What a wonderful way to start the summer off! BBQing.
We all can enjoy the warmer weather of St. Louis, even with our high humidity, when we get family and friends together for a bbq. It brings together all sorts of foods and people. If you enjoy sharing the cooking, make it a pot luck meal. You cook the meat and let your guests bring the side dishes, drinks, and desserts. Everyone can feel happy and well fed by the end of the day!
When planning you first bbq of the summer, remember to clean off the grill from any residue leftover from the last time you grilled. First empty out the bottom of your grill. You can add the ash to your garden. Make sure you scrap off any old grease that was left stuck on the grill from the last time you used it. Use boiling, hot water to do a good cleaning.
You can begin thinking of bbqing the weekend before you actually invite your family and friends over to eat. Questions to ask yourself include: Is your bbq clean? Will you use charcoal, briquettes, or gas? Who is coming to dinner? Can they cook? What do you want them to bring? How long will your dinner party be going? Will you create a theme bbq? When will you have time to shop for ingredients you need for your bbq?
Let’s say, our first bbq will be of a Latin flavor. We can enjoy being creative to the flavorings of South America. Lime juice, annatto seeds, banana leaves, ceviches, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, tumeric, avocados, green onions, habanero chiles, garlic, plantains, and very typical of Latin cooking. You can cool down your spicy cooking with a nice coconut rum drink, served in a raw coconut, with a long colorful drinking straw!
Our bbq will begin, after we have the grill cleaned and fresh charcoal in place, with planning a menu. I like to have a bbq later in the afternoon, so we do not have to be out over a hot grill in the hottest time of the day. Starting your grill around 3pm, will have it ready to begin cooking your meat by 4pm. Dinner invitations can read, “Latin Dining from 5 to 7pm this coming Saturday. Dress in bright colors and decorate with Latin flare.
For our menu, let’s plan the following:
Achiote-marinated chicken wrapped in banana leaves (POLLO PIBIL)
Green Plantain and Shrimp Tamales (TAMALES de VERDE)
Sugarcane-Skewered Shrimp With Coconut-Lime Glaze
Cilantro Salsa (CILANTRO PEBRE)
Stuffed Tomatoes (TOMATES RELLENOS)
Avocado Salad (ENSALADA DE AGUACATE)
Rice and Black Beans (ARROZ MORO)
Grilled Steak Tacos with Chipotle Salsa and Avocado (CARNE ASADA TACOS)
Salt-Encrusted Beef Tenderloin Charred in Cloth (LOMO AL TRAPO)
Coconut Flan (QUINDAO)
Mango Sorbet (SORVETE DE MANGA)
Papaya Juice With Lime (JUGO DE PAPAYA CON LIMON)
Let’s check out:
Bateman, Michael. 1999. Café Brazil. Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books.
Castro, Louredes . 2011. Latin Grilling. Berkley, CA: Ten Speed Press.
Kijac. Maria Baez. 2003. The South American Table. Boston, MA: Harvard Common Press.
Marin, Roberto. 2010. Secrets of Chilean Cuisine. Santiago, Chile: Origo Ediciones.
McCausland-Gallo, Patricia. 2004. Secrets of Columbian Cooking. New York: NY, Hippocrene Books.
Palomino, Rafael. 2006. Fiesta Latino: Fabulous Food for Sizzling Parties. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Williams, Chuck. 2010. Essentials of Latin Cooking. San Francisco, CA: Weldon Own Inc.