With Memorial Day come and gone, it’s officially time to fire up the grill in the Midstate region. Hamburgers and hot dogs are on the menu pretty much every weekend from now until Labor Day. And nothing tastes better at a backyard barbecue than an ice cold beer.
Here are a few tried-and-true tips to take your grilling game to the next level this summer.
If you’re watching your waistline, you might be tempted to buy the leanest meat you can find at the grocery store. But it’s the fat that makes burgers juicy and gives them their delicious flavor. Look for at least a 20% fat content (i.e. 80% lean) to get optimal moisture in your patties. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at your local butcher shop, grind your own using your stand mixer – you’ll taste the difference!
Nothing ruins a barbecue faster than a pack of mass-produced potato rolls. We get it, they’re cheap and easy to stock up on at the grocery store, but fresh is really best here. And while it’s what’s on the inside that counts – beef, duh – the bun really sets the tone for your burger. It’s worth the trip to a bakery for some delicious, buttery brioche buns.
Hot dogs are as American as apple pie, but, unlike pie, you probably don’t want to know what’s inside your average hot dog. Trust us, don’t Google it. All-beef is definitely best here. And while Ball Park Deli Style beef franks are usually a crowd pleaser, Good Housekeeping reviewed a dozen other top dogs for you to choose from.
While burgers and dogs are backyard barbecue staples, we love that other proteins are making their way onto the grill. Add some variety to your summertime menu and surprise your guests with salmon steaks, pork chops or grilled chicken.
Side Dish Stars
The usual repertoire of summer side dishes can get old fast. Besides, there are only so many times you can eat mayo-based potato and macaroni salads before you can no longer fit into your swimsuit. Our favorite summer side dishes are light, crisp and completely unexpected. Try your hand at a watermelon salad with feta and mint, gazpacho or zucchini carpaccio.
What’s in Your Cooler?
Light beer seems like a must-have for any backyard party. But, if we’re honest, the watery brew isn’t what your guests are hoping for when they open that cooler. Commit to quality over quantity this summer and spring for tasty craft beers. Go local and stock up on Tröegs DreamWeaver Wheat, take a fruity spin on the classic lager with Abita Strawberry Harvest or embrace the Southcentral Pennsylvania’s hop obsession with Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.
Cheers to having the best backyard barbecue in town this summer!