Summer Party 2014

Every summer my husband’s family throws a couple of large parties, and I do all the menu planning and cooking. I usually pick one dish that I love and is a a real crowd-pleaser and build a menu around that. In 2012 it was my Kale Salad, which I served with cedar-plank salmon and grilled chicken. In 2014, Jamaican Jerk Chicken set the menu, and was served with Rice & Peas and a Cabbage Salad.

This year it was all about barbecue. And I mean the really good, finger lickin’, meat falling off the bone kind of barbecue. This is not meat cooked over a flame with grill-marks. It’s slow cooked to juicy perfection so that it melts in your mouth. Mm-mmm! If you want a start a fight with barbecue lovers, just ask them whether brisket or pork is best. Since I didn’t want any bad feelings at my parties, I served both. 😉

Summer Party 2014



The Meat
I don’t have an original recipe to share here, but I’ll tell you what I did. All recipes come from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, which I think is a great kitchen resource. Looks like they have a new edition coming out in 2014: The America’s Test Kitchen New Family Cookbook.

Prepare the Basic BBQ Rub and thoroughly coat 1 brisket and 1 pork shoulder roast the night before. Around noon the next day, preheat your grill and cook the meat for 15 minutes on each side over a low flame. Then transfer each to a baking pan and seal the tops with foil. Bake in a 300° oven until meat is fork-tender and falling apart, about 4 hours. Let rest 1 hour before serving.

Pull pork apart with 2 forks and slice the brisket across the grain. Return each meat to its pan with juices for serving. I offered two kinds of barbecue sauce: the classic Barbecue sauce as well as the Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce from the same cookbook.

The Beans
The Slow-Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans from the ATK cookbook is a winner, with just a couple of modifications: Reduce the water by 1 cup, and add one 6-ounce can of tomato paste at the beginning. YUM!

The Salads
Plain potato salad doesn’t stand up too well to barbecue, so I created a smoky, spicy version for this menu: Killer Potato Salad.



I didn’t want a traditional cole slaw with a mayonnaise dressing, so I offered this light, citrusy one instead: Red Cabbage & Fennel Slaw.



The Pickles
Corn on the cob is nice with a barbecue dinner, but pickled corn on the cob is even better! After you’ve nibbled all the kernals off these, be sure to suck the yummy, tangy brine out of the cob: Smoky Corn Pickle.



Are you still hungry? This gut-busting meal needs something light to finish it off, so be sure to chill a watermelon for serving after the plates are cleared. 😉


Thanks everybody! I look forward planning next year’s menu. 😀

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