Memorial Day 2013: Ready, Set, Grill! A Look at What’s Trending this Summer May 22 2013, 0 Comments

 

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A little information followed by a couple delicious recipes perfect for this weekend.

May is National Barbeque Month and with the recent warm weather, grills are being used for the first time this season.  According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association, 82% of households in the U.S. have grills.

 What do we use?

Gas grills are the most popular and then charcoal grills. Charcoal grills are popularly fueled by charcoal briquettes with lighter fluid the starting method used by most followed by the charcoal chimney method. Grills can be inexpensive with the purchase of a tabletop model or can be a luxury item at $5,000 or more.

When do we grill?

The most popular times for grilling start with Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day but the summer time is when most grilling is done although there are a percentage of the population that grill year round about 1-2 times a week.

Why do we grill?

                Affordability

                Convenience

                Delicious taste

                Fun way to spend time at home

Delicious taste trends for 2013 include Korean, Japanese, Brazilian, and good American Southern flavors. Using the smoker to give unique flavor to fruits and vegetables then using them in salads and drinks are another trend. Grilled desserts like pineapple, bananas, smore’s packs, even pie are slated for popularity this summer. Unusual pickles served alongside grilled meats is another trend worth watching…and tasting! Lastly, sweet tea that southern staple is being utilized as a brine, marinade, even in rubs on ribs, steaks, pork butts, you name it.

Where do we grill?

Besides grilling at home, we grill while on vacation, at parks, campsites, and while tailgating at sporting events like NASCAR.

While many of us associate it as a quintessential American pastime, grilling and barbequing have international roots. To understand more fully what we are discussing let’s take a minute to define grilling, barbequing and smoking:

Grilling: High and Dry; cooking vegetables, fruit, or meat over dry high heat.

Barbequing: Low and Slow; cooking meat for a long period of time over low heat traditionally in a pit.

Smoking: Smoky, Low and Slow; cooking meat in an enclosed environment for a long period over low heat with smoke providing a unique taste quality.

Grilling is popular in Asian cultures where Korea has bulgogi is thinly sliced marinated beef that is grilled and served with banchan, a series of small dishes filled with a variety of pickled vegetables. In Japan the popular skewered and grilled chicken, yakitori, is served with scallions and rice while kushisashi, is the beef version. Satay originated in Indonesia but is very popular in Thailand. Satay is skewered chicken served with a peanut-based savory dipping sauce.

When the Spaniards landed in the Caribbean they picked up on the locals cooking style of slow roasting meat in pits. The Spanish word, barbacoa, evolved into the term barbeque. The Spanish then brought the technique to South America where Brazil and Argentina have rich barbequing histories.

Back to the United States, migration brought the cooking method to the American South where both poor black and white cooks were able to slow cook inexpensive cuts of meat in a pit rendering it smoky and delicious. Sitting around tending the pit became a social event and large groups of people could be fed economically. Different regions of the south developed their own sauces, dips, and marinades but the common denominator among everyone is that the meat must be pork. For this reason, Kentucky and Texas are left out of the Southern Barbeque definition because Texans swear by beef and Kentucky’s sheep farmers developed the unique mutton barbeque in the western part of the state.

Whatever your preference, one thing can be agreed upon. Where there’s smoke, meat, and a table, people will gather to share stories, laughs and a delicious meal. The tradition of cooking outside is alive and well not only in the South but all over our nation. 

 

Kentucky Black Sauce/Dip

This obscure sauce traditionally served alongside barbequed mutton is finally getting noticed by publications such as Garden & Gun magazine even Men’s Health magazine as well as, a number of popular blogs. Usually made in large quantities, this has been scaled down to a more family-friendly portion. It is thin and tart making it perfect for any fatty rich meat.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup Worcestershire sauce

½ cup lemon juice

¼ cup white vinegar

½ - 1/3 cup light brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ tsp cloves, optional

¼ tsp nutmeg, optional

½ tsp onion powder/juice, optional

½ tsp minced garlic, optional

2 TB freshly grated horseradish, optional

 

Preparation:

Mix the base ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the optional ingredients that you want to try using all or some. Heat to a simmer to allow flavors to develop. Take off heat, cool then refrigerate in a canning jar or other tightly covered container. Keeps indefinitely.

 

NOTE:  The first 4 ingredients plus salt and pepper are the base ingredients that define black sauce. After that, add the spices that appeal to you.

Just in case you were wondering, mutton is a sheep that is a year old or older. Female sheep are desired for barbeque because of their higher fat content. Lamb is sheep under a year old.


 

Mashed Potato Salad

Serves: 8-10

 

Ingredients:

1# russet potatoes, peeled, cubed

1# Yukon or red potatoes, peeled, cubed

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

¾ cup mayonnaise

¾ cup sour cream

½ cup chopped pickles, sour or sweet

¼ cup pickle juice, more or less to taste

2 TB hot sauce, optional

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preparation:

Boil potatoes in separate large pots until fork tender. Drain and mix together in a large bowl along with salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously to break down russet potatoes. The waxy potatoes will remain in large chunks.

Add mayonnaise, sour cream, pickles, and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Add more mayo or sour cream according to taste. The consistency should be light and fluffy not soupy or heavy. Readjust salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

NOTE: Traditionally, an ice cream scoop is used in East Texas to portion out servings. This potato salad would be gilded if you added several crumbled slices of bacon.

Several viewers emailed that their moms and grandmas used leftover mashed potatoes as the base.