A Must-Read Guide to Perfect Barbecues August 10, 2016

by Eat

Get in touch with your inner grill master… we’ve got all the tips, tricks, and recipes you need to throw the best barbecues.

barbecues-HelloFresh

Soaring temperatures, bathing suits, and beach days can only mean one thing: summer is in full swing. Here at HelloFresh, we’re savoring the season in the best way we know how: barbecues.

But who wants to be stuck inside worrying about what to make when it’s so beautiful outside? Not us. That’s why we’ve done some digging and put together this bulletproof guide to transform your ordinary backyard get-together into a night to remember.

Just remember to bring the sunscreen, and let us take care of the rest.

What to cook:

1. Protein

barbecues-HelloFresh-protein-chicken-thighs

When done correctly, summer barbecues won’t break the bank. Opt for an inexpensive but flavorful skirt or flank steak, chicken thighs (like this char-broiled BBQ masterpiece), or grill-friendly seafood like mackerel or shrimp. When sticking with the tried-and-true hamburgers and hot dogs, don’t be afraid to spice them up with various sauces, condiments, and relishes such as garlic mayonnaise, herbed butter, or – our personal favorite – avocado.

Insider Tips:

  • Preheat, clean, and oil your grill (in that order).
  • Don’t flip every five seconds. We know it may be tempting, but one or two flips of a burger is all you need.
  • Be careful with sauces! The heat of the grill combined with the sugar content of marinades may cause them to burn, so wait until the meat is almost fully cooked before applying.
  • Cross-contamination is no joke. To prevent food poisoning, make sure you start with a clean grill to reduce exposure to harmful bacteria. Once you start cooking, use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked foods.
  • Use the “finger test” to check if your meat is done. Rare meat will resemble the fleshy area below the thumb when it’s pressed against the tip of the index finger whereas medium meat resembles this same fleshy area when the thumb is pressed against the ring finger. For well-done meat, press the thumb against the tip of the pinky finger.
  • Let meat rest before digging in. This precious time will allow the juices to redistribute for optimal flavor.

For vegetarian guests, swap out animal protein for tofu burgers, cauliflower steaks, or veggie burgers. Be warned, though: even the most dedicated meat-lovers will think twice once they see all the avocado, caramelized onions, and spicy mayo piled high on these portobellos.

2. Vegetables

barbecues-HelloFresh-vegetables

If you think meat and fish should be the only foods with grill marks, think again. With an abundance of produce in season come summer, grilled vegetables make for the perfect side dish. Our favorites include asparagus, mushrooms, eggplants, and onions. Tip: Invest in a grill basket or skewers to prevent smaller vegetables from falling through the grill racks (we’re looking at you, grape tomatoes).

Speaking of eggplant, we highly recommend you serve these eggplant and mozzarella rolls at your next barbecue. Here’s how:

  • Make the pesto by blending together a small handful of basil, 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, 2 garlic cloves, 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Chop off the ends of your eggplant before slicing it lengthwise into 16 slices. Place on a hot grill until slightly charred. Remove from the heat, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Now for the fun part! Make little stacks of mozzarella, tomato slices, and basil. Wrap in eggplant slices and secure with a cocktail stick.
  • Place back on the barbecue and cook until the cheese starts to ooooozzzzze out. Drizzle with pesto, snap a photo (obviously), and DIG IN!

3. Salads

barbecues-HelloFresh-salads

When it comes to cooking in bulk for large summer barbecues, salads are the way to go. And no – we’re not just talking about ordinary greens, here.

Wow your guests with colorful and refreshing pasta, potato, and bean salads that can be prepared days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat.

We’ve got a soft spot for this corn and red bean salad with roasted sweet potatoes, feta, and tomatoes, but that’s just us.

4. Desserts

barbecues-HelloFresh-desserts

Keep that grill on all the way through dessert. For a fruity end to the meal, place peach halves cut side up on heavy-duty foil. Top with blueberries, honey, butter, and lemon juice before folding over the foil and sealing tightly. Grill, covered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, until the peaches are tender. Don’t get too excited, though! Open up the foil slowly to allow the steam to gradually escape.

No barbecue is complete without cocktails (for hydration purposes, obviously). Celebrate Brazil this month by whipping up these three caipirinha recipes.

Looking for something non-alcoholic? Infused water is the way to go.

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6 comments

Rina Sotomayor says:

Thank you for posting these wonderful recipes!

Jacqueline says:

You’re welcome, Rina! Thanks for reading 🙂

Elizabeth Bergeron says:

I am always shocked when I read recipes on websites that instruct when grilling to use the “finger test” method for checking to see if the meat is done.
As recommended by the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, ground beef, MUST always be cooked to a minimum internal temp of 160F (71.1C) to destroy any harmful bacteria including the most known, E-coli 0157:H7.
Burgers should NOT be tested by the “finger test”, or “just a little pink/no pink”. Be safe, get a food thermometer–and check those burgers before anyone take one bite.

Jordan Schultz says:

Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for your feedback. We take food safety very seriously, but we also understand that many of our customers do not have a meat thermometer on hand. We encourage our customers to use their best judgement when it comes to burger doneness.

Dory says:

Thank-You for Such Great Idea’s for my boring cooking!!

Jacqueline says:

Dory – Glad we could help!

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