By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/25/2006 | Food & Drink
Summer and grilling. What could be better? You throw the burgers on the grill ... wait - the kids want hot dogs. And Jimmy (not his real name) wants chicken. Chicken? How about steak? Rachel (not her real name) won't eat meat. Are there vegetables around here somewhere? Hey - where's dad? The burgers are burning. Oh well, you weren't going to eat them anyway. Now Charlie (ok, that's his real name) informs you he's on a diet - so forget that potato salad. Where are those vegetables? Never mind. That pizza delivery number is around here somewhere.
Is that is your summer grilling experience? This plan is for you. A fool-proof, Everyone Gets What They Want No One Gets Stuck Behind the Grill Mild Stomachs to Heat Freaks Are All Happy, SUMMER GRILLING PARTY PLAN. Did I mention it's healthy? And vegetarian friendly? Read on for all the details.
You are going to host a shish kabob bar-b-que. Everyone picks their own meat and vegetable combination, and everyone spices and cooks their own kabobs. You are going to sit back and enjoy your party.
Pick your meat. Your meat needs to be a thick cut, and easy to skewer. For instance, London broil or boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
The easiest way to prepare the meat is to cut everything into about 1" cubes. It is easier to cut if it is partially frozen, plus the meat will stay fresher while grilling.
Since the meat will be combined with vegetables, you will only need about 1/4 pound per person.
Now choose your vegetables. You will need some onions and peppers, as well as milder vegetables like zucchini and summer squash. Mushrooms do not work well - they tend to crumble on the skewer. If you use potatoes, use small canned ones - regular raw potatoes take too long to cook on a skewer.
Everything can be cut ahead of time.
Cut everything into chunks that will be easy to skewer. Onions and peppers work best if they but in half, then cut each half into four sections. Squash should be sliced into 1/2 inch slices. When you use tomatoes, pick large cherry tomatoes that can be added whole - slices do not work well on skewers.
Here's the fun part of this grilling party - spicing your kabobs. Have several different types of sauces and spices available for guests to choose.
You will need the basics like pepper, various salts, lime, chili powder, cilantro. Also include bottled marinades, bbq sauce, even some salad dressings. Be sure you cover the whole range of spices, from hot and zesty to mild and sweet.
THE SIDE DISHES
Because you already have meat and vegetables, you will need only a few side dishes. Pasta salad works well, and fruit platters. Keep it light to complement the meat and grilled vegetables.
You don't need anything fancy for this grilling party. Just skewers, and the usual utensils.
Bamboo skewers work well, and you can throw them away. You will need a shallow pan of water to soak them in 15 minutes before the grilling starts.
One note about plates, since the kabob will be straight off the grill, Styrofoam plates do not work. They melt. Use paper if you want a disposable plate.
Pre-cut all the vegetables and meat, and prepare the side dishes ahead of time. Now, all you have to do is cook your own kabob.
To assemble the kabobs, just add whatever meat and vegetables you want to the skewer. Now, add spices. Grill until the meat is cooked to your taste. Slide the kabob off the skewer, and you're ready to eat.
And you get to enjoy your guests, rather than running around pleasing Jimmy, and Rachel, and Charlie, and...