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Your grill is clean, the coals are hot, the sun is setting and your guests are hungry. It's barbecue season and you are almost ready. Remember when having a barbecue meant serving hotdogs, hamburgers and maybe some corn on the cob and potato salad? This summer, add a few simple adjustments to your menu and your barbecue can become a seasonal event that offers international flair or gourmet flavor. Try some of these barbecue menu ideas and surprise your summer dinner guests.
Shish kebabs can be a little time consuming to put together but they are a colorful, festive menu item that automatically make the meal special. You can use any sort of meat you like to create a shish kebab. Use chunks of chicken, lamb or beef and alternate with pieces of onion and pepper on a shish kebab skewer. You can even use a meaty fish, such as salmon steak, and cut it into chunks, or make your shish kebabs vegetable only. Use portabella mushrooms, peppers and onions for a filling and delicious vegetarian combination.
Choose flank or skirt steak if you are in the mood for quick grilled fajitas. Marinate the meat for two hours in the juice of one lime, a tablespoon of olive oil, two cloves of garlic and salt. If you like the flavor of cilantro add 1/3 cup or so. Bring the meat to room temperature before grilling. Grilled onions and peppers add layers of flavor to the fajita and are easy to prepare. You need to simply slice the vegetables and throw them on the grill until they are slightly charred and softened. Wrap the meat and vegetables in warm tortillas and add guacamole or salsa to taste.
New Burgers and Dogs
If you love the tradition of serving hotdogs and hamburgers, try a twist on this combination. You can select gourmet sausages in a variety of flavors in place of plain hot dogs. Choose a savory, spicy sausage and a mellow or sweet one and let your guests decide which is their favorite. For untraditional burgers, add pizzazz to ground beef or turkey meat by injecting some interesting flavors into the mix. Try creating a "stuffed" burger by placing strong flavored Gouda or Parmesan cheese in the middle of the patty. You can also chop onion, Kalamata olives and feta cheese and mix it into the meat to guarantee flavor in every bite. Personalize the meal by creating a homemade spicy mayonnaise or other spread for guests to add to their burger buns.
Don't forget that you can barbecue dessert as easily as you can grill your main course. Toasting a marshmallow over the flame is always fun, especially if you have young guests. Try a s'more that is tailored to grown-up tastes by using dark chocolate and a sweet tea biscuit instead of the traditional milk chocolate and graham cracker. Another way to take advantage of your hot grill is to toss some fruit on the heat. Slice stone fruits such as peaches and plums and grill them over medium heat for about three to five minutes a side. Serve them alone or over vanilla bean ice cream. Grilling the fruit caramelizes sugars and brings out their summer sweetness.
What's cooking on your barbecue this summer?