The Perfect (Unexpected) Summer Grill Feast

    There’s no place like the backyard when it comes to summer get-togethers.

    By Liza Long

    In Boise, summer evenings are long and lazy. As the setting sun casts its golden light on the foothills, the children come home from an afternoon at the pool to a backyard meal with family and friends. When we think of a backyard summer barbecue, our minds turn to traditional burgers and dogs grilled to perfection on the backyard Weber. But a backyard summer barbecue can provide opportunities to expand our culinary horizons. We’ve collected some nontraditional recipes from Treasure Valley residents who love to grill all summer long.

    Leftover Shish-kabob

    Have leftovers? Try this quick, easy, and inexpensive recipe from Darin and Angela Lindig (Angela is the Director of Idaho Parents Unlimited).

    We make a grilled nontraditional shish-kabob without the shish or the kabob, or whatever the stick part is, out of leftovers. All of the meat is pre-cooked. It all goes into a grilling basket and consists of leftover steak, shrimp, bell peppers, spicy sausage (Reser’s links), pineapple, sweet onion, and pre-baked potatoes and carrots. The pineapple goes in at the very end. While it’s grilling, Darin adds about 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce a couple of times. He also adds a little bit of Worcestershire sauce (about ¼ cup). He sometimes adds red pepper flakes and basil depending on who we’re serving it to. Grill it until the peppers are becoming soft. It’s awesome!

    Grilled Pizza

    Did you know you could make a delicious pizza right on your grill? Karla Morton, a fifth grade teacher at Andrus Elementary School, shares this nontraditional recipe.

    Use your favorite pizza dough recipe to make individual pizzas. Heat the grill to 450 degrees. Make sure one side of the grill is off, then place the shaped dough on the grill, but not over the direct heat. Leave on for five minutes or so, then remove. On the grilled side, add the sauce, cheese, and desired toppings. Place back on the grill –not over direct heat—and grill until cheese melts. Everyone can enjoy his or her favorite personal pizza, and the kitchen stays cool!

    World Peace Ribs

    Want to create world peace among barbecue attendees who have different opinions about politics, religion, or Kansas City vs. North Carolina barbecue? Try this rib recipe from award winning author, speaker, and publisher Elaine Ambrose.

    Place a few racks of pork baby back ribs on a rack over a broiler pan.

    Create a rub of grated lemon rind, grated fresh ginger, and lots of pressed fresh garlic. Pat the paste on the ribs. (Save the lemons for iced tea or water.)

    Pour boiling water into the bottom of the pan and cover with a tent of tin foil. Bake for an hour at 350 degrees. Open a bottle of wine and test for flavor. Test again.

    For the sauce, my husband starts with a bottle of hickory-smoked BBQ sauce and one flat beer in a sauce pan. (To make beer flat, leave a bottle open for several hours or heat it 20 seconds in the microwave.) Add two cubes of butter (yes, he is a true Southerner), and some Montreal Steak Seasoning and some garlic salt. Simmer for about 40 minutes. (This sauce would make horse manure tasty.) While it simmers, share some beer and/or wine with your spouse. Then throw the steamed ribs on the BBQ, slather with plenty of sauce, and wait about 10 minutes for the magic to happen. Share more beer and wine with guests.

    Serve with salads, fruit, veggies, rolls and more butter, and lots of paper towels. These ribs pair nicely with cold Miller Lite Beer and several bottles of bold Cabernet. End the meal with some pie and brownies. Then sit around, rub your full bellies, and offer toasts to world peace.

    Watermelon Coolers

    You’ll need something to drink with all these tasty nontraditional grilled feasts. I make these tasty watermelon coolers, both kid and adult friendly versions, and serve them in thrift-store purchased mason jars, for a drink that can double as dessert.

    • Cut watermelon into chunks and puree in a food processor. Chill in refrigerator.
    • Put several ice cubes in a mason jar. For adult beverages, add a shot of vodka or tequila (if you like to buy local like I do, try 44 North or Koenig vodka).
    • Mix club soda or diet lemon-lime soda with watermelon puree in equal parts in the mason jar.
    • Garnish with a wedge of watermelon and fresh mint.

    Making your backyard barbecue memorable can be simple and inexpensive. For decorations, hang white LED lights in trees. Put canned soda and water bottles in a whiskey barrel half or a planter box. Use mason jars or inexpensive fish bowls for creative floral designs. For activities, buy an old ornate frame at a thrift store and let guests take pictures of themselves using the frame. Set up a badminton net or a croquet game on the lawn. Buy sidewalk chalk and let the kids decorate the driveway.

    Summer barbecues are a delightful way to reconnect with family and friends. As lazy summer afternoons stretch into evenings, memories are created that will last a lifetime.

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