Stay out of the kitchen and outside with your guests at your next backyard barbecue. With a little creativity, everything can be cooked on the grill — except the salads. Use complementary flavors, stagger your courses and watch your coals, and your next backyard barbecue is sure to be a resounding success.
Burgers are a must-have at any backyard barbecue, although modern versions offer more than ground beef on a bun. Get creative with a variety of toppings, like avocado and chipotle mayonnaise, cheddar, barbecue sauce and fried onions, or feta cheese and freshly chopped dill.
When it comes to ribs at a backyard barbecue, it is all about the sauce. Slather a juicy rack of country-style or baby-back ribs with a mustard-based sauce from South Carolina, a vinegar-based sauce from North Carolina or tomato-based sauce Texas style.
Whether you choose thighs, drumsticks or breasts, use bone-in poultry when grilling. The bone adds more flavor to the meat and the thickness of the cut helps to keep the chicken from drying out. Grilling a whole chicken on a beer can or a half-chicken under a brick is fun to watch and flavorful to eat.
Low and slow grilling is the key when it comes to brisket. Keep the brisket dry when cooking and use only salt and pepper or your favorite dry rub. Add your favorite wood chips to the coals to give the brisket a smokey flavor.
Serve slow-cooked pulled pork on a fresh bun topped with crispy dill pickle slices and your favorite cole slaw. Have plenty of napkins available as these sandwiches are sure to be messy.
Wrap a slice of bacon around your corn and seal in tin foil before tossing on the grill, because bacon makes everything taste even better. For a healthy alternative, grill the corn in its husk after soaking in cold water.
Don’t relegate your guests to potato chips at your next backyard barbecue. Season some cut-up russet potatoes with salt, pepper and fresh herbs and seal in tin foil packets before grilling. A few slices of onion and bell pepper will add a fresh taste.
Although the steak purists may want theirs seasoned only with salt and pepper, the rest of your guests might appreciate your creativity. Top your grilled steaks with butter flavored with fresh herbs, tomato chutney or sauteed mushrooms.
Seafood can be tricky to cook on the grill unless you choose fattier fish like salmon or swordfish. Marinate them in a mixture of honey, freshly grated ginger and fresh-squeezed lime juice and grill for just a few minutes on each side before serving with a fresh lime wedge.
Let the kids make s’mores while you present a more sophisticated dessert at your barbecue. Grill fresh slices of pineapple marinated in brown sugar and rum, and then top them with coconut gelato for a dessert sure impress your guests.