Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Try Something Different With Your BBQ This Summer

By Stephen Daniels

The backyard BBQ is one of America's great summertime traditions. What better way to share a late summer afternoon than hanging out with family and friends, keeping an eye on the sizzling burgers, and sipping an ice-cold beverage? While traditional fare like burgers, chicken breast and shish kabobs are summertime classics, you can spice it up with creative menu options, innovative grills, and cool BBQ accessories. This summer, skip the hot dogs and try something different in your backyard kitchen.

Grills and grilling accessories have come a long way. Today, approximately 82% of homes have an outdoor grill. Some might include up to 12 gas burners, a fancy rotisserie, or even lights for late night cooking. A cookout means a lot more than just throwing a burger on the flame. There are lots of menu options for feeding your crew. If you haven't noticed, prime cuts of beef are getting more and more affordable. Keep a look out for summertime grocery store promotions of choice cuts like rib eye and beef loin. A great steak is a sure way to impress any guest at your cookout.

Don't forget about friends and family who have given up eating red meat, or any meat, for that matter. The BBQ is a great place to try some new recipes for your veggies and fruits too; pineapple, peaches and even strawberries can be grilled and added to your favorite burgers or salads. Homemade chickpea or quinoa veggie patties can surprise meat eaters and vegetarians alike in your family.

For those feeling a little more adventurous, a new school of thought called the "Head to Tail" movement, prides itself on making tasty meals out of the most unusual cuts of meat. If tongue, heart and liver can be found at some of the most expensive gourmet restaurants in town, why not cook some up at your gathering? You can also consider buffalo, lamb, goat or even yak meat, which are all becoming hugely popular. New grilling accessories like a BBQ rotisserie and/or a smoker give backyard chefs many more options when preparing their food.

If liver won't be on your menu, you can't go wrong with a good burger, and there are lots of ways to make the mainstay of American cookouts even more delicious. How about mixing in bacon, veal or ground pork in with the beef? The variety of meats expands the depth of flavors in the burger. Or, just add some garlic, Worcestershire, onions and peppers. The burger will be sure to draw compliments on your culinary skills, and have your friends wishing that you had get-togethers every weekend.

As your grill master skills become well known, you're going to need some of the new BBQ accessories that make feeding a party a little easier. Check out high-end brushes, splatter mats, and spatulas found on the market. New 4 in 1 hand tools have everything from a sharp hook, serrated edge, rounded spatula and bottle opener all in one convenient utensil. Enjoy the summer before it's gone -- and keep on grilling.

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