With summer in full swing, here are 10 tips, tricks, and ideas to bring more freshness and fire to your backyard barbecues. We’ve also thrown in ideas to make the most of our Summer 2021 foodie box!
1. Watermelon Slushy
No fruit better complements the heat of summer than the almighty watermelon, and while the fruit itself is a refreshing treat on its own, why not pump up the flavor and chill with a watermelon slushy? Simply blend diced watermelon with watermelon juice—or any tangy fruit juice of your choice—and pour in a cup over another fruit of your choice, such as kiwi. This simple drink is perfect for finishing off with boba from J-Basket’s Instant Boba Kit.
2. Chili Grilled Cheese
Okay, here we go: take two slices of your favorite sandwich bread, buttering each on one side. Take one slice, butter side down, then top with chili mixed with shredded cheese. Top with the second slice, butter side out, place on griddle, then dance with joy. We decided to take this simple yet oh-so-satisfying idea to the next level by using Marukome’s Miso Chili for all the non-carnivores out there.
3. Cherry Booze Bombs
Here’s a sweet, salty, and tangy treat for when things get a little rowdier at the barbecue. Take some maraschino cherries and soak them in vodka and rum for at least an hour in the fridge. Then, dip them in some melted white chocolate for that layer of creaminess. Finish them off by dipping the still-melted chocolate cherry bottoms in something like Twang’s Paloma Love rimming salt for that final touch of zesty and salty.
4. Berry Fruit Ice Cubes
Need to rehydrate after those booze bombs? Try making these fruit-filled ice cubes for a refreshing kick. We took some energizing Liquid IV and mixed it into some water before pouring the water into an ice tray lined with some of our favorite berries. Use these to elevate sparkling water or any other beverage with a burst of extra flavor and hydration.
5. Coke Bottle Skewers
Any backyard barbecue is sure to have a big bottle of soda emptied out somewhere, so here’s a way to make some culinary use out of that leftover container. Mix up 1 pound of finely diced beef, 1 egg, 1/4th of an onion, chopped, 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, and the seasoning of your choice: we chose Tapatio’s spicy Carne Asada Marinade. Then, cut off the top half of a large soda bottle and find a flat-bottomed object, like a jar, of appropriate size that will fit into this top half. What you’re going to do is fill the bottle top with your meat, stick a skewer in the mouth of the bottle, then push the meat out of the mouth with your flat-bottomed object. Boom, instant beef skewers. Grill up and enjoy.
6. Popcorn Ice Cream Cone
Here’s a cute dessert idea that’s sure to please the eyes. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine about 15 ounces of marshmallows with 3 tablespoons of softened butter, heating the mixture in a microwave until the butter and marshmallows get melty. Mix in some popcorn flavored to your liking—check out Popcornopolis’ Double Drizzle—and shape into small balls. Serve on ice cream cake cones decorated to your heart’s content. Gotta love food that looks like other food!
7. Cheesy Beef Bacon Skewers
Come on, this has to be good. For this easy backyard recipe, we took half a pound of ground beef and mixed it with one egg, a tablespoon of chopped parsley, salt and pepper, and—for some added subtlety and flavor—Hearthy Foods’ Sweet Potato Flour. We then skewered some mozzarella sticks and wrapped them in the beef mix and then again with bacon before grilling until cooked through. You might have to make a lot of these.
8. Watermelon Raspberry Punch
Can anyone really get enough of watermelon in the summer? Nah. Take a watermelon and cut off one end about a sixth of the way down. Scoop out the fruit and set it aside. Slice just enough of the opposite end of the watermelon rind so that it can stand flat on its own. Take the fruit and blend until smooth, straining out the liquid from the solids afterward. Then, blend the watermelon juice with some frozen lemonade (thawed a bit so that it’s not too hard) and a splash of Torani’s Raspberry Syrup. Serve inside in the rind with some ice for those presentation points!
9. Veggie Hummus Parfait
If you’re feeling a bit guilty about all that chili and cheese from before, try this healthy idea. Simply layer some hummus and tzatziki inside a cup and garnish with your favorite sliced vegetables. We threw in some From the Ground Up Cauliflower Stalks snacks for some added crunch!
10. Chicken Box Skewers
Echoing the soda bottle trick we shared earlier, you can use any tall box carton for quick and easy chicken skewers. Slice off the top of any clean carton and begin layering slices of bell peppers, eggplant, and thin chicken breasts—we seasoned ours with Tapatio’s Pollo Asada Marinade—flat inside the carton. Then, skewer everything with four wet wooden skewers, spaced evenly apart in a small square inside the box, then slide everything out. Cut crossways into the stack so that each skewer holds its own stack of veggies and chicken, grill. And enjoy Summer 2021 BBQ Hacks!