Creating the Best BBQ
July 21, 2016

Summertime in Irvine has arrived! The sun is shining, the weather is warm and everyone is eager to get outside. Whether you’re new to the community or just love a good backyard party, summer is the season to fire up the grill, turn up the music and get the neighborhood together for a festive night. From dazzling outdoor decor to delicious (and easy) recipes, we have your list of tips for an unforgettable backyard barbecue.

DINING

From heaping plates of ribs to steak tacos, deciding on what dish to make is half the fun of hosting a barbecue (and don’t even get us started on the BBQ sauce)! Before we get started on the recipes, here are a few grilling tips to make sure your meat cooks perfectly every time:

  • Marinade is your best friend! From citrusy zests to bold sauces, marinade ensures meat stays flavorful during the grilling process. Try to marinade your meat overnight, if possible. For an extra kick, brush your meat with marinade every ten minutes as it grills.
  • Be sure to give your grill plenty of time to heat up. Aim for fifteen to twenty-five minutes of preheating.
  • When it comes to steaks, your finger is the perfect timer. A rare steak feels soft to the touch, medium springs back slightly when pressed and well-done has a firmer texture.
  • The secret to cooking melt-in-your-mouth ribs? Three little words: Low and slow. For tender ribs, maintain a low temperature for several
  • Vegetables are great for grilling, too! When choosing produce, go for variety. Try corn, bell pepper, chilies and green onions.

Here’s a list of recipes to give you some grilling inspiration!

Sweet Onion Marinated Skirt Steak – Bon Appetit

Sweet Onion Marinated Skirt Steak

 

Grilled skirt steak is definitely one of the finer things in life. It can be enjoyed solo, thrown between two buns or placed atop salad for a healthy snack. But Bon Appetit Magazine has discovered a way to elevate this BBQ favorite to new heights: Adding a sweet onion marinade to the mix. The recipe is a simple one, but the flavors are as bold as ever. Here’s how to take your grilled skirt steak up a notch:

Ingredients

Servings: 4

  • 1 small sweet onion, coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for grill
  • 1¼ pounds skirt steak, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • Flaky sea salt IngredientsServings: 4
  • 1 small sweet onion, coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for grill
  • 1¼ pounds skirt steak, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • Flaky sea salt

Ingredients

Servings: 4

  • 1 small sweet onion, coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for grill
  • 1¼ pounds skirt steak, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • Flaky sea salt

Preparation

Combine the onion, vinegar, brown sugar and oil in a large resealable plastic bag. Season steak generously with kosher salt and pepper and add to bag. Seal bag and coat the steak completely. Let marinate at least 20 minutes, or chill up to 2 hours.


Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; be sure to oil the grate. Remove steak from marinade, pat dry and grill, turning once, until browned and medium-rare (about 5 minutes). Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Thinly slice and top with chives and a sprinkle of sea salt. Grill to your liking!

THE SAUCE

You can’t have proper barbecue without a stellar sauce. Grillmasters search high and low for the tastiest and most surprising barbecue sauce ingredients, so it’s no wonder sauce recipes are usually guarded like national treasure! Luckily, we tapped none other than Southern Living for their best barbecue sauce recipe. Sweet with a hint of spiciness, this sauce pairs beautifully with wings, pork and ribs.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (32-oz.) bottle ketchup (such as Heinz)
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Preparation

Sauté onion, minced garlic, and jalapeño pepper in hot olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Stir in ketchup, dark brown sugar, vinegar, apple juice, honey, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, celery seeds and dried crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Now you’re ready to enjoy some fall-off-the-bone barbeque!  

THE PERFECT SIDE DISH

All these grilled dishes require some refreshing side dishes. Even better, some of the tastiest produce is in season during the summer. Fresh tomatoes, sweet corn and creamy avocado are just some of the many treats you’ll find at the local farmer’s market. Throw these ingredients together and you have a simple and tasty salad your party guests are sure to love.

Tomato, Corn and Red Cabbage Salad – Real Simple

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • ½ pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups corn kernels (from 2 ears)
  • 1 avocado, cut up
  • 1/4 head red cabbage (about 1/2 pound), thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced

Whisk lime juice, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Then add tomatoes, corn, avocado, cabbage and scallions. Toss to combine. That’s it!

WHAT TO DRINK

Looking for a sweet way to cool off on a hot summer day? Nothing is more backyard barbecue appropriate than a little watermelon! This watermelon punch (served in a real watermelon!) is a fun and delicious way to stay hydrated during the day’s festivities.

Watermelon Punch

Ingredients

  • One oblong seedless watermelon
  • Three cups of seltzer water

Carefully cut off the top third of the watermelon; trim the bottom of the melon to make a flat surface. Scoop out the melon. Working in batches, puree the melon on a food processor. Strain through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Cover the rind with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the juice and the rind separately until both are chilled. Once you’re ready to serve, combine the watermelon juice with seltzer and pour into rind.

DÉCOR

While the great outdoors on a gorgeous summer day is an amazing backdrop for any party, there’s always a little extra something that can be added for a special touch. The best part about decorating for any occasion is how the simplest items can become total showstoppers! From ambient lighting to inspired table arrangements, these tips are sure to add a little magic to your next backyard get-together.

Outdoor Table Decor

  • Summer means tons of fruit is in season! Although fresh fruit certainly makes for an excellent dessert, did you know it is also great for décor? Hollowed out pineapples and watermelons (see recipe above) can be repurposed to hold food, beverages and flowers for a festive centerpiece.
  • Speaking of fresh fruit, berries are a stylish way to dress up ice cubes! Place a few raspberries, blueberries and blackberries in an ice tray and freeze them to give beverages a playful, summery look.
  • Once the sun goes down, candles are a beautiful way to create subtle ambient lighting. Have fun playing around with candle size and shape! You can even place fresh flowers underneath a glass and place a candle on top for an elegant and unique accent.
  • For hassle-free bartending, make a batch of your favorite cocktail and pour it into mason jars. Seal the lid and place the jars a large bucket of ice to chill. Once it’s party time, let your friends pick their favorite flavor!
  • Play off of summertime’s cheery vibe with plenty of bright colors! Vibrant yellows, pinks, reds and greens are vibrant and fun choices. We love these fluffy DIY pom-poms.

Time to get the grilling—you’re ready to barbeque in style!

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