece and ensure juices run clear.

Serve with the dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes

Tip: Chicken can be cooked ahead in the oven and finished on BBQ if you prefer.

BBQ 3 Chicken and Chorizo Bap with Ballymaloe Original Relish Chicken and Chorizo Bun Source: Ballymaloe

Chicken and Chorizo Bun


2 Chicken Breasts

Salt & Pepper

A Little Olive Oil

225 g Chorizo Sausages

4 Handfuls of your favourite salad leaves and herbs (Rocket, spinach, lambs leaf, gem, chive, parley)

Ballymaloe Honey and Mustard Dressing

4 Soft white or wholemeal buns

Ballymaloe Original Relish (optional)


Heat the BBQ grill to medium-high. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and a little olive oil.

Place the chicken on grill (if using skin-on chicken, place skin side down on grill). Grill chicken, without turning for 6 to 10 minutes. Flip and grill for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through.

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Cook the chorizo sausages for 10-15 minutes depending on their thickness. It is nice to split the chorizo sausages lengthways and griddle each side for the final minute.

Toast the buns on the BBQ if you like. Toss the salad leaves in Ballymaloe Honey Mustard Dressing.

To assemble, on each bun, add the salad leaves, pieces of BBQ chorizo, slices of chicken and top with Ballymaloe Relish.

baked pot Backed potato Source: Ballymaloe

Baked Potato with grated cheese and relish

A large potato (Golden Wonder or Records are good)

Salt and pepper

A handful of grated cheddar

A sprinkle of finely sliced spring onions

Ballymaloe Relish

Some fresh green leaves

Ballymaloe French Dressing


A baked potato is easy peasy to do. So for those who can’t cook at all, this is a good one to start with. It’s this simple: turn on the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Scrub the potato, prick it with a knife and put it in the oven.

Wait for about an hour (this depends on the size of the spud) and when it’s soft in the centre it’s ready. With the point of a sharp knife cut a large cross, a few centimetres deep, on the top.

Open the potato on a plate, season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, add a knob of butter, sprinkle with a little cheddar cheese and spring onions, pop a spoon of Ballymaloe Relish on top.

Serve with a green salad drizzled with a little Ballymaloe French Dressing. That’s it! Once this is mastered and you’re looking for a greater challenge, add a few crisp lardons of bacon or some avocado.

In 1990, Yasmin Hyde began producing Ballymaloe Relish in her kitchen, using her mother, Myrtle Allen’s, recipe. Since then, the family-run business has grown and now produces a range of products in Little Island, County Cork. Maxine Hyde is General Manager of Ballymaloe Foods.

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Maxine Hyde

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