Barbecue is a huge part of summer eats. It’s hard to find any outdoor gathering during the warmer months that doesn’t include sauce-slathered ribs, tender brisket or at least some smoked chops. And while you’ve probably got your favorite local joint, the options across the country are only increasing. Barbecue has become a highly respected cuisine in America, with spots serving up everything from bigger-than-your-head ribs to classic blue plate specials. Take the quiz below to find out where you should venture to get the best ‘cue this summer.
Start off your weekend with new episodes of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen and The Kitchen this Saturday morning on Food Network. Join Trisha Yearwood as she cooks up a perfect meal to help jump-start a healthy diet with dishes like Kale and Chorizo Soup and Smashed Sweet Pea Burgers. Then, the cast of The Kitchen is showing off their new deck plus great seasonal recipes and cooking tips. On Sunday, kick off the day with Giada De Laurentiis as she hosts a modern-day tea party on Giada at Home. Then, on Farmhouse Rules, Nancy Fuller has a lineup of artsy appetizers for a special cocktail party she’s catering in town.
The competition fun begins Sunday night at 8|7c with a fresh episode of Guy’s Grocery Games. Watch Spring Baking Championship at 9|8c to see which bakers come out on top in a birthday cake competition. Lastly, catch a new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen and watch as chefs try to make meatballs in a ball pit and a teriyaki dinner while on a seesaw, and more.
Where do travelers eat when business calls them away from their desks? Many of us grab a bite wherever it’s convenient — but more of us expense Starbucks than any other restaurant, according to a new quarterly report by the expense-management-software company Certify revealing how business people spend their company cash when they’re traveling for work.
Starbucks, which constituted 5.32 percent of corporate dining cash, with an average of about $12.22 spent per visit, topped Certify’s list of most-expensed restaurants. McDonald’s was second, taking in 2.56 percent of eating expenditures, with an average of $7.91 spent per visit. In third place was Panera Bread, which, though it constituted just 1.81 percent of expenses, showed an average of $41.35 spent per visit.
Repeat after us: You will not buy gloopy, mayo-clad, made-yesterday pasta salad from the deli container this summer. No way. As the most-fun salad of all the salads (seriously), summer pasta salad is the one irresistible picnic side we just can’t wait to make, partly because of how crazy-easy it is to throw together. Taken cold with an array of pasta shapes, the pasta salad genre can take so many different forms, each fresh, satisfying and bound to bulk up your picnic without much effort. Toss these bold summer pasta salads at home for on-the-go eating ideal for any outdoor potluck, low-key picnic or backyard cookout you come across this summer.
Make your first pasta salad of the season extra-special by doing it up with cheesy tortellini. Rachael Ray uses the tender store-bought stuffed pasta for an extra-satisfying Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad (pictured above) that will be the star of the potluck from the very first spoonful.
While there are times when you’re cooking for an obvious purpose — tonight’s dinner, the potluck on Saturday, a holiday feast — other times (and perhaps the best times) it’s for pure indulgence. And that’s especially the case when chocolate is concerned. When it comes to treating yourself to a just-because dessert, look no further than these six best-ever brownie recipes from Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, The Pioneer Woman and more of your favorite Food Network chefs.
Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies
Leave it to an Iron Chef to create this sweet tooth-satisfying brownie masterpiece. Bobby makes his own peanut butter-laced caramel to swirl into his two-chocolate brownies. After building the brownies strategically — with a base batter, then dollops of caramel, then more batter, and finally the last of the caramel — he swirls the components together to achieve “a stealth peanut butter brownie.” It’s called that, according to Bobby, because “you can’t see the peanut butter, but you can taste it.”
It was a perfect storm of sorts at The JuJu Bag in New Orleans when Robert Irvine first arrived at this part cafe, part barber salon: inferior food coming out of an ill-equipped kitchen, wall-to-wall oddball decor not fit for a restaurant, and an owner who was resistant to change. With limited time to work, it was up to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team to not only convince owners Tommye Myrick and Phyllis Johnson that their business was in need of a serious overhaul, but also to transform a dining space and a working salon. Read on below to hear from Tommye, aka the Director of the business, to find out how The JuJu Bag is doing today.
“We have taken Robert’s suggestions,” Tommye says, adding that they’ve downsized their staff and changed their hours “to fit the needs of the community.”
The Pioneer Woman says it herself: Fried chicken is the perfect picnic food. Once it’s fried to crunchy, juicy perfection, this classic Southern favorite is just as good at room temperature as it is hot, so pack it up for your very first picnic of the season for on-the-go eating.
Just in time for Memorial Day, the inaugural day of outdoor eating, Ree Drummond’s Fried Chicken recipe gives you the golden, moist fried chicken you crave. By coating buttermilk-soaked chicken in seasoned flour that’s combined with buttermilk and milk, then frying the pieces in oil at the perfect temperature (360 degrees F, that is), you get the most crispiest, most-delicious fried chicken ever. After watching the video above, do it Ree’s way once and you probably won’t take your fried chicken any other way again. It takes just one bite, while you’re sprawled out on a picnic blanket outside, to see why Ree’s fried chicken is the recipe to rely on all season long.
If you think toast is boring to make or to eat, Jill Donenfeld’s new book, Better on Toast, challenges you to think again. The book is a 70-recipe adventure into the world of open-faced toast possibilities, and it’s a delicious ride from the first dish to the last. “It’s not rocket science we’re talking about here,” Donenfeld writes. “It’s not even molecular gastronomy… Food tastes better when it’s eaten on a piece of hot, crispy bread.”
How right she is. With dishes ranging from the Avocado Classic Toast (mashed avocado on toast with lemon and red pepper flakes, drizzled with olive oil) to the luscious, creamy Tomatillo Egg Toast (pictured above and recipe below for you to savor at home), you’ll find a whole collection of crusty, mouthwatering recipe gems. Donenfeld covers everything from proper breadselection and toasting technique to using up leftover ingredients in the rare event you find you haven’t eaten the whole dish in one go. There are visual guides that show how you can take one ingredient and dress it up a handful of ways (like the burrata toasts below, and another similar feature of ricotta variations). She even includes a wonderful little note template for you to use when inviting neighbors over to try your new favorite toast recipes. (Or not … nobody would fault you for wanting to keep these plates all to yourself.)
Toast itself is a simple concept, but really good toast can be made with just a few small tweaks to the cooking process. Get the most out of each crispy, crunchy bite with these tips from Donenfeld:
Don’t: Dry-toast in the toaster oven — this makes for dry, flaky toast.
Do: Toast with a fat (mayo, butter, oil) in a pan — this creates a crispy crust that melts into the interior of the bread as you take a bite.