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Good grub Carl Robinette | Fri, Jul 04 2014 12:00 PM

Summer means entire wardrobe changes for some people, but grilling enthusiasts have just one important choice to make. Do I get the novelty apron with the buff beach body printed on it or the one with the out of shape tourist body?
Few things can make your guests ooh and ah like a backyard cookout. So to help you grill at the top of your game this summer, we have a few secrets to share with you.

Being a grill hero takes preparation so never cook something for the first time in front of a crowd. Trickier recipes like ribs require some technique-honing, and even a simple chicken recipe can go terribly wrong if you have never attempted it. So give yourself a chance to test drive the recipe once or twice before you have guests drooling at your grill.

If you are on a budget but want something fancier than weenies and patties, flanks and skirt steaks offer up that hearty steak deliciousness without the price of higher-end cuts. For seafood, mackerel and blue fish are ideal for the grill and they won’t hook you in the wallet like lighter favorites that tend to fetch higher prices.

Of course the standards like burgers, bratwurst and hot dogs are the standards for a reason – they’re tasty. So if that is what you are throwing on the grill, don’t be afraid to

change it up by adding simple twists. Diced bell pepper and corn in your patty add a southwestern flavor. Stuff your hot dogs with cheese. Wrap your brats in bacon.

Potato salads, pasta salads, slaws and fruit salads are easy to make in advance and store in the fridge. And on those hot summer days, your guests will appreciate the colder fare. Adding cilantro, green apple or lime to many of these favorites will give them a nice zing that will really complement the fatty meats and savory sauces. Real bacon bits will also add a nice punch to your potato salad.

Every griller worth their seasoning should have their own barbecue sauce recipe, but a good homemade sauce does not come without some research and development. Start with a basic recipe and then experiment until it is good enough to call yourself the Walter White of barbecue sauce.

And last but not least – beer. Do not feel like you have to always go with a super crafty or hopped-up ale. The food should take center stage at an American cookout and a nice German lager tends to pair up nicely with the smoky tang of barbecue. A pitcher of ice cold sangria will also draw a crowd.

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