Over the long weekend, while many of you were hosting barbecues of your own, I headed over to Sparks, NV, for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, one of the country's largest outdoor barbecue events. I was more than stoked to chomp down on award-winning ribs all day long, but — given the scope of the festival and its four-hour driving distance from my house — I wanted to maximize my first experience there by being as prepared for the event as Michael Phelps was for the Summer Olympics. If you're planning on heading to a major barbecue festival (or any food extravaganza, for that matter), I've got some tips to share with you.
How much do I love ribs? I'd say that I was probably born with one in my hand, that's how much I love them — and grilling up a distinctive ginger-infused batch of my own recently only heightened my desire to indulge more.
I've always had the itch to go to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off in Sparks, NV. With more than 500,000 visitors and 100 tons of ribs, the six-day, free-admission rib festival is one of the largest outdoor barbecue events in North America. At the last minute, I decided there was no time like the present, and drove square across California and into the smoke. To find out what the event was like, keep reading.
Summer is not Summer without enjoying a finger-licking good rib dinner where you go through numerous napkins. Although I'm a sucker for traditional ribs covered with barbecue sauce, after seeing the cover of a recent Bon Appetit, I was dying to try their Cambodian rib variation. Rather than the traditional tomato-based sauce, this recipe uses a combination of fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, and a lot of fresh ginger!
The marinade is quick to make, especially if you employ a food processor. I marinated my ribs for six hours, but overnight would be even better. Fresh off the grill and covered with lime juice, the ribs burst with sweet and sour flavor. The ginger glaze is much lighter and more refreshing than a typical barbecue sauce. If you want to sink your teeth into these ginger-glazed ribs, keep reading.
Even though I graduated from college six years ago, I still get the end-of-Summer blues every August. There's only one remedy to this sickness: I turn my energy toward hosting a spectacular barbecue. If you experience the same low, consider throwing a barbecue this weekend or over Labor Day.
This menu consists of a smorgasbord of grilled foods starting with grilled jumbo shrimp doused in a thick shower of garlic-herb butter. For the main course, let guests assemble their own plates by choosing from an assortment of grilled meats (ribs, chicken, and sausages) and vegetables (onions and bell peppers). A strawberry, peach, and melon fruit salad gets a modern makeover thanks to a sweet yet spicy black pepper dressing. To serve these tasty items to your friends and family, get the recipes and read more
For Father's Day, my dad got a shiny new smoker. While he's enjoyed experimenting with it so far, he's run into some technical difficulties. When I asked him what the instruction booklet said, I was shocked to hear that it does not include any smoking directions! Well listen up dad — and anyone else out there who is using a smoker this Summer — here are some important tips on how to properly use a smoker
July's biggest holiday may have come and gone, but there's still so much to celebrate in the realm of Summer eats — whether it's salmon, sandwiches, or super-sized ketchup. Next Tuesday, don't forget to raise your glass to France's independence day. I plan to hightail it straight to my nearest French bistro to enjoy some moules frites. What are your plans for Bastille Day?
If you know if anything else that's going on, please feel free to chime in below.
- Traverse City, MI: National Cherry Festival — July 4-11
- New Orleans, LA: Tales of the Cocktail — July 8-12
- Hollywood, FL: Slow Food Glades to Coast Hot Tropical Night — July 9
- Cordova, AK: Copper River Wild Salmon Festival — July 9-11
- Park Ridge, IL: Taste of Park Ridge — July 9-11
- Pleasanton, CA: Alameda County Fair's Rib Cook-Off — July 9-12
To see the rest, read more
You may feel like Summer is already almost over, but there's still plenty of time to get in some quality food festivals. This week, that would include the classic Taste of Chicago (full of reliable Windy City staples like the Rainbow Cone and Vienna Beef hot dogs), the Naperville Ribfest (hands-down, the best ribfest I have ever been to), and the ultimate celebration of tart cherries, the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, MI. For those of you who can't attend one of the food festivals below, just remember: every 4th of July party is, indirectly, a celebration of food in itself.
Know of anything that's been left off the list? Don't hesitate to chime in below.
- Chicago, IL: Taste of Chicago — June 30-July 5
- Detroit, MI: Comercia Cityfest — July 1-5
- Lombard, IL: Taste of Lombard — July 1-5
- Naperville, IL: Naperville Ribfest — July 2-5
- Mandeville, LA: Mandeville Seafood Festival — July 2-5
To see the rest, read more
Father's Day is this Sunday and naturally I'm planning a manly meal that celebrates my dad. He enjoys simple classic American cuisine, so this menu features his backyard favorites. We'll start with oysters on the half shell with a shrimp-butter-Parmesan topping. The recipe broils them, but for an added smoky depth, we'll cook the oysters on the grill. Dad and I will bond over the preparation of hickory-smoked beef ribs. First the meat is coated in an easy spice rub, then after it's slow-cooked on the grill, it's topped with a homemade barbecue sauce.
Grilled corn with chili and cilantro plus new potatoes stuffed with sour cream and blue cheese round out the meal. For these recipes that will please any man's palate, read more