This coming Memorial Day weekend marks the (unofficial) start of summer, and with that comes longer days, warmer nights and, perhaps most important, the beginning of grilling season. From smoky, saucy barbecue to snappy hot dogs and even treats for dessert, there’s no shortage of savory and sweet items to grill this summer, but what we’re most looking forward to is a juicy, meaty classic: the burger. Simple and classic, stuffed with cheese, piled high with potato chips, stacked with double patties, topped with green chiles — the opportunities for building the ultimate burger are endless, and lucky for all of us, we have more than three long months to enjoy every single one of them. Add all 11 of these must-try recipes to your Recipe Box, and don’t miss out on a summer of burger loving.
Grilling season officially kicks off next weekend, and we’re here to make sure your Memorial Day cookout is better than ever. Start with one of the simplest things you could possibly throw on the grill: hot dogs. There are probably a million possible hot dog combinations. First you’ve got your bun options: honey wheat, potato, bolillo, baguette. Then you’ve got your options for sauce, cheese, veggies and other toppings. Finally, you’ve got your choices for the dog itself: veggie, chicken, Ball Park Frank, organic grass-fed beef … and sausages, oh, the sausages! Actually, all hot dogs are sausages, but we tend to put the spicier variety in its own category.
Summer party spreads like picnics and potlucks are an excellent opportunity to put your creative snacking skills to use and experiment with inventing new and exciting hot dog combinations, or host a summer soiree with a preloaded DIY hot dog bar to get your guests’ juices flowing.
Check out the full gallery for all 12 unexpected hot dog toppings.
Food Network Magazine wants to know what you think makes the perfect hamburger. These days there are plenty of meat substitutes and crazy bun alternatives, but for this survey, think classic beef patty — the kind you grill at a cookout or order at the diner. Vote in the polls below to share your official burger opinions.
After you take the burger survey, enter to win a $500 gift card to the Food Network Store by leaving a comment with your most-favorite burger topping or condiment. You can shop the Food Network Store anytime, but one lucky, randomly selected winner will receive a $500 gift card to enjoy the shopping experience of a lifetime at the Food Network Store.
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and next Tuesday will be a little bit sad even for those of us who are not going back to school. So take full advantage of these last few days and send your summer off on a winning note. If you haven’t made these watermelon tequila shot skewers yet, now’s the time. Eat as much fresh corn and zucchini as you possibly can. Host a last-minute barbecue with tips for super-fast grilling. Or savor summer memories with these nostalgic tastes.
By Teri Tsang Barrett
When it comes to barbecue, one size most certainly does not fit all. For some, it’s all about nibbling smoky ribs from the bone. For others, a pulled pork sandwich doused in barbecue sauce is where it’s at. And as far as regional differences go (from the Carolinas to Tennessee to Texas), don’t even get us started. This week, conjure your inner grill master with the forerunners of backyard barbecuing.
Pork Ribs: For a barbecue phenomenon that needs no utensils, ribs are always the answer. But the question remains: Will you have yours wet or dry? Cooked indirectly for hours on end, the Neelys’ Wet BBQ Ribs are dripping with a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce. For those in the dry school of thought, there’s the Neelys’ Kansas City-Style Pork Ribs recipe, which encrusts the ribs with a dry rub of spices for a dose of pure barbecue.
Some would say that a plate of smoky beef brisket or a home-grilled burger can’t be taken seriously without a scoop of potato salad — and rightfully so. When it comes to this creamy, satisfying side, tender potatoes are just the starting point, laying the foundation for all kinds of dressings and add-ins. This week, spread out a picnic blanket and dive into potato salads that have never seen the inside of a deli container.
1. Keep It Classic and Cold: A classic American potato salad is barbecue’s best mate for a reason. Alton Brown’s Cold-Fashioned Potato Salad (bottom right) is the classic recipe you’d expect at your cookout, and it’s taken down to a science in true Alton style.
2. Choose a Baked Potato: Rather than bringing your spuds down to a boil the traditional way, Alex Guarnaschelli makes her Baked Potato Salad by sliding Yukon golds into the oven. Packed with herbs (don’t throw away those stems!), her version is best enjoyed at a beach picnic.
It’s the end of a long day and you’re craving a thick, juicy steak. Fortunately, you have a nice fresh cut in the freezer, awaiting its big moment. Unfortunately it’s frozen solid as a rock and dinnertime is in less than an hour. Time to surrender your steak dreams and start making pasta instead? Nope, not so fast.
CTi, a Taiwanese cable channel, suggests an electricity-free steak-defrosting hack that will safely thaw a frozen steak about 1 centimeter thick in less than five minutes. How? Take two metal pots or pans, turn one over bottom up and place your vacuum-sealed steak flat on it. Then fill the other pot or pan with water and place it, topside up, on top of the steak. The weight of the water and its temperature, conducted by the metal, will speed thawing. In five minutes, CTi says, your steak should be defrosted and ready to cook. (You can use the time to pick a recipe.)
Steak is not like other foods; it is sufficient in itself, or very nearly so. Add salt and heat (fire preferably), and you have something no culinary sleight of hand can improve on. Does a steak need a recipe? Heck no. But recipes abound, and with them come all manner of tips, tricks and techniques, most of which diminish your likelihood of cooking a great steak. Read more
Summer is the season of spontaneity — when a passing neighbor can become a last-minute dinner guest, and the plump tomatoes and zucchini you picked up at the market turn into the centerpiece of brunch. And when it comes to go-with-the-flow entertaining, there’s nothing better than a grill: It’s fast, cleanup is a snap, and practically everything tastes better with the smoky, crispy char you can get only from a fire. The following supermarket staples make it easy to improvise at the grill, no matter if you’re cooking T-bones, plums or potatoes. Stock up and you’ll be prepared, whatever the mood brings.