Home of that authentic backyard smokey flavor, the USA continues to raise the ‘steaks’ when it comes to a good barbeque. From Kansas City burnt ends to Texas brisket and Carolina whole hog, there is no food more quintessentially American.
This meaty contribution to the culinary world deserves to be celebrated. Whether it’s an intimate gathering of family and friends, a special birthday, or you simply fancy some delicious grilled meat and vegetables (with a vibrant crispy salad), you never need an excuse to fire up the barbeque.
However, if you have to pick one day in the year where alfresco cooking (and hopefully sunshine) is on the menu, it’s May 16th, aka National Barbeque Day.
WHAT IS NATIONAL BARBEQUE DAY?
If the date somehow slips your mind, the unmistakable summer smell wafting down the street on May 16th is sure to light a fire in your belly.
Even though the concept of barbequing didn’t originate in America, it’s a place of undoubted pitmastery. As one of the country’s favorite pastimes, it’s no surprise a specific day (National Barbeque Day) has been dedicated to celebrate the barbequing tradition.
The activity also holds great significance in American history, with barbeques being enjoyed since the early days of European settlement.
After claiming victory in the Revolutionary War and the first bridge was built over the Missouri River, barbecue celebrations seared across the nation. American presidents are also notorious for hosting large barbeques during times of success and on days of special observances.
HOW TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL BARBEQUE DAY
If you want to keep things simple, you can’t go wrong with a ‘meat and greet’ of family and friends in your backyard. What could be better than great company, delicious foods, refreshing beverages, and ideally some cigars?
Bring a competitive edge to proceedings by putting on a barbeque eating competition. It may get messy with the sticky ribs and saucy pulled pork, but you’re guaranteed lots of fun.
Feeling creative? From sizzling skewers to gorgeous grilled veggies, try and take your barbeque game to the next level by trying a new recipe.
If you don’t have access to a barbeque or adequate outdoor space, you can always get a taste of the outdoor grill by visiting your go-to barbeque restaurant.
BEST THINGS TO BARBEQUE
Classic barbeque meats such as burgers, pork chops, and sausages will always be a hit with guests. Offer an array of sauces, relishes, cheese, vegetables, and other toppings so they can customize their burger and/or hot dog. Larger, fattier cuts of meat like beef brisket and Boston butt are made for low and slow barbeque cooking.
If your palate lies in the sea, anything goes when it comes to grilling seafood, and it can add a new depth of smokey flavor to the likes of scallops, prawns, salmon, and bream. Sometimes a simple marinade works just as well — try a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, basil, and garlic.
Grilled halloumi makes for a wonderful veggie treat with its golden brown exterior and soft, gooey interior. Of course, no American cookout is complete without some of our favorite side dishes — creamy potato salad, mac and cheese, and hearty barbeque baked beans.
Whether it’s thighs, drumsticks, or even a whole bird, sinking your teeth into tender, moist barbequed chicken is a joy to behold. Try marinading or applying a dry rub to your chicken prior to cooking for added flavor. A dry rub will lock in the juiciness, while a marinade will tenderize the meat and keep it moist during cooking.
Another lean cut perfect for the barbeque, there’s something very pleasing about those charred grill marks on a juicy pork chop. Be careful not to overcook them, as they will dry out and become tough if you leave them on the grill for too long.
Again, a dry rub or marinade can work wonders to stop it from drying out, while also infusing your meat with sweet, salty, and tangy flavors (depending on the marinade or dry rub).
The sight of burgers being flipped is pretty much a given at any barbeque, and for good reason. Throw in the obligatory toasted bun and ketchup, and you’re well away.
Whether you like yours topped with a cheese slice that oozes out of the sides like lava, or layered with lettuce, gherkin, and tomato, the result is a delectable “sandwich” designed to be eaten with your bare hands.
Brush your ribs with a delicious barbecue sauce glaze for gloriously sticky ribs. Meltingly tender fall off the bone ribs need the low and slow treatment, but not all ribs are a waiting game. For example, short ribs can be grilled hard and fast on the barbeque like steak for an oily, beefy eat.
Grilled vegetables on the barbeque are a thing of beauty. Serve them as a colorful side dish, or thread them onto skewers and top with a punchy sauce for a satisfying summer meal.
Try perfecting the char on your sweet and buttery corn on the cob (brush with melted butter as they cook for extra points). Zucchini, peppers, and onions on the barbeque are another flavor bomb for the taste buds, becoming tender, lightly charred, smoky, and sweet all at once.
If you’re feeling fruity, try grilling your pineapple. Barbequing this tropical fruit brings out all the pineapple’s juices, and those juices will caramelize (and char) over the hot grates. As well as elevating its sweet taste, the hint of smokiness from the grill creates a very distinct flavor.
Keep your pineapple in dessert territory by serving with yoghurt, but we suggest pairing it with your grilled chicken or even (controversially) placing it on top of your pizza.
From intensely flavorsome ribeyes and sirloins, to a luxurious joint of chateaubriand, a succulent steak on the barbeque is always a crowd-pleasing cut.
Cooking your steak to perfection on the hot grill requires great attention and care, but it’s worth it for the end result – delicate meat that melts in the mouth.
With its salty, tangy flavor and firm texture, halloumi is a barbeque staple when it comes to kebabs. This is because this squeaky cheese turns a lovely golden brown on the outside, yet doesn’t melt.
Halloumi is equally as adept as a replacement for meat in your burger, and can even be added to your summer salad for a taste of the Mediterranean.
BEST TASTING CIGARS WITH BARBEQUE
Now we’ve got your appetite covered, you’ll be needing a top-notch cigar or two to enjoy with your food, or while working over the hot grill.
A medium to full strength Nicaraguan puro offers a hint of spice on the finish and goes great with a juicy ribeye.
A cigar is a match made in heaven for pork. With its dark and magnificent sun-grown wrapper, a medium-bodied cigar has a rich aromatic tobacco flavor with notes of wood, earth, and espresso, with the pleasant surprise of lingering caramel-like sweetness.
Lighter foods, such as grilled chicken and halloumi need a stick that complements their mild flavors. A creamy medium-bodied cigar with a nutty flavor profile and nuances of cedar and cocoa offers the perfect balance.