For many of us, grilling is a routine mealtime activity, while for the most devoted grillers, summer is ruled by massive barbecue parties. But you don’t have to choose between boring repetition and crazy get-togethers: every barbecue can and should be an exciting family event.
Here are 5 ways to make your routine evening barbecue a more unique experience:
1) Who said you have to stick to meat? There’s tons of great stuff to be done with veggies, breads, and fruits over an open flame. To make t a fun “grilled pizza” activity with your kids, use cookie cutters to make the bread and fruit into shapes. You can decide on themes like “animals” and “letters” or ask that each shape be different from the others! Then, let your kids decide which toppings they would like to put on. Add cheese, onion and various spices to bread and cinnamon and honey to fruit.
Grill to perfection and serve WITH the meat!
2) Try foil-wrapped surprise meals. Place different combinations of chicken, fish and vegetables with sauces and spices in foil packets. These cook in less than 20 minutes and lead to no-mess, lip-smacking results. Kids will love the surprise element and can easily switch packets. You can even ask your family for combo suggestions before the barbecue, or draw ingredient names out of a hat to create new meal ideas.
3) A little variety goes a long way. If you tend to stick to the same old burgers and tube-steaks, why not try grilled pizza or salmon steaks? Similarly, try to mix it up with condiments and seasoning. Sick of ketchup? Try salsa or Thai fish sauce instead. Look online where you’ll find hundreds of easy recipes for barbecue rubs. These give your food that extra pizzazz and prevent the mess and drip that comes with barbecue sauces.
4) Barbecues don’t have to be rushed. In fact, many will tell you that today’s quick broiling is an insult to the term, which should represent a process of slow cooking on low heat. You can find many low-and slow recipes online (as well as in our cookbook, MEAT FIRE GOOD), and the wait is a great opportunity to pass some quality time with your family and friends.
5) Mom said not to play with your food, but there’s always an exception! Barbecue games are great fun and tasty at the same time. In the game EAT IT!, each player gets a certain amount of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese or any other side dish. Various kitchen utensils (spatulas, whisks, etc) are put in a box and the players blindly pick a few. On the go, they begin to eat their dish with the items that they took out. The first to finish his or her food wins the prize!
Finally…you’re not Bobby Flay, and no one’s tracking your Nielson Ratings…chill out! Far too many people get lost in the details of planning the perfect barbecue party and forget to enjoy the social atmosphere and delicious food.
So…what do YOU do to make a family BBQ fun? Any special treats, games or traditions that you can share?
Whatever you do, don’t forget to kick back, bask in the sun and just enjoy an unforgettable barbecue!