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.
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.
When I was a child my grandfather would sometimes barbecue a whole hog to mark the end of summer. He was a honest-to-goodness country boy and knew what he was doing with a pig and a pit. The huge beast was split and slowly cooked on a metal grate set over a pit of gray cement blocks above glowing embers. My grandfather would make a basting mop out of a bent pecan branch and white cotton rags, patiently basting the pig with a potent broth of vinegar and salt, letting heat and smoke slowly transform that pig into our Labor Day feast. My sister, the cousins and I would run around in the nearby yard, begging to stir the coals or add split pieces of oak, absolutely anything to be near this unusual scene that utterly transfixed us. To this day, I can close my eyes and hear the sizzle of the fat as it dripped on the white-hot coals.
Aside from boiling a pot of water for noodles, pasta doesn’t necessarily require the heat of the stove or oven, as sauces can come together with little more than some stirring or blending. And during the dog days of summer like these, that’s indeed welcome news, on account of the scorching temperatures outside. While pesto may be the most-common no-cook sauce, tomato sauces, too, can be served raw, especially at this time of year when tomatoes are at their ripest — and sweetest.
Melissa d’Arabian lets seasonal tomatoes shine in her recipe for light and fresh Mediterranean Summer Pasta with Salsa Cruda (pictured above). The star of this fuss-free supper is a simple yet bold combination of seeded tomatoes, briny olives, salty capers and fragrant mint; after incorporating these go-to ingredients with bright orange zest and olive oil, let their flavors marry for a bit, then top them with just-cooked noodles. The heat of the pasta will gently cook the salsa-like tomato mixture to create a warm, satisfying plate, finished with grated Parmesan for added flavor.
Dill doesn’t get included in nearly as many recipes as, say, thyme or basil. Sure, it’s a unique flavor, and a little dash can seriously alter the taste of a dish, but there are plenty of dishes that can benefit from a bit of the summery herb. It’s great for adding something extra to dressings, sauces, seafood and even tea. Besides its subtle sweet flavor, it also boasts some unexpected health benefits: It helps soothe the digestive system and has a calming effect that can be used as a sleep remedy. So try out some of these recipes and showcase your new favorite herb this summer.
Creamy Dijon-Dill Potato Salad
No summer gathering is complete without a good, creamy potato salad. This elevated version makes use of fresh dill along with Dijon mustard and lemon juice, giving it a sweet, salty, tangy taste that is the perfect complement to some smoky barbecue. Remember, for the best flavor and texture, it’s recommended that you make it a few hours in advance and keep it at room temperature.
Just like the long days and high temperatures that are quintessential parts of summer, the time to enjoy the season’s fresh produce is limited. To preserve summer flavors as long as possible, many resort to pickling, jamming and jarring various fruits and vegetables, but when it comes to tomatoes, canning is the way to go. With just a few everyday tools, you can keep the juicy, fresh taste of sweet summer tomatoes alive all winter long, thanks to an easy-to-master canning process. Read on below to get the dish on canning tomatoes from Sean Timberlake, the founder of a DIY food site, then check out the details in his one-stop guide.
Tomato Picking: There are countless kinds of tomatoes on the market, but Sean recommends plum and San Marzano. “You’ll want to choose a tomato variety with ample meat … and you’ll want them just ripe.”
When you’re battling flames over a blistering-hot grill, who wants to preheat the oven? Even when it comes to something as important as dessert, those added degrees are enough to break your cool when entertaining this summer. Luckily, in lieu of overheating, you can take your pick of Food Network’s finest no-bake desserts that’ll keep your kitchen nice and cold.
Oftentimes, no-bake desserts are no sweat too. Take The Pioneer Woman’s Individual Key Lime Pies (pictured above), for example. Unlike the arguable toil of from-scratch baking, it takes only layering homemade lime curd and whipped cream atop buttery graham cracker crumbs to have you seeing beyond the slice.
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.