Saturday, August 27, 2016

Spicing Up Your Barbecue

It's almost the end of August and barbecues by now are becoming old hat. Let's face it,  do we really want to stuff down another charred burger or dog,?Or another mayo soaked salad, followed by either lukewarm beer or soda? Let's liven up the outdoor cooking by tossing in some variety and spice. Let's make our outdoor cooking  fun again.

Hamburgers are always part of the barbecue lineup.By now, even the most ardent burger lover is probably sick of them. It's time then, to give the recipe some zing and zest. First get chopped beef, and add a good teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the mix. You could also add some  finely chopped onion and bell peppers to create a colorful chili burger.Serve with a dash of hot sauce for even more fire. Another way to go is adding beer to the chopped meat to create a unique and juicy spin. It's just adding a quarter of a cup of any brew along with garlic, Worcester sauce along with ground onion. Even better add a couple of tablespoons of bourbon (yes bourbon!) along with cumin and dried oregano to ground chuck meat. Hot dogs are another grill staple that needs some remodeling. Try spiralizing them.It's actually an easy method. First skewer hot dogs lengthwise. then slice  into the dog as you roll it away from you,Continue doing this until you reach the end of the hot dog. Now carefully (otherwise the dog will break) slide the skewer out and place the stretched out hot dog over the grill. The end result is a crispy fun treat that will go good with mustard or barbecue sauce.

Those traditional salads can also be spruced up too. Instead of the usual coleslaw, try one made from shredded cabbage mixed with salad dressing.I've had it with French dressing and it's delicious, light years away from the traditional  mayo soaked kind. You can also use buttermilk ranch or blue cheese too or just a plain vinaigrette. Macaroni salad can also be made the same way with subbing in favorite dressings for mayonnaise. You could also make a Mediterranean style, adding in grape tomatoes, kalamata olives and oregano. Toss in feta chunks to make it more substantial.Think outside the traditional garden too. Make an easy artichoke salad by using jarred artichoke hearts and sliced plum tomatoes. Try a homemade fresh version of giardeneria using diced carrots and onions, both serrano and bell peppers along with cauliflower florets and chopped celery. Toss with a rosemary and oregano infused vinaigrette. What to wash all this down with? Spiked lemonade. Make or buy it and add a good, boozy shot of vodka. Kids can have their own version by adding seltzer or mineral water. You can also do this with orangeade and limeade too.

Barbecues don;t have to be a blah end of season affair. Liven up and spike up traditional recipes for a fun spin on a summer tradition.It's adding more fuel to the barbecue fire!

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