JEFF TIEDEMAN: Grill timeTake advantage of nice weather and fix meals outdoors.
Not everyone grills year-round, so with the short summer we have up here where the pines meet the prairie, you have to take advantage of the nice weather when you get it.
I not sure if he subscribes to this philosophy, but Mason Olson of Grand Forks told me that he grilled on three separate occasions on the Fourth of July. Mason, who works at the Urban Stampede, said he first grilled kabobs, then bratwurst and finally a bacon-egg skillet.
We also grilled Monday, albeit only hot dogs. We hosted a little Independence Day celebration for family and a few friends and decided that with the cold smoked chicken, potato salad, baked beans, chips and homemade tomato salsa, vegetable tray, Jell-O salad and dessert that we could forgo burgers or any other kind of grilled meat.
It was the first time this year that we’ve cooked out when I haven’t had grilled vegetables. (The best so far has been the potatoes I prepared with sweet red bell peppers, onions and zucchini that were drizzled with olive oil.)
Vegetables on the grill are fast becoming one of my favorites. While you can make a meal out of just veggies, they’re also the perfect accompaniment for just about any kind of meat or fish. The marinated grilled pheasant (my 2010 bounty) and elk tenderloin — courtesy Mike LaMoine, one of my grandson’s baseball coaches — that we’ve had the past couple of weeks would have been good on their own but were even better with some tasty vegetables.
Both times, I grilled the meat and vegetables separately, but the shish kebab option also would have been equally acceptable. Kebabs — marinated chunks of meat and vegetables on a skewer — take little time to prepare and can be made to order. For example, if your guests don’t eat meat, you can make veggie kebabs. (For a little extra fun, create a kebab assembly line and let guests skewer their own.)
If you don’t grill but would like to learn how, you’re in luck. The North Dakota State University Extension Service for the third straight year is hosting BBQ Boot Camps across the state. In Devils Lake, one will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. July 13 at the Ramsey County Fairground, and Grand Forks will host another from 5 to 8:30 p.m. July 14 in the Alerus Center. People can register online at www.ndsu.edu/ bbqbootcamp or call (701) 662-7027 in Devils Lake or (701) 780-8229 in Grand Forks.
Among other things, the camp will introduce would-be grillers to new cooking methods and practices as well as cover topics such as meat cut selection, methods and theories of cooking, food safety and variations in barbecuing practices, such as using rubs, marinades and seasonings.
And hopefully, for new grillers and veterans alike, there’ll will still be a lot of summer left to barbecue.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.