Now that Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, it is officially summer and cookout season has begun. It’s the time of year for fun in the sun and getting drunk at the pool, lake, or beach. Unless you live somewhere which has perpetually perfect weather like south Florida or southern California, you should take advantage of the beautiful weather while you can.
The cookout is an American tradition. We stuff our faces with greasy food from the grill and get drunk and sunburnt in dangerous levels of heat and humidity. It’s the American way. However, too many Americans waste away the summer without engaging in this tradition on a regular basis. Before you know it, the summer is gone.
Cookouts can have plenty of variety. You can go with the traditional burgers and hot dogs, make skewers of steak and chicken with peppers and onions or other vegetables, or have a taco fiesta, among other things. Don’t waste the opportunity, there are plenty of weekends to experiment with different seasonings and recipes.
Make your own burger patties. Don’t buy pre-made patties unless you’re hosting ten or more people—that would be just too much work. But still, make your own personal patty. A few of my favorite variations are the medium rare cheddar burger seasoned with Montreal steak seasoning, a burger patty stuffed with cheese, and, when I can get it, a venison burger (since, technically, deer season in Georgia is September through January). Roll out the condiments and toppings and serve with a cooler of beers of your choice. And when I say beer, I mean beer, not Michelob Ultra. IPAs go great with burgers, just FYI.
Hot dogs are simple. Stock up on chili, cheese, sauerkraut, coleslaw, hot sauce, ketchup, and mustard. There’s nothing better to shovel in your mouth after filling your body with enough alcohol to match the ethanol content of a gallon of gas. They’re great for a kegger or with a case of cheap beer. They cook quickly and soak up the booze.
Skewers are the gourmet cookout option. Serve with a red or white wine depending on whether you use steak or chicken. Season and serve late in the day or in the evening, as red wine especially is not ideal unless you’re planning to pass out in the sun all day, which I do not recommend in the strongest possible terms.
Taco fiesta is one of the best cookout variants. Nothing says summer like a pitcher of margaritas, Corona, or both. They’re light and ideal for sunbathed consumption. You can grill steak or chicken for tacos with lettuce and salsa. Tacos are basically Mexican hamburgers, anyway, and the greasier the better when it comes to soaking up the tequila.
Bottom line, make the most of your summer and hit the grill for a cookout more often than just on major holidays. We can’t afford to take cookout season for granted and live a cold, grey winter of regret. Once the air starts getting cold cookouts are much less fun, unless you are pounding beer brats and hefeweizen at a football tailgate, but that’s a totally different story. Enjoy the summer while you can..