Come summer, I get particularly excited. It is barbecue time. I do a lot of it every year and I have gotten tips from the food network—show hosts like Bobby Flay who certainly knows his stuff. No store-bought sauce for him. He makes his own. I like that he tries different types. I also like to invent them so no one who is invited over gets the same run-of-the-mill taste. Sauce isn’t everything. You have to have the right charcoal or wood. It makes a difference in flavor.
Come summer, it’s time for guests. I have already laid out my favorite recipes and have gotten new ideas on grilling corn and even potatoes. You put them in aluminum foil after you have laid down a track of butter, salt, and pepper. You can cook almost anything in foil. Fish is one of the best things to grill and people just don’t know about it. It is always steak, steak, steak, and occasionally hot dogs and chicken. Try putting fish in the foil covered in salt, pepper, lemon, a touch of olive oil, and parsley. It is simply delicious and will be a surprise for most guests. If you don’t want to use foil, you can include most vegetables on their own on the grill such as yellow and red peppers, even large tomatoes sprinkled with cheese and oregano. Dessert is always s’mores because it gets requested 99 per cent of the time. People love coming over and I set a nice table. I prepare the patio, sweeping it off and watering it down. I clean the pool with my handy dandy above ground pool cleaner. I have a system of vacuuming, adding natural non-toxic chemicals, and skimming the pool surface for leaves.
An outdoor summer barbecue is not just setting up and preparing your grill. It is not just shopping for ingredients after you decide on the menu. It not just about timing the meat so it is ready shortly after the vegetables and side dishes. It is making the yard look inviting. Perhaps after dinner a few people will swim, especially if it is a hot day. Swimming in the evening is always relaxing and fun. The pool is big enough for quite a few people. I made sure of that when I bought and installed it. I also took advantage of some of the accessories like attachable trays so the adults could enjoy an after dinner glass of wine. If there are kids, they use them for snacks. A barbecue is a whole environment. You have to have comfortable patio chairs or at least a concrete or wood bench near your buffet table. Then, as I mentioned, you start playing around with ingredients for new sauces. Some people like brown sugar added for a touch of sweetness or they may substitute honey. Others like the sauce tart and concentrate on A1 sauce or a similar product. Tomato base sauces are great for chicken and cheese and chili for the hot dogs. Start planning. Summer is eventually coming.