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Help a Brit plan an American-themed BBQ!

So I'm planning a BBQ party birthday for Mr GG, who was born on the 4th July. The obvious theme is Independence Day, and you're the experts, right?

So what to cook? I need vegetarian and fish ideas as well as meat. So far I'm thinking of making potato salad and coleslaw from Bon Appetit Y'All, and probably some kind of salad. I suppose caesar is quintessentially American, but there must be some other classics out there. Blue cheese dressing, maybe?

For mains, I'd rather not do individual stuff like burgers as it's too much work for a crowd. I could do some spatchcocked chickens with some kind of rub, but maybe that's a bit dull. Is it really hard for a novice to do classic American BBQ pork or similar?

I'd also like to serve some kind of punch or cocktail.

We have a Weber kettle barbecue, btw.

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  1. Also, I am by NO means a bbq expert, but another thing you might ask about is pulled pork sandwiches. A messy, fun main, and although there is bbq-ing involved, it can be done, I think, a bit ahead of time.

    This is such a great idea for a party. Will you tell us how it turned out?

    1. Darn! Where did the first part of my reply go? Must have wiped it. So...

      What's for dessert? One suggestion, if you will be doing this close to home (and hence your freezer): ice cream sundaes. It's amazing how much otherwise grown-up grownups love an ice cream sundae. You can spiff the whole thing up, of course, by making home-made ice cream, home made chocolate or caramel sauce (or both), maybe bbqing a few pineapple rings...

      1 Reply
      1. re: linengirl

        Ice-cream sundaes - love that idea. Just have to make room in the freezer!

      2. American "pulled pork" is easy to do on a Weber kettle, is generally a crowd-pleaser, and is easy to prepare in advance and serve. It is, however, a little messy to eat.

        There are of course a million ways to do this, and opinions tend to be strongly held in N. America when it comes to all things smokey and savoury.

        My approach is simple: Take big hunk of pork shoulder (maybe 2.5 - 3 kg--ideally boneless and rolled, but bone-in is fine, too), salt and pepper it, and cook it on the BBQ indirectly with some soaked hardwood chips (I like hickory or maple) on the coals. Takes 3 to 4 hours to get fall-apart tender. Cool. Shred with your fingers or two forks. Mix with the right amount of BBQ sauce (your choice--different regions have different proclivities). I use one from the Weber's Big Book of Grilling [excellent book, incidentally]:

        1/4 minced onion sauteed in 3 TB butter
        2 cups ketchup
        1/2 cup yellow mustard
        1/2 cup cider vinegar
        2/3 cup brown sugar
        2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
        1 tsp Tabasco

        Simmer for 10 minutes and voila! Add enough of this to the pulled pork to get it moist and tasty (without being overpowered by the sauce or overly runny), warm, and serve.

        I think that it is worthwhile making your own sauce, given the limited effort involved. Most bottled sauces are kinda nasty, and the better ones are pricey.

        I serve the pulled pork on buttered toasted buns either as-is or with some sliced sour pickles or tangy coleslaw on top.

        Caesar salad is reasonably common at BBQ's, though it does get soggy, so I make it up in small batches while people are serving.

        Deviled Eggs are also very traditional and tasty.

        I like blue cheese salad dressing though I have to say that it not something I have ever had at a BBQ.

        46 Replies
        1. re: zamorski

          First BBQ I've seen without a rub on it?

          1. re: TimCarroll

            What kind of rub would you recommend? Is it really that easy to make pulled BBQ pork?

            1. re: greedygirl

              Here is a short cut if you are unable to find hickory chips and rubs, etc, ad nauseum. Boil a pork shoulder for 3 hours or pressure cook for one hour. Add
              one half teaspoon of "Liquid smoke" to the sauce receipt above and mix sauce
              with pulled pork. Serve on hamburger buns with sliced dill pickles, cole slaw and
              potato salad. Iced tea is usually served in the southern US. dessert should be
              peach cobbler
              Good luck
              please let us know how this meal plays out

                1. re: paul balbin

                  gg, please, under no circumstances use "Liquid smoke" even if it is available to you in the U.K. Yes, some people use it here, but the rest of us find it vile. Also, no boiling of meat for three hours.

                  Pulled pork is ridiculously easy to make ahead of time if you happen to have a crock pot. Do you?

                  1. re: pitu

                    I don't, I'm afraid. I might be able to borrow one I suppose.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      I always make mine in the oven with a dutch oven cast iron pot, give it 4 hours or so on low and it's fall apart perfect. I cook it in orange juice or ginger beer to braise, Fine to make the day before,then heat up the day of with a splash of beer and a splash of whatever BBQ sauce you're using. It's Mexican style pulled pork I guess.

                    2. re: pitu

                      I would never boil a pork shoulder, but I do cook mine in the crock pot with a little liquid. And I admit I have used liquid smoke before when I like to get a smoky flavor. I use very little and I don't use it very often but I have. It isn't THAT bad. But not using it is fine. I love to make my pork as I mentioned with some beer and onion and just let it cook all day and with a great sauce.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        I'm from North Carolina, the pulled pork capital of the world.

                        yes, you need a rub. this one should cover 8 - 10 pounds of pork shoulder/Boston Butt (in two pieces, with or without bone).
                        2 tbs each of salt, sugar, brown sugar, ground cumin, pure chili powder, fresh ground black pepper.
                        1 tbs cayenne pepper
                        4 tbs paprika (you can used the smoked spanish paprika, pimenton
                        mix together and rub it all over the pork. you can cook immediately or let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

                        you need a sauce. this is the Eastern NC barbecue sauce
                        1 cup white vinegar
                        1 cup cider vinegar
                        1 tbs sugar
                        1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like spicy)
                        1 tbs Tabasco sauce
                        salt and pepper

                        mix together. makes 2 cups.

                        reserve about 3/4 cup to make NC coleslaw...that's just shredded cabbage with this sauce.

                        I just make some pulled pork in the crock pot the other day. Put in pork, add sauce, and cook on low until if falls apart...I cooked mine for 8 hours.

                        Cook ahead of time if you want to de-fat...drain the sauce from the pork and refrigerate separately. A huge amount of orange fat will rise to the surface of the sauce when very cold. Remove some or all. Put pork on a plate and pull it apart with your fingers, removing bones if any. Combine pulled pork with sauce and reheat. serve on white hamburger buns with NC slaw.

                        You won't get the real smoky taste this way but it is so easy ..... I agree, don't use liquid smoke!

                        1. re: Madrid

                          This is how I do mine, and it is good and easy. This also freezes well.

                        2. re: kchurchill5

                          I agree, liquid smoke isn't bad if used properly. I think anything used in excess could be considered bad.

                    3. re: greedygirl

                      Here's my recipe for a rub:

                      4 tablespoons paprika
                      2 tablespoons celery salt
                      2 tablespoons salt
                      2 tablespoons black pepper, coarsely ground
                      2 tablespoons cumin powder
                      3 tablespoons brown sugar
                      1 tablespoon dried oregano
                      1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
                      2 teaspoons dried sage
                      2 bay leaves
                      1 teaspoon dry mustard

                      Place all the ingredients in a food processor and whiz to combine. Slather a skinless pork shoulder with plenty of yellow mustard, then apply as much of the spice mixture as the meat will hold. Refrigerate for 24 hours, then smoke at about 90C until the meat is tender (usually about 12 hours). If you are concerned about maintaining the temperature in your grill, especially for that long, smoke the meat heavily for an hour or so on your Weber, then finish in a very low oven.

                      I use a similar sauce recipe:

                      3 Tablespoons butter
                      1/4 Cup very finely minced onion
                      1 Cup white vinegar
                      1 Cup tomato sauce
                      1/4 Cup worcestershire sauce
                      2 Teaspoons sugar
                      1 Teaspoon salt
                      1/2 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
                      1/8 Teaspoon cayenne
                      Dash tabasco sauce

                      In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the onions begin to turn golden. Stir in the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the mixture thickens, approximately 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

                  2. re: zamorski

                    Thanks so much for that recipe zamorski. Pulled pork sandwiches sound like a great idea. When you say "indirectly", what does that mean? And does anyone know where I can get hickory chips in the UK?

                    Also yellow mustard - is that an American-style mustard like French's?

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Remember that BBQ fanatics in the US scorn direct heat. They call putting meat over coals and cooking in 10 - 15 minutes "grilling" and equate it to an ancient barbaric practice good only for unkowing suburbanites, miscellaneous sodamites, and the rare Hitites.. BBQ to those in the know is low and slow! Dry rubbed meat over here, damped down hardwood chips way over there!

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        LOL! So it really isn't that easy for a novice then. I think I will need a masterclass before attempting pulled pork. Would love to try though.

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          Go find Alton Brown's BBQ episode from the Food Network. He used a hot plate, a large clay pot, and some hardwood charcoal bits.

                          1. re: Cinnamon

                            I keep on reading all this stuff about pulled pork in the crock pot or the oven. It may taste good, but really, it's not pulled pork. Pulled pork has to be made with indirect heat and wood smoke. Properly, when you cut into it or "pull" it, there should be a red ring beneath the crust, and yes, it should have a crust. That's proper pulled port, or pork BBQ, or whatever you want to call it. Before we got our big BBQ, my husband would make it in the weber with coals and wet wood chips on one side, pork on the other. About 200 degrees or so should be about right. You don't need special equipment, just a lot of time, maybe 8-12 hours depending on the size of the pork butts. My DH has also made it the day before a BBQ and then warmed it very, very slowly in a low over the day of, so it is actually very party friendly since you can do the lion's share of the work before the event.

                            1. re: roxlet

                              In a perfect world wed all have the "proper" equipment, but sometimes we have to mae do with what we have. I've had wonderful puled pork from a small place in South Carolina with real pits. The owner tooks my Yankee husband back to the pits where they had several pigs, halved snout to tail and smoked over oak coals for 12-14 hours. They made some of the best pork rinds I've ever tasted too. I've never had pulled pork from a big smoker box taste that good.

                              1. re: Candy

                                But what Im saying is that you don't need "proper" equipment to make real pulled pork. You can use any old charcoal-burning grill, be it a weber or otherwise.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  i don't think it's fair of us to ask GG to do a real 12 hr bbq session with a pork shoulder and a weber, though, when she's never tasted the real item, nor attempted smoke bbq before on her weber. . . particularly when there are so many *americans* on this thread who don't seem to have the know-how/inclination to do this. you can make pulled pork in a crock pot or in an oven, it's just not going to be bbqed pulled pork. . .long as nobody tries to sell it as such, i still think we're fine. i'm trying to remember if there isn't any american bbq take-away in london. . . bbq in big foil pans heats up nicely in an oven--no work at all for the weber!

                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                    I love the real deal, and have had one. It is amazing. But even on my day off I would never have the time time make a true pulled pork, so my version is crock pot, or oven, what ever I can do that day. It isn't authentic in any way, but it is pretty darn good. I still call it BBQ, only because most guest would equate, BBQ on meat a BBQ dish. Not all guest but most. So yes, not authentic, but I still refer to it as BBQ, but I understand the difference. 12 hrs in a webber would be horrifying. I never home for 12 hrs in one day.

                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                      I love doing it my my crock pot as well, and nobody has ever been the wiser. Plus, this is America, we're free to do it however we want to do it. There is nothing wrong with going the easy route. That is the true American way. =) Plus the crock pot makes it taste like you slaved over it for hours.

                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          GG, unless you have 10-15 hours and the proper equipmemt to smoke a pork shoulder, I would strongly recomend that you do not try to make pulled pork. Proper pulled pork can not be rushed. Not that a grilled pork roast would not be good. It just wouldnt be BBQ. When done properly, pulled pork is one of the finest things ever put on a plate.

                          1. re: sdv231

                            So I think I need to clarify here - when I say BBQ I probably mean grill in American, right? So is what I'm talking about here a "cook-out".

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              yes, you're talking about grilling/cooking out in america, "barbecue" in britain, and let's not all try to get GG all sunk into the "what is american bbq" quagmire-- the woman's trying to throw a party for goodness sake! :)

                              1. re: soupkitten

                                I already feel a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Pulled pork, ribs and shrimp - oh my!

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  Just relax and have fun. Inadvertantly falling backwards into the fanaticism of the BBQ pit is simply to be avoided by being an ocean apart.

                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    Grilled (sweet) corn on the cob with butter is also very American.

                                    I said sweet corn because I understand y'all refer to a bunch of things as corn.

                                    1. re: Cinnamon

                                      Maybe this should go in the "divided by a culinary language" thread, but to Brits ever refer to corn (US usage) as "corn," or is it always "maize"?

                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                        US (sweet) corn is UK sweetcorn (yes, one word). Here in the US we assume corn means sweet corn, and if it's not, specify field corn, i.e., feed corn (which I assume is maize in the UK; I'm going over to the thread on NAF to ask.

                                        ETA Here's a link to the US vs UK food/cooking vocab thread, to avoid taking this further off topic: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/615004

                                2. re: greedygirl

                                  GG, I'm one of those Hitites I refer to above. I've even been known to parboil ribs - and got thrown out of the Kingdom of Heaven for ever and ever! But I'd still do the same for a huge party. If I were you and for your more modest affair, I'd get a BIG chunk of pretty good meat; cut it into two or three pieces for (direct and relatively quick) grilling; and then slice really thinly. One piece would be really rare, the next would be rare, and the last medium rare. Serve with different homemade sauces - spicy mexican or Asian, sweet BBQ, sweet Asian. People could serve themselves the amounts and doneness they want. People have some good ideas for sides.

                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    I've done butterflied leg of lamb before, but it's not very American, is it?

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      I barbq (sorry grill) leg of lamb all the time, bone and all, it tastes so good! Skirt steak is another good one. Serve with rolls or flatbread so everyone can make sandwiches.

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        Well it is Canadian. Had it last weekend - cooked by a fifth generation Canadian ... that's almost indigenous here. Truly excellent. And it has the advantage that you have done it before. Most of us are very forgiving about the final result of cookout food but getting it right makes it so much better.

                                        The only problem is that many people find the flavour of lamb overpowering. It certainly does not need as much seasoning as pork; most modern pork meat is fairly tasteless unless marinated / brined.

                                        I suggest you will need an addendum to the lamb.

                                  2. re: sdv231

                                    bUt like DishDelish says " there is nothing wrong with going the easy route." Even if its not authentic BBq it is still a great dish, and an easy one to do ahead.

                                3. re: greedygirl

                                  Yes, yellow mustard is like French's.

                                  Indirect cooking is just pushing the coals to the side rather than having them right under the meat--otherwise the long cooking time would scorch the hell out of the meat.

                                  As you can see from the posts here, BBQ is a sensitive topic... Try to take any advice (especially those with an absolutist tone) with a grain of salt.

                                  1. re: greedygirl


                                    I think it's unlikely you going to find hickory. I looked at the usual suspects (B & Q and my nearest "big" garden centre) about 12 months ago, after our last trip to the States. Go with whatever chips you can find in the barbie section at B & Q.

                                    French's mustard is what you need for a sauce base - try a Google for "South Carolina BBQ Sauce". I hadnt had till the last trip when we were in SC - it's heavily mustard based and is fab!

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Hey John - a quick google found the answer to your prayers. Hickory chips galore, and a cedar plank!


                                  2. re: zamorski

                                    There are some resources on Weber 's site. For the UK people that is not pronounced vay-ber but wee-ber. Here is a basic bbq intro plus a few recipes.


                                    1. re: Paulustrious

                                      Wee-ber? Where are you from?

                                      The company is located in a suburb of Chicago where I live and I've never heard it pronounced anything but Web'-er with a short "e".

                                      1. re: chicgail

                                        maybe paulustrious is talking about the tiny weber grill. LOL!

                                        btw, here is weber's uk website -- look for the charcoal grills, like the "one-touch": http://www.weberbbq.co.uk/

                                        1. re: chicgail

                                          It's also not pronounced "vay-ber" - I've always heard it pronounced as you said, chicgail - "Weh-ber", with a short "e".

                                        2. re: Paulustrious

                                          Weeber? I've never heard that. We always call it the "Web-ber" kettle. Yoicks! wrong after all these years.

                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                            wee-ber? as in "weebers wobble but they don't fall down"? ***;-).

                                            i've only heard "web-er," and that includes advertising -- here in the u.s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73BYER...
                                            apparently it is also pronounced the same (web-er) in oz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MALXYD...

                                            """Weebles trivia
                                            The 70's TV adverts and other advertising for Weebles featured the catchy and lasting phrase "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!", a phrase which has been reused as a lyric by a band called Lawnmower Deth in their song of the same name!

                                            The name Weebles is also used as a derogatory name for the Ole Miss athletic teams (University of Mississippi)."""


                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                              I'm with you and Alkapal - I always thought it was Weber, I neber eber heard Wee-ber.

                                        3. Low Country Boil is very traditional in the south. It almost cooks itself, has many nice ingredients (seafood, sausage).

                                          put in each of the following for every person:
                                          corn on the cob (1 ear or 1/2 ear)
                                          potatoes (1 red skin or idaho or sweet potato depending on your mood)
                                          onion (1 white or yellow)
                                          chicken (1 piece, doesn't matter what it is... drum, thigh etc)
                                          Kielbasa or italian sausage (1 small piece of a link)
                                          6-12 clams for each person depending on the size
                                          garlic (throw a bunch of this in)
                                          while I'm buying the stuff I might see something else I want to throw in like green peppers or chilies or turnips, just about anything goes.
                                          try putting some shell-on shrimp on top and barely cook it (it's easy to overcook shrimp)
                                          whole crabs if you can get them
                                          seasoned fish wrapped in tinfoil packages
                                          apple cut into pieces with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar wrapped in tinfoil

                                          put a small spacer in the bottom like a colander or something to keep the food out of the boiling water and put everything in layers in a pot with the potatoes, chicken and clams toward the bottom and everything else on top of that , about 1-inch of water and a few beers poured over top of everything, Old Bay seasoning or any seafood seasoning that you like , then turn it on high . the idea is to get the clams to open and juice from chicken and beers to mix and start steaming and foaming up through all the other food mixing the flavors together.

                                          1. I like the pulled pork idea. If you don't want to do that, you could do sliders for a slightly easier take on burgers (just serve them on brown & serve dinner rolls).

                                            Fish for a crowd may be a bit difficult. You could do crab cakes, which are great by themselves or on toasted buns as sandwiches. Crab cakes are good for crowds because you basically make a large mixture and form it into a bunch of patties. You can buy pretty decent flaked crab meat from your local fish mongerer/seafood shop. Here's a grilled crab cake recipe you could try:

                                            Have you thought of doing a potluck? Might make it a lot easier on you if others can bring their own dishes to share. You could just concentrate on a main and the salads you already plan to make.

                                            Good luck, and have a great time!

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: javachik

                                              GG did not say how many are attending the festivities...maybe skewered shrimp would be nice if the crabcakes don't work for the fish dish. They're easy to marinade and very quick to cook--maybe a New Orleans spicy bbq'd shrimp dish would be good.

                                              1. re: Val

                                                When I had BBQ shrimp in New Orleans, they weren't actually barbecued! (Incredibly delicious though). Do you have a recipe in mind?

                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                  I've got a recipe that is simple and easy. Delicious too. BBQ shrimp is messy but so good. I'm in a hurry right now, but i will post it for you in a couple of hours.

                                                  I've made pulled pork in my oven. Not a big deal.

                                                  I'd ditch the Ceasar salad, you've got slaw and potato salad, you might want to have a raw veggie assortment with a dip for them. Deviled eggs are a must.

                                                  I usually make blueberry pie on the 4th. I often cut stars out of pastry crust to bake on top.

                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                    That would be great - could you post recipe for oven cooked pulled pork as well please. Thanks.

                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                      Macaroni salad is traditional with us. Green salad wouldn't go over I fear.

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        We always have a relatively simple green salad at cookouts, but never ceasar. It's too rich and delicious to be one of many dishes, and it's best made to order anyway.

                                                      2. re: Candy

                                                        Still trying with photos. Don't know what is wrong and I've not used Photobucket in so long I've forgotten how.

                                                      3. re: greedygirl

                                                        BBQ shrimp is pure heaven.

                                                        Corn on the cob seems like something that has been left off ... just boil and smear with butter and salt. And I'm going with the fruit desserts as essentially American summer - peach cobbler or something like that. It is really really easy to make, serve with vanilla ice cream.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          I mentioned below. GOT to have corn on the cob, agree with you 100%. A must. I mentioned cobbler too. I love that for summer time. And slather it with ice cream and I'm there. All the best.

                                                          BBQ Shrimp is a best

                                                          FYI: off track a bit, but if you like BBQ, this was a request by a host for me to make some BBQ shrimp at a Memorial Day BBQ. I had 30 min to go to the store and buy food and then come back and 30 min till dinner. So here goes

                                                          Well they have a can of chipoltes, and a jar of generic BBQ, they also had honey, bourbon, yellow grits, cream, and onion. So I went and got a few pounds of shrimp, cilantro, scallions, manchego cheese and papaya. Well I mixed the bourbon, chipoltes, honey, BBQ sauce and let the shrimp marinade for 10-15 minutes as I got the rest ready. I started the grits on the side burner. Just in chicken broth. Added them and stirred them till creamy, added the cream, grated onion and cheese. Then I sauteed the shrimp in a very hot cast iron pan on the grill for just a couple of minutes, added in the chopped papaya and the sauce the shrimp was marinating in. Cooked all until very nice and brown. Served the shrimp and papaya over the cheese grits and topped with scallions chopped. It took literally 10 minutes and was oh so good.

                                                          Just thought I would share. It really was good.

                                                          1. re: kchurchill5

                                                            omg, that sounds delicious! what a great idea, shrimp for Father's Day. Sorry I'm sort of peeking at this for Father's Day ideas, and he (my dh along with the rest of family) love shrimp! Terrific. Though, I'm not sure about the grits, but I can make them and see what happens. I know they all love polenta, so should work out just great.

                                                            By the way, as usual, great usuage of your "on hand" ingredients! You are always so resourceful kc, I like that in a person! ps- doncha love cast iron!

                                                            I am slowly converting all of my cookware, it's so darn durable, tough, and reliable. And, I don't have to worry that I or my dh will burn the bottom out of the pan or dish!

                                                            Thanks for the help with my menu, er ah are ya busy that day??? : )

                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              You could easily use polenta, I am not as fond of grits but they had them. Polenta is my favorite. It was a really easy quick dish. And yes thank god for cast iron. I love it. I go against a lot of CH's in that cookware doesn't have to be expensive to be good. I have target, farberware, cast iron and good stuff. I like what works. But cast iron is the "bomb."

                                                              Cookin' for Daddy. He already made his request. Fresh grouper, my semi fried, micro smashed and then pan fried potatoes and green beans. He isn't too adventurous. But after 60 years of not cooking, he is learning, so it is fun.

                                                              Yes, I love the ... use what ya have. Sometimes you just have to do it. I love plans don't we all. But face it ... things go wrong, things come up and screw the plans, we have to wing it. I try, it works most times, sometimes I admit, ... it doesn't but we gave it a try at least.

                                                              Keep in touch! CC

                                                    2. re: javachik

                                                      I often do salmon on the grills for a big group. Just get big fillets. You can marinate it first and then serve with a salsa or two--mango? pineapple?

                                                    3. You might consider doing a variety of kebabs -- some with beef, some with fish or shellfish, and some just grilled veggies -- to accomodate the variety of dietary restrictions of your guests. I suppose that kebabs are not actually "American," but they are among the types of food that are often offered at American barbecues.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: masha

                                                        Nonsense! Food on a stick is as American as it gets, even if they are called kebabs.

                                                      2. how about baked beans? green goddess dressing on the salad? for fish you could do salmon on a plank or a crawfish boil. for a do-ahead & heat the day of the party, you could make chili.

                                                        how big is the crowd you're hosting?

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                          Er - not sure yet! Mr GG hasn't finalised the guest list. Probably between 12-20.

                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                            Green goddess salad is a great idea. There's a recipe in Lucques that I've been wanting to try...

                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                              I was going to suggest that as well. I finally made it last summer and it was lovely. I also like her cole slaw recipe, and the pork burgers, though the latter may not be quite traditionally "American" enough for your purposes.

                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                I love those pork burgers too and have made them several times for smaller scale BBQs, er I mean cook-outs.

                                                          2. Easiest thing to do is make a bunch of hamburger patties in advance, keep them in the fridge. Slice onion, tomato, pickles & put them on a plate (in the fridge). Condiments to serve w/mustard, ketchup & mayo. You could also grill hot dogs. Offer to grill the hotdog or hamburger buns, yum. Potato salad is a must. The American version is vegetarian and chilled. Apple pie or cupcakes would be great dessert choices, unless you've got a special birthday cake picked out.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. To be a quintasential 4th of July barbeque hambergers and hot dogs would be the way to go. If not maybe barbequed chicken. Just grill the chickens and for the last 5 minutes or so slather them with barbeque sauce. (We would probably buy , but it can be made it's mostly ketchup.)

                                                              You could barbeque sauce the shrimp for the non meat eaters and if you do hambergers you can do portobello mushrooms as "burgers".
                                                              For the salad how about the very retro, ice berg lettuce wedges with blue cheese dressing.

                                                              If you can get corn on the cob do it with either.

                                                              Dessert: Brownies, Chocolate Chip cookies, Ice Cream, and or Watermelon.
                                                              Martha Stewarts Flag cake would make the perfect birthday cake if you can get blueberrie or be creative with a sub.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                                                                When you say hot dog, what does that mean in a BBQ context? Is it just a regular sausage, or something different. Excuse the ignorance but I'm pretty sure American-style hot dogs are different to British ones. I can get Bratwurst or German-style frankfurters pretty easily in a German-owned supermarket here (Lidl).

                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  American hot dogs are not like British ones. Brats are ok, For protein, consider burgers, veggie burgers, pork ribs, chicken. BBQ sauce is essential to the ribs and chicken. Steaks grill up great also. Cole slaw and potato salad are on the money. Grilled (or boiled) sweet corn on the cob is also appropriate, as are Boston "baked beans."

                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                    If you can't get hot dogs, we always grill Italian sausage and serve with buns and mustard. German style would be great too. Not all that much different. But I could never serve yellow mustard, has to be spicy.

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      i'd venture that closest to american dogs are the german frankfurters (medium -- or fine -- texture, mildly spicy, natural casing that when grilled gives a "snap").

                                                                      btw, there are plenty of chowhound experts on sausages too. maybe they can give you some brand name ideas for you there in the u.k.

                                                                      bill hunt? you out there? ;-).

                                                                      overall, and quintessentiallly american 4th of july fare:
                                                                      mains: grilled chicken, burgers, dogs. if you're lucky you'll get bbq'd pork ribs! steamed spiced shrimp (prawns) in the shell are also good to munch on (peel and eat) while you're waiting to finish up the meats on the grill.
                                                                      sides: cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans. maybe macaroni salad, as mentioned. fresh summer corn, grilled and slathered with butter, then a little salt & pepper.
                                                                      dessert: peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream, cherry pie, and cold watermelon slices. here's my mom's southern cobbler recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/13522 (and others will dispute this "cobbler" qua "cobbler." that's how we chowhounds roll! ;-).

                                                                      have a great event with your friends! oops, almost forgot: you gotta have cold beer! ;-).

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        this is to clarify my earlier comment on frankfurters:

                                                                        A "Frankfurter Wurstchen" (Frankfurter Sausage) is a thin boilded sausage made from pure pork meat in sheep gut. Its distinctive aroma is gained by a special smoking process. They were originally packaged in wooden boxes between sheets of thin paper, which is the reason for their typical square cornered shape.

                                                                        Traditionally they are served with bread, mustard and horse radish.

                                                                        The name "Frankfurter Wurstchen" is protected in Germany since 1860 as a denomination of geographical origin and may only be used for sausages from the region around Frankfurt am Main. In Frankfurt, this sausage is known since the 13th century.

                                                                        But the name "Frankfurter" was only created to contrast it to a Viennese variety. A butcher from Frankfurt made similar sausages in Vienna (from a mixture of pork and beef) and called them "Frankfurter". His success made his sausages world famous. This is why in Austria, North America and several other states one means this Viennese varity by "Frankfurter". But in Germany the name is taken by the sausages from Frankfurt, so one calls the Viennese variety "Wiener Wurstchen" or "Wiener"."

                                                                        from kevin, on "all experts" page on germany: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Germany-14...

                                                                        most of the u.s. "hot dogs" are a beef & pork combination. (except the large contingent of "kosher" dogs. most recently "nathan's famous franks" just got a top taste test rating on a popular (with home cooks) show, "america's test kitchen." http://www.cookscountry.com/tasting/r...

                                                                        i don't know if any of those brands is available in the u.k., but you have plenty of beautiful sausages there in england anyway!

                                                                  2. Lots of great suggestions but I think if you're going to do an American BBQ theme then it should be ribs. Pork ribs. Ribs with a lot of rub, smoked and slowed cooked at 250F for 4 hours.

                                                                    Best thing is that this is the kind of party that, with a little planning, you could do, have a lot of food and very little cooking to do when your guests arrive. Prepare macaroni & cheese, cole slaw, baked beans and either pulled pork or beef brisket to go along with your ribs. Maybe even bake up some biscuits (or yorkshire pudding for an English twist) to go along and serve beer or sweet tea. Simple, slightly time-consuming but so easy when your guests arrive.

                                                                    Best thing: you could make everything the day before and just reheat. Though I do recommend double-wrapping or vac bagging the ribs and then slow reheating them in a 180F oven for a couple of hours to preserve the moisture.

                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                    1. re: onocoffee

                                                                      I think it's going to be pretty difficult for me to do proper American BBQ to be honest (I'm only just learning the difference!). I wouldn't even know where to star when it comes to smoking and slow-cooking meat outdoors. I think what I'm really talking about is grilling. Sorry for the confusion - in Britain we call anything cooked outside BBQ!

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        For you purposes grilling is perfect. Something like above rec for ribs might be perfect. You can slow cook the day before (in your oven) and then grill them w/ a bit of sauce at the party. For fish a side of salmon is easy on the grill and goes great w/a brown sugar based dry rub or a bit of BBQ sauce. I think for a proper American cookout menu you really must have corn on the cob, preferably done on the grill.
                                                                        The Brits I know all seem to love pie for an American dessert and you can get the birthday candles in and have ice cream.

                                                                        1. re: lucygoosey

                                                                          Corn on the cob is easy - it will be in season by then and available by the bucketload in my local outdoor market.

                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                            Definitely do the corn on the cob. Soak it in water for several hours (I've even ignored it for 8 hours) then throw on a low heat grill. When you start to see grill lines, turn and grill some more. It's REALLY hard to mess this up . . .which is why we make it a lot. You can wander off and chat and grab a drink and chat some more. I've yet to "ruin" it. When you pull it off the grill, each guest can shuck it on their own and add whatever they want. Personally, I think, it's perfect without anything (no butter, salt, etc.)

                                                                            I'm seconding the recommendation for beans, potato salad or deviled eggs and ditching the caesar salad.

                                                                            Fruit salad or ice cream (preferably home made) is a typical dessert.

                                                                            Do tell what your final menu will be.

                                                                            I'm inspired by your reaching out to the 'hounds - great resource here.

                                                                            1. re: JerryMe

                                                                              you can soak corn in husk for an hour, then open husk, de-silk, then put husk back up aroubd the corn to grill it -- keeps it moister, in my opinion. key is not to overcook, whether you cook it in husk or directly in the grate. (so test, test, test!).

                                                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                                                          I'm not a Brit, but when I cook outside I call in BBQ too. I know the difference here but sometimes just say come over for a BBQ and it isn't a traditional BBQ. Just make what you like. Ribs can be cooked in the oven just fine and then put on the grill at the end with some sauce. I cook mine for 2 1/2 - 3 hours baby back ribs, a little beer in the ban covered with foil. When done move to the grill, Just a couple of minutes and a little sauce and presto. One of the girls on here just made this memorial day weekend and she loved them. They turn out great every time without much work.

                                                                          Corn can be done on the grill or many times I roast them in the oven if space is an issue. They are better than boiling to me but either way. Your guests I am sure will love it. I cook my corn in the husk, I also wrap in foil and cook in the oven. Drizzle a little olive oil, s/p and then wrap and foil and bake in the oven. Then come out nice and crisp and tender. I also do that on the grill as well.

                                                                          1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                            In Canada a BBQ means a meal where we cook on a mechanical BBQ. It also means that one or two men, who never normally cook, consider themselves king of the grill and immediately pile everything on, turning frequently to ensure everything is uniformly overcooked. Burgers, being flat, can be conveniently stacked to ensure they remain warm and no trace of internal pinkness is evident.

                                                                            I think the worst BBQ food I've ever had was in from the UK.

                                                                            One advantage in the UK is that ribs are not considered a 'premium' cut. The attitude there is more like "Why pay lots of money for bones?". So although meat is more expensive there ribs are relatively cheap.

                                                                              1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                I am laughing out loud for real at this definition. Maybe the Brit can make a July 4th celebration where the Brits win. I had heard rumors that in Japan they made a version of King Kong vs Godzilla, where Godzilla won the battle.

                                                                            1. re: greedygirl


                                                                              Many of us in the U.S. ALSO call grilling BBQing. We certainly do and so do our friends. We call the apparatus (grill) the "BBQ".

                                                                          2. I attached a simplified method for pulled port to your May 31, post by mistake. Look up
                                                                            there for it. It will bring howls of protest from the purists but it works fine. I realize the
                                                                            problems one faces trying to BBQ in the UK

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. GG - Mr. Gio's birthday is 4 July also and in the time honored tradition of some the dinnrer is:
                                                                              Roasted Salmon
                                                                              Garden Peas (any way you want to make them)
                                                                              Strawberry Shortcake.(with Real whipped cream)
                                                                              And anything else TDB wants.

                                                                              Of course with more guests, other sides and mains are included. But that's the menu for family here. .

                                                                              27 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                Grilled whole salmon might be a good option - I guess if I wrapped it in foil I could put it on the BBQ (grill), maybe after I'd cooked ribs or whatever, so the heat is less intense?

                                                                                I don't suppose your birthday is in June is it? Maybe we're doppelgangers!

                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                  Hah.... that would be fun.. but no. I'm an October Scorpio.

                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    Don't wrap the salmon, just put it on the grill. It's so much better. Use 2 spatulas to turn it.

                                                                                    1. re: lucygoosey

                                                                                      I could give that a go - but I'd be scared of it breaking up.

                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                        alternately, you could put the salmon on a cedar plank (you need to soak the wood plank)


                                                                                        or you could wrap the salmon in grape leaves, etc.

                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                          I'm not sure where I would get said plank, to be honest.

                                                                                          Loads of great ideas here, folks! Good job I've got a month to plan it. ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                            You can order a cedar plank online, or here....we can get them at hardware stores.
                                                                                            But you really don't even have to turn the salmon. The skin will burn off the bottom, and you can save that for people who like to eat it. (I have a friend who thinks it's the best part !) But the salmon will cook just fine without turning it.

                                                                                            1. re: perk

                                                                                              I think you're right - especially as it's a kettle grill with a lid.

                                                                                          2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                            I have broken it before and watched a lovely meal fall into the ashes below . . .

                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                              You could buy a fish basket for your grill. You put the fish into a sort-of two sided basket with a handle that allows you to flip the whole thing without having to risk breaking the fish.


                                                                                              I've also steamed fish on the grill in foil packets with all sorts of aromatics added in. They come out lovely.

                                                                                              You can also do all kinds of veggie kababs. Skewer mushrooms, peppers, eggplant chunks, tomatoes, small potatoes, chunks of pineapple, etc. and lay across the grill.

                                                                                              4th of July for us is always brats with kraut, burgers, corn on the cob, potato salad, coleslaw, a green, crisp garden salad usually with ranch dressing, watermelon and strawberry shortcake (my mom likes to make it with angel food cake). Oh, and I always grill the corn. No boiling for me. I think it does funny things to the texture. Ranch dressing is really easy to make yourself, too. I really like this recipe from pioneer woman:


                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                I do mine like that all the time. Also get a cedar plank. Don't order a fancy one, Just get a cedar plank untreated from any home lumber store. Soak for a hour or longer and then put on the grill heat up and put the salmon on. I have been given the expensive ones. The ones from the lumber store work just as well and cheap. And you can get the size you want.

                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                  I'm not sure that lumber stores in the UK stock cedar wood, but I'll have a look. Thanks for the tip.

                                                                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                  Go for it - it is so easy. While the fillet is the obvious way to go, salmon 'chops' are less likely to be damaged. Here is my advice which others may disagree with.

                                                                                                  Brining: Soak the salmon for 2-3 hours (2 is safer) in a 5% salt and 3% sugar solution by weight .
                                                                                                  Dissolve 100g salt, 60 gms sugar in 2000g / 2 litres of water.
                                                                                                  Add any seasoning you like - bay, thyme, sage, corriander seeds, pepper.
                                                                                                  Heat until all is dissolved, then allow to cool to below 30C.
                                                                                                  Put fillets and brine in a resealable bag squeezing out the air so they are toatally immersed.
                                                                                                  Remove two hours later and discard brine unless you reuse it immediately for more salmon.
                                                                                                  Pat dry.
                                                                                                  Store for 24 - 48 hours in a fridge UNCOVERED and turn once or twice, discarding any liquid that my leak out. Brined salmon keeps fresh a lot longer.
                                                                                                  This will form a sticky outside layer called a pellicle. If you do decide to use a rub it will stick better. The brine also sucks a little moisture out of the fish making it more dense.

                                                                                                  Take the salmon out of the fridge at least two hours before using it. You need the core temperature near to room temperature. There is no risk of spoilage.

                                                                                                  Cut into pieces that you can comfortable turn with a fish slice. (This is one occasion where it is a better word than spatula). If you can follow the grain of the fish the pieces are less likely to fall apart.

                                                                                                  The grilling is down to you, but do not turn it over more than once. Contrary to common advice do most of the cooking on 'side 2'. If you turn it when well undercooked then it will stay in one piece. If it gets near being cooked through then it may flake as you turn it. If you turn it over after cooking both side you are courting disaster.

                                                                                                  An alternative approach is to grill on a soaked cedar plank. You can even sandwich between two cedar shims and then turn the whole sandwich over.

                                                                                                  (I have been out of the UK for so long now ... what is the UK for Ziplock which is a brand name that now has become generic, like Hoover in the UK.)

                                                                                              2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                Oh, oh! There is a really nice roasted salmon (with rosemary and red onions) on epicurious. That might work for the fish dish...

                                                                                              3. re: Gio

                                                                                                Love! the idea of strawberry shortcake for 4 July. Go all out southern and serve it on biscuits (can be done ahead of time and frozen; they reheat quite well). You could add some blueberries to the macerated strawberries and, with the whipped cream, you'll be waving the red, white, and blue.

                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                  I think strawberry shortcake would be a nice fusion of American and British actually, with the red/white/blue theme reflecting the Union Jack as well as the Stars and Stripes.

                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                    Shortcake, cobber and pie. All cook. You could do a nice mix of blueberries and strawberries. What a nice shortcake and so easy ahead of time.

                                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                      And lots of icy cold watermelon, a July 4th must.

                                                                                                      1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                        I think I may of mentioned this, but watermelon ice cubes but into mango rum and club soda is wonderful, or just club soda or vodka or even white wine.

                                                                                                        Or just watermelon on it's own.

                                                                                                        1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                          Frank Stitt's book has a lovely recipe for Watermelon Margaritas - very strong, and very delicious. Happy to provide details if anyone is interested.

                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                            In my vegan, marathon running days I would sometimes do a 1 week watermelon fast. I would love a watermelon Margarita recipe.

                                                                                                          2. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                            Or American apple pie. Take a UK apple pie and add lots of cinnamon.

                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                Yeah, the "lots of cinnamon" kind of threw me for a loop when I first read it.

                                                                                                                Some cinnamon in the sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg/flour mix to toss with the apples before baking? Yes, maybe a half to one teaspoon. But "lots"? Absolutely no.

                                                                                                  2. Hi,
                                                                                                    Pulled Pork is really easy if done ahead of time, we have an easy recipe with a basic meat rub overnight, then we smoke the pork shoulder roast for two hours on indirect heat (you build a charcoal fire on one side of the grill and then put the pork on the other side off the heat) and add smoker pellets or soaked chips whatever and smoke for two hours then we wrap it in foil and cook in the over for a couple hours on 325 comes out great every time, we pull apart then add whatever BBQ sauce you like, I would think for a crowd that would be the easiest, since you can do it all ahead of time. Sounds like a great party.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: tidecreek

                                                                                                      i think a hybrid recipe like this would work best for GG's purposes. i'd rec using a hard fruitwood (apple, cherry, pear, crabapple, whatever) for the wood chips instead of hickory, which i'd imagine would be hard to get in britain (i prefer fruitwood anyway).

                                                                                                      1. re: tidecreek

                                                                                                        Thanks for this. Could you elaborate a bit please, bearing in mind that I've never even tasted pulled pork!

                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                          I agree about the fruitwoods I like them better than hickory too for pork, we basically started using America's Test Kitchen's recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork and morphed our own from there, they have a really nice easy to understand diagram step by step showing how to do everything but you;d have to join their website to get it, I let my membership go awhile ago, got tired of paying $19.95 to use the website when I subscribe to the magazine. I'm sure you can do your own with all the advice here its really simple, the smoke gives it the best flavor, and finishing in the oven makes it so easy and its always better the next day, we usually make it a day ahead of time and then reheat it in the crockpot on the day of the party.

                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl


                                                                                                            Pulled pork must be America's greatest contribution to world food. Bar none.

                                                                                                            Start by thinking the texture and taste of slow-roast belly pork, but with an added smokiness (which can be very subtle or not subtle at all). And, from there on in, you are in dangerous territory, as you'll have seen BBQ is an individual/regional thing and everyone has their own style.


                                                                                                        2. Pulled pork you can easily do ahead, and agreed not traditional BBQ, but in the crock pot it is really good and easy, frees up the grill.

                                                                                                          I love to grill romaine. I take romaine hearts and cut in 1/3's feeds 6 people, just drizzle with olive oil and grill for 2-3 minutes. Serve with blue cheese and perfect.

                                                                                                          Potato salad I agree is a must. Corn on the cob as well. If a large pot on the stove. You can make a blue cheese butter or a herbed butter, simple and not much too it. I would do one potato salad with a vinaigrette and a macaroni salad with mayo, just 2 versions.
                                                                                                          FYI when I make corn on the cob I cut them in half or even thirds, put a skewer through them and then grill it. It makes it easy for adults and kids to eat.

                                                                                                          Apple pie or cobbler with any local fruits which was a thread earlier is a great easy desert that I love. Fresh fruit of the season. Sometimes kabobs are fun and easy.

                                                                                                          Maybe some shrimp and vegetable kabobs. Easy to make, can be made ahead. A simple marinade and then just grill up with a couple of sauces. Great for vegetarians and for seafood lovers.

                                                                                                          A love a spicy chick pea salad with black olives, red peppers, artichokes, green olives, scallions and a light vinaigrette, some feta cheese and it is a great simple side.

                                                                                                          Grilled sausages also are a easy good dish. You can make these ahead and just reheat. Cut in large pieces and reheated. You can serve these will grilled rolls as well.

                                                                                                          1. See my 'dinner party' thread below. I wasn't trying for 'classic southern bbq' but that's pretty much what I got! Corn on the cob, homemade baked beans (very simple if you start with canned beans and slow-cook them...), pulled pork or bbq ribs (pulled pork is easier to cook for a crowd because it's one big piece of meat instead of five hundred small ones), and chicken of some kind. Of course with potato salad, coleslaw, and watermelon.

                                                                                                            1. OK so a few people have mentioned devilled eggs. What are they?

                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                they're great! you hardboil some eggs, chill them, peel them, slice in half lengthwise, remove their yolks (reserve the hardboiled white parts of the egg, flat side up on a plate).

                                                                                                                then take all the hardboiled yolks and mash them together with some mayonnaise and seasonings (s&p, curry, sriracha, chiles, whatever you want), until it looks like a creamy spread or frosting, then you pipe this yolk mixture back onto/into the egg halves, garnish, set the platter out. your guests pick up an egg half and eat it in one or two bites. a very traditional american party food that's still wildly popular among all age groups. there are about ten zillion variations on the theme.

                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                  They are classic. I still a little mayo, a 1/2 teaspoon to a teaspoon of mustard mixed in with the yolk, some s/p, a little dill. My favorite. Blue cheese is ok but that is if your guests like bc, but I normally just stick to the basic. Also, some like a little horshradish sauce. I do but a few of my friends don't like it. so basics again. Top with a little paprika for color.

                                                                                                                  It is a old standard but still well loved by many. For me ... I gobble them up.

                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                    There is an excellent recipe in Tansin Day-Lewis' book Good Tempered Food. She combines the cooked yolks with tapenade and then stuffs that back into the white halves. I frequently use a pastry bag with a large star tip to fill the whites. Another presentation idea I use is after hard cooking and peeling, cut the eggs in half horizontally and trim a small slice off of each egg white so that they can stand up on a platter.

                                                                                                                    Sometimes instead of mayo in my deviled eggs, I use a combination of anchovy past, dry mustard and unsalted butter. Mash that up and mix it with the cooked yolks and stuff.

                                                                                                                    There are many many variations on deviled eggs. If you Google up recipes for them you might be amazed.

                                                                                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                    Take hard boiled eggs, remove the yolks and mix with mayo, mustard, etc. (there are lots of different varieties but those are sort of the standard) and then refilled the egg white with this mixture. A bit of paprika on top for some color. I like an curried version of this even better myself. My husband can't stand devilled eggs, but they're actually my favorite eggs.

                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                      Do what the previous posters have mentioned, and add bleu cheese crumbles and a bit of horseraddish. Delicious.

                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                        Deviled eggs are quintessential starters for American cookouts and are, as soupkitten says, wildly popular. These two threads will give you more ideas for them than you can shake a stick at, to use an Americanism:


                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                          They sound very much like a dish that I used to eat a lot in France when staying with a very talented, old-school cook - oeufs mimosa. I remember quite liking it, but haven't thought about it for years.

                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                            yes!! ouefs mimosa! that's the analog for our deviled eggs. and yes, it is an american staple -- anytime of year. they are always "hoovered up" by guests ;-).

                                                                                                                      2. BBQ Shrimp


                                                                                                                        1 tsp. cayenne
                                                                                                                        1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
                                                                                                                        1/2 tsp. salt
                                                                                                                        1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
                                                                                                                        1/2 tsp/ ground thyme
                                                                                                                        1/2 tsp. ground rasemary
                                                                                                                        1/8 tsp oregano

                                                                                                                        1 qtr. stick butter + 5 Tbs. unsalted butter
                                                                                                                        1 1/2 tsp freshly chopped garlic
                                                                                                                        1/2 C. seafood stock
                                                                                                                        1/4 C. beer

                                                                                                                        If you have head n shrimp, pinch them off, then rinse in cold water.

                                                                                                                        In a small bowl, combine the seasoning ingredients. Combine 8 Tbs. butter with garlic, Worcestershire in a skillet. When well combined and hot add the shrimp. Cook shaking the pan, ad the stock and remaining butter. Cook 2 minutes moire. Add beer and cok shaking the pan 1 minute more. Servewith lots of French bread or rice.

                                                                                                                        Photo is of BBQ shrimp at Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge, Louisana along with Crawfish pie, potato salad. Finger bowls with lemon to clean the fingers. Fab lunch. Other customers were asking us to order for them. The Macques Chou was to die for.

                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                            i looked at that too. so, it's 2 T of regular butter (a quarter stick, right?), and 5 T of unsalted butter. (still a bit short of 4 oz, right? by 1 T).
                                                                                                                            but then the recipe says 8 T. where am i calculating incorrectly?

                                                                                                                            seems odd to not just use all one type, and adjust the salt level. heck, i'd just throw in a stick of butter, then taste for salt.
                                                                                                                            but candy, however one gets there, the shrimp look good!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                gotcha -- so, only a TOTAL of 8 T? or one stick (1/4 lb.) of salted *and* 5 T of unsalted?
                                                                                                                                (hey, i'm a butter fan, so, it's all good for me!).

                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I gt confused, 1/4 lb is right. Not 1/4 stick.

                                                                                                                                  Have lots of napkins or towels on hand this is very messy but delicious eating. The restaurant served up finger bowls with slices of lemon in them so we could rinse as we ate.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Candy

                                                                                                                            missing photo

                                                                                                                            Something wrong here, photo will not attach. Tried twice don' know what is wrong. Don't forget watermelon

                                                                                                                            1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                              I keep trying. The stuff that s dark is BBQ shrimp

                                                                                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                That sounds like the dish I had at Mr B's Bistro in New Orleans. Crazy good. Probably the heartstopping quantity of butter.

                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                  LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, Mr. B's..........I dont believe it is there anymore

                                                                                                                              2. Lordy. You bit off a mess of American melting-pot opinion there.

                                                                                                                                At this point in history, most of us Yanks who are paying attention use the term "barbecue" to refer to a very time-consuming, rather tedious, somewhat secretive and truly arcane slow-cooking process involving indirect heat, hardwoods, smoke, and lots and lots of time. It originated in the Caribbean, we think.

                                                                                                                                What you are planning is a cook-out. Here in the South, we like a few things to always be present at a cook-out. Tater salad (the mayonnaise variety), grilled corn on the cob, coleslaw, tater chips, pickles, hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwursts, that sort of thing. Lots of condiments like ketchup, mayo, yellow mustard, pickle relish, etc.

                                                                                                                                Those of us with deeper roots in the South went to a lot of church picnics where cold fried chicken and deviled eggs were added to the mix, maybe a few casseroles, but that's getting into picnic/homecoming territory.

                                                                                                                                You Brits eat lots of sausages, maybe grill various high-quality bangers instead of worrying about hamburgers and hotdogs. Grilled bangers take nicely to cookout condiments and side dishes, trust me.

                                                                                                                                Forget trying to do the BBQ pork thing. You ain't got the skills or the gear or the time to do it right, most of us don't. Just adapt your favorite grill-able meat products to our cookout traditions and you guys should be happy. American potato salad is priceless, and you'll flip over how good some of our coleslaw is on a grilled banger on a hotdog bun.

                                                                                                                                Now, if you really want to freak out your friends, make deviled eggs. That's the secret to all great cookouts and picnics and homecoming celebrations. Deviled eggs are evil good. And they are just about as American as it gets. My dear sainted and departed GrandMama Johnson will be proud.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                                                                                                  Ahha. My Charleston guru.

                                                                                                                                  Thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts, jimmy, when we were planning our Charleston trip - we did some great eating thanks to yours and some other comments.


                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                    Cool! We're heading back there in a few weeks, hopefully. Love that town. Great food, great beaches, love it. I need a vacation....

                                                                                                                                  2. re: uptown jimmy

                                                                                                                                    Excellent post Jimmy, however deviled eggs are as American as apple pie.

                                                                                                                                    at random ... http://ask.yahoo.com/20031020.html

                                                                                                                                  3. Thanks for all the great ideas. I'm slowly coming up with a plan. On the shortlist:

                                                                                                                                    Devilled eggs
                                                                                                                                    Green godess salad
                                                                                                                                    Coleslaw and potato salad
                                                                                                                                    Bourbon-glazed ribs
                                                                                                                                    Whole salmon cooked on a cedar plank
                                                                                                                                    Corn on the cob

                                                                                                                                    I'd really like to try pulled pork but done in the oven. Does anyone have a great recipe (most of the ones I found on other threads required a crock pot, which I don't possess). Do you cook it in BBQ sauce or mix it in later?

                                                                                                                                    26 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                      Have you looked at the Goin pork recipe - don't remeber the name off hand, but it calls for bringing the pork for a day or two etc.? It looks amazing, and I saw her make it on a TV show once.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                        Is that the pork confit? The other option is making some kind of cheat's porchetta, but it doesn't fit with my theme, dammit!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                          Yes - it is the confit - just went and looked at the recipe. It calls for a huge amount of duck or pork fat, and brining it some big container - which I don't have room for. But, it just occurred to me - I could try just cooking a pound of pork shoulder and see how it goes.

                                                                                                                                          You then grill (or sear on the stove top) the slices of pork.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                            GG i don't have a recipe for a hybrid pulled pork 1/2 done on bbq 1/2 done in oven, but what you'll want to do is get your hands on a nice pork shoulder (i prefer bone in, but boneless works too). brine it or rub it according to your taste, perhaps leaving sugar out of the rub, since your weber is on the small side(? don't know for sure--but sugar may burn & make the meat bitter). build a charcoal fire in your grill and soak woodchips in water. (i'd use fruitwood, hickory's fine if you can get it but will have a stronger taste).

                                                                                                                                            when the coals have gone to white, move them over on one side of the grill, place a drip pan (something cheap, like a large old can or foil pan or something) on the other side. fill this pan with either sand or water (or water/cheap beer). put the pork shoulder fat side up on the grill over the pan, and throw the soaked wood chips on the hot coals. this will provide the wood smoke required. cover the grill. you'll want to maintain a steady slow heat inside the weber of between 200 degrees F to 250 degrees F (93-121 C). you're basically roasting/baking inside a grill, with smoke. you will need to add more coals & chips as you go, but don't remove the grill cover *at all* to check on the pork shoulder unless you have to add fuel. & don't try to hurry this/do this over a higher heat. smoke the shoulder for 2 or 3 hours. then, remove the pork shoulder to a roasting pan with rack and put it in a low oven of the same temp as the grill and cook until done (the slow cooking will melt the collagen, making this tough cut meltingly tender (quick cooking does not do this, which is why boiling etc doesn't achieve a good result). cool the pork shoulder and then shred or "pull" the pork with your fingers or two forks. when you slice into the pork shoulder you will see a deep colored "smoke ring" where the smoke penetrated. this provides the characteristic real bbq flavor. when the pork shoulder is shredded & you're ready for the party, heat it up, using a little pork fat if you can. you can mix in an american-style regional bbq sauce if you wish, or serve it on the side for people to add. the bbq sandwiches are generally served on cheap soft white bread (like wonder bread) or a soft (not crusty) roll. coleslaw is good on top of a bbq pork sandwich. some folks like pickles.

                                                                                                                                            i suppose you could roast a whole pork shoulder in the oven, then shred and add bbq sauce/liquid smoke etc. this will be much less authentic, though some people who do it this way say that it is fine. purists will state that you need real smoke to make real bbq. i don't think you need to worry too much about what folks on the other side of the puddle have to say about what you serve in your own backyard, though-- if either method sounds workable and fun to you, you should go for it :)

                                                                                                                                        2. re: greedygirl


                                                                                                                                          As upthread, you just want a long slow roast. I've tried it with shoulder which is what's usually recommended on CH, but it didnt work too well, so I'm back to using a belly joint. I've only done small joints (say 750g) and it take about 3 hours at 150. You get great soft meat and still get crackling (if not, peel it off and whack it under the grill for a couple of minutes to crisp).

                                                                                                                                          The "pulling" part is the stripping it into shreds. You want a texture of pork that been so long cooked that you can shred with a couple of forks - like Peking duck in the Chinese restaurant. You mix sauce in later - if you're making your own, leave it in a dish so folk can help themslves.

                                                                                                                                          Isnt there a "cheats porchetta" recipe in the "Jamie at Home" book?

                                                                                                                                          And, by the way, is this gig at your place "dahn sarf" or Mr GG's home area in Mobberley (in which case I'm gonna gatecrash - food sounds brill).


                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                            Interesting. Do you know why the shoulder didn't work too well - not enough fat maybe? I think I should probably test run this or face major disaster on the day of the party!

                                                                                                                                            And sorry to disappoint, but it's going to be in our back garden in London town.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                              Agreed about the test run. it'll be fun.

                                                                                                                                              No idea why it didnt work. I don't usually use a meat thermometer but did on this occasion; strictly followed the CH recipe and took it out when the meat had reached declared temp (and, yes, I'd done a proper conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius), but it just wasnt cooked enough to "pull". It was OK to eat though - just about - bloody disappointing - it was an expensive piece of Savin Hill's organic "Middle White". I have it in mind Savin sell at Borough Market sometimes - if you see it, snap it up - good bit of piggy.


                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                Do the test run any time, the meat freezes perfectly well so you can thaw and serve at your party. You have to use pork shoulder, I find it mostly at Spanish (meaning South American) markets, usually weighs around 8 or 10 #. Sorry don't know your weight. Sometimes called Pernil (Cuban name I believe). Anyway it's the cheapest meat you'll find, under $1 here on sale. I braise for 4 or 5 hours myself.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                              Try slow braise to 190F for a pork shoulder.

                                                                                                                                            3. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                              These threads are spefically about pulled pork made in the oven, and should be helpful (as you will see, the sauce goes on after the cooked pork is pulled):


                                                                                                                                              And I would submit that you should do pulled pork OR ribs, but to do both might be too much, given you'll have salmon and brats. Serve pulled pork in sauce (you can go with a tomatoey one, mustard-based, or vinegar-based - depends on what US region!) on rolls; it's traditional to have coleslaw in the sandwich.

                                                                                                                                              Oh, and if you want a really American way of cooking bratwurst, go for the Midwestern (where brats are made, are a major tradition because of German immigrants) method of simmering them in beer with onions before grilling (barbecuing, to you). This thread has some details:


                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                Thanks Caitlin - v. helpful. I take your point about too much food - my motto is never knowingly undercatered!!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                  Oh, too much is always better than worrying if not enough! It's not even about too much (though those pork shoulders can be pretty big!) so much as pork ribs with barbecue sauce and pulled pork with sauce being a bit redundant.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                    Never knowingly undercatered...

                                                                                                                                                    First good laugh of the day. Understand and empathise completely.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                    I totally agree, the pork or the ribs salmon and brats. Too much food.

                                                                                                                                                    Go a bit more simplified. Brats, I cook or simmer in beer and then Grill. 100 and 1 ways to do that. I like a simple simmer in beer and then grill in a bun, kraut I like but some like just mustard and onions or any other toppings.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                      I'm with you. Great menu but the meats are far more elaborate than a "typical" american BBQ. I'd do brats in beer and one of your meats, or just grilled chicken.

                                                                                                                                                      Also IMO no BBQ is complete without watermelon. And brownies for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                    I do the pulled pork in my Le Creuset pot. Any pot big enough to hold the pork shoulder covered and heavy enough for the long slow cooking will be fine. I season my pork well with a small bit of brown sugar, salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne for a bit of heat, garlic studded into the meat and some smoked paprika,(the Spanish stuff is so good). Put it in the oven, I usually set it at 275F and let it cook until it starts to pullaway from the bones. You can do this several days ahead and refrigerate the meat until you are rady.

                                                                                                                                                    When it is done I carefully remove the skin and place it back in the oven on a baking sheet until it is really crisp and brown. That is called cracklings and is good for nibbling on or in corn bread etc.

                                                                                                                                                    When you can handle the pork, pull it apart in chunks and shreds. This you can do ahead. When ready to eat, rewarm the pork and serve it up with sauce on the side. You might see if you can have several to try.

                                                                                                                                                    Southern Living Magazine had an article many years ago on America's regional tastes in "Q". To be brief, in Texas expect beef brisket and sausage (German influence) there. Their sauce is usually sweeter than i care for and tomatoey. In the south it is pork and a variety of saucing styles abound. In Savannah my favorite has always been Johnny Harris' sauce it is spicy, smokey and has some mustard in it. In South Carolina you will see a yellower sauce with more mustard and a bit sweet. Costal North Carolina have a vinegar, crushed pepper, salt and black pepper sauce. Some times a pinch of sugar is added as a flavor enhancer. In the Mountains of NC they use a thicker sauce. Sometimes sweet and smoky sometimes spicy, I've had both and really lile the costal variety with the meat piled high on the bun and topped with coleslaw. A really unusual BBQ is made not far from where i live, just over the state line in Kentucky and it is pretty much confined to the Owensboro, KY area. They BBQ mutton. It is pretty tasty stuff. Also served at many BBQ places are Burgoo and Brunswick stews. You might want to Google those up too just for curiosity.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for this recipe, Candy. Roughly how long do you need to cook the meat for? Abnd is there a difference between pork shoulder and pork butt?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                        Samething. How long it cooks depends on the size of the chunk of meat. After about 2-3 hours I start checking to see if the meat is meltingly tender and pulling away from the bone.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                          The pork butt is part of the pork shoulder....also called Boston Butt here in the colonies

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                        greedygirl, that's a great tentative menu! a feast indeed. now, all you need is dessert. i vote for cobbler and ice cream, cherry pie, and cold watermelon (which you could serve as shooters, or a granita spiked with some flavored liqueur -- maybe ouzo?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                          There's a boozy watermelon recipe involving creme de cassis in Bon Appetit y'all that I might try. It sound amazing.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                            For a dinner party last summer, I made Watermelon Margaritas from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table. They were just superb and I can’t wait for an excuse to make them again. Here’s my report on them: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4852... And here’s a recipe: http://food.yahoo.com/blog/southernta...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                              Yum. Love the fact that it makes four "powerful" drinks!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                Watermelon Mojitos is another, mint watermelon, rum and need I say more

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for posting that - I couldn't find a link the other day, and hadn't gotten around to posting the ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I gotta agree with the pulled pork idea...a desert idea might be praline ice cream sandwiches. Always a big hit with youngins and grown ups alike.

                                                                                                                                                            1. How about chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches for dessert?
                                                                                                                                                              Watermelon is a must too.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Since you mentioned a "crowd", for the non-vegetarian main, I'd still be tempted to do ONE meat intended for large numbers - like the pork shoulder/butt that's been such a topic of discussion here. Otherwise, you'll end up cooking throughout your party rather than enjoying your party. Just slow roast it in the oven till falling apart, or just before, then put it on a covered grill - indirect heat with some SOAKED wood chips/chunks for smoke - for about an hour to impart a light smoky flavor into the meat. It's pretty impossible to overcook a butt if done on low heat. Word to the wise: If you smoke it first and finish in the oven, you have the potential of the whole house smelling of smoke.

                                                                                                                                                                Emeril has a recipe that could be used as a guideline. Just make sure you use bone-in (flavor, plus when it gets hot, it aids in the cooking process so that the outside doesn’t dry out before the inside is done) and don’t trim the fat. Additionally, I’d definitely use a rub other than his.


                                                                                                                                                                Putting it on the smokey grill to finish will allow you to get some natural BBQ smoke into the meat, but still allow you to be in "control" with a conventional cooking method. And you don't *have* to tell your guests! ;=) Instead, you can WOW them when you lift the lid and a bellow of smoke escapes to reveal a luscious chunk of beautiful pork.

                                                                                                                                                                When cooking is complete, either with gloved hands or a couple of forks, remove the bone and shred the meat (get your friends involved with this while you pull out the “fixin’s”) and douse with a generous amount of your favorite BBQ sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                “Pulled” pork sandwiches are traditionally served on a bun with coleslaw included as part of the sandwich. Sideliner condiments should always include, but not be limited to: sliced onion (red or white), sliced dill pickles, sliced jalapenos, salad peppers, add’l bbq sauce. Traditional Texas sides include potato salad, some type of baked beans and coleslaw. Desserts include a cobbler and/or ice cream. And ALWAYS, beer at a BBQ!

                                                                                                                                                                Rubs can range from sweet (brown sugar) to savory (oregano, coriander) to spicy hot (chili pepper). My favorite includes brown sugar, cumin, mustard and some heat from different peppers, but rubs vary greatly by region as do sauces. Do a google search and pick one that suits your taste bud’s “eye”.

                                                                                                                                                                You could also use this method for chicken or beef brisket. In fact, if I were doing chicken, I’d cook it off a day ahead – just bring it to room temp before putting it on the grill to finish. Hope you have a great party!!! And Happy 4th!

                                                                                                                                                                Edit: If you were to do the oven to smoker method, when transferring to the smoker be certain to put the meat on tray or mesh grate to keep it from falling through the grill grates......

                                                                                                                                                                1. Some thoughts for beverages:
                                                                                                                                                                  American Beer
                                                                                                                                                                  Lemonade (American is just lemons juice, sugar or simple syrup and water...no fizz and actually has juice in it)
                                                                                                                                                                  and this one maybe tough there, but ICE TEA, ywith the option for Arnold Palmers which are half lemonade and half ice tea.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Well, a *very, very* traditional American feast for Independence Day is:

                                                                                                                                                                    Salmon (you have access to exquisite wild Atlantic salmon, we don't anymore on this side of the pond)
                                                                                                                                                                    Shad roe
                                                                                                                                                                    Spring peas
                                                                                                                                                                    If new potatoes are starting to come in, then those too
                                                                                                                                                                    Strawberry shortcake (shortcake here being something like a somewhat flaky scone), with whipped cream

                                                                                                                                                                    Iced tea, abhorrent to many denizens of the British Isles, would also be appropriate. But lager (not ale) or lemonade would also do - they must be cold, of course, because ever since Frederick Tudor of Boston revolutionized the world ice trade 200 some odd years ago, Americans have a national affection for ice cold beverages, and are very unapologetic about it (we know, for example, that the sweetness of our soft drinks is calibrated to such cold, and is skewed when not imbibed cold).

                                                                                                                                                                    As you can see, these all are ingredients at their seasonal peak in late spring/early summer (at least in the eastern US coastal areas, traditionally).

                                                                                                                                                                    Now, this is a meal that has almost become historical rather than living. But you could do it and proudly re-introduce your guests to something thoroughly traditional for the day.

                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                      Hi Karl. That sounds like a traditional summer meal over here too, but more early summer than July.

                                                                                                                                                                      Not sure about iced tea - I'm one of those Brits who's not keen, but a friend who imports tea recently gave me some special variety from a recent buying trip to Malawi which is apparently excellent for iced tea.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                        karl, shad roe is over, unfortunately. probably *highly* unlikely to find there in england, in any event. and, while i love peas, they ain't bbq fare.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, this may be traditional Northeastern American (only NE American, really) Independance Day fare, but it's not cookout food.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                              Indeed, the OP has grilled salmon on her menu. But grilled food and typical American "cookout" aren't necessarily synonymous, and greedygirl was looking for the latter specifically - which is why she thought of and/or had suggested to her dishes such as potato salad, cole slaw, deviled eggs, and barbecued meats, which I think are common fourth of July menu items at backyard barbecues throughout the US, with regional variations.

                                                                                                                                                                              The menu you posted sounds lovely to me, but it doesn't answer the question it seems the OP was asking. I am glad she's considering strawberry shortcake, though, as I agree that it's an ideal, and typical, Independance Day dessert (certainly my favorite).

                                                                                                                                                                      2. MS GG, can you get a copy of the newest issue of Saveur? I think all of your problems will be solved. The issue is all about Texas and Texas style "Q", there is even a rub recipe. I am still reading through it, I have Texas roots in my family.


                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                          Hi Candy - the answer is I'm not sure if it's on sale here. I've never seen it, but then I've never looked.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                            here's the web version of this "texas" issue of saveur: http://www.saveur.com/article/Food/Re... (recipes).

                                                                                                                                                                            ps, i love this texas "caviar": http://www.saveur.com/article/Food/Te...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal


                                                                                                                                                                              I just got home from a trip to the Southwest U.S. and found this HUGE MONSTER of a topic. GG must be going nuts (in a good way and a bad way).

                                                                                                                                                                              I hadn't thought of the latest Saveur Texas issue, and I totally agree about the "Texas Caviar" recipe. Also lots of other recipes in the issue - great for summer cooking and probably containing recipes useful for Mr. GG's big day. I

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                hi oakjoan, i hope you had a great trip and some delicious food.

                                                                                                                                                                                yes, indeedy, this thread has surprised me, too. the saveur website is very generous with all of its free information. i enjoyed browsing around, and need to go back and have another look (or two). i am looking forward to GG's party, too! i want pictures and details. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                  "i want pictures and details. ;-)."

                                                                                                                                                                                  The hell with pictures and details. I want an invitation!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                      If you're in the neighbourhood, I'd be more than happy to see you all! lol

                                                                                                                                                                          2. You know what always toasts my buns (pun intended) is that no one, NO ONE, ever thinks to mention Kansas City when talking about Bar-B-Que. Some of the best in the country is from the midwest and around the area.

                                                                                                                                                                            For us here in Iowa, an average "cook out" or "grill out" would have:

                                                                                                                                                                            Hamburgers, Brats / dogs, chicken or pork of some kind for people that don't eat beef, a few really nice steaks for people that want one. (Not sure about beef over there, I have heard that American beef is much different.)

                                                                                                                                                                            Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad or cole-slaw.

                                                                                                                                                                            Baked beans, or some other hot side.

                                                                                                                                                                            Corn on the cob.

                                                                                                                                                                            Deviled eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                            Potato chips and dips.

                                                                                                                                                                            Veggie tray with ranch dip or blue cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                            Ice cold beers, tasty "summery" mixed cocktails (gin and tonic, margaritas, etc.), iced-tea (sweet is the best) and pop like Coke and Sprite.

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think you can call it an "American Cookout" without atleast a few burgers and some deviled eggs. :)

                                                                                                                                                                            Hope the party goes well!

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Inthewater

                                                                                                                                                                              That omission is probably inadvertent, and possibly the result of the fact that a great deal that passes for "BBQ" in national chains is a bad imitation of the KC style (though one could argue if parboiled, grilled meat can even be said to imitate dry-rubbed, slow-dry cooked).

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Adding to the consensus:
                                                                                                                                                                              Pulled pork can be easy if you're not too worried about authenticity, so don't worry about the people who say it's hard. It's something many of your guests might not have had, and it bears a resemblance to what Americans mean when they say 'barbecue' as opposed to grilling or a cookout.
                                                                                                                                                                              Here's my advice on how to do it... For 12-20 people you should be fine with two big fatty pork roasts (shoulder is the norm but whatever you can get cheap works). Rub them with whatever spices are convenient, but I'd say brown sugar, salt, and chili powder are the necessities.
                                                                                                                                                                              Cook them however you want: I'd suggest smoking them for two hours on your grill with any kind of hardwood, then into the over for another 3 at least. But in spite of what some would say the smoking is an optional step, and 6 hours in the oven (4 covered, then 2 uncovered) would work very well. Especially if you use a smoky barbecue sauce and your guests don't actually know what real smoked pork tastes like. (BUT DON'T BOIL IT! Never, never, never. However you do it you want a dry heat.)
                                                                                                                                                                              Then however you cook it, just pull it once it's cooled a bit, or use gloves. One thing nobody's mentioned is that the intention with pulling is not only to separate the fibers, but to pick around the inevitable chunks of fat and membrane. Then you might want to chop up the long fibers a little and douse the whole mess in a lot of barbecue sauce. Use store-bought smokey sauce and just add some extra vinegar. Say a half-cup, then more to taste. It should be a quite vinegary sauce. Then let your guests put it on buns themselves, with cheese and chopped raw onion as condiments.
                                                                                                                                                                              When there's BBQ, I frankly don't care about sides, so I think you'd be fine to take any of the myriad excellent suggestions above.
                                                                                                                                                                              Good luck!!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Update: so the 4th July is fast approaching and I'm getting in a panic about all the stuff I have to do! I have done most of the shopping, but I won't have much time to prep until Saturday morning - eek! The final menu:

                                                                                                                                                                                Pimms and lemonade (this is quintessentially British really but a must for a summer party)
                                                                                                                                                                                Pink limeade (vodka/lime/cranberry juice/sparkling water)
                                                                                                                                                                                Beer (obv)
                                                                                                                                                                                Tortilla chips
                                                                                                                                                                                Pulled pork w/ BBQ sauce - I have a 4kg shoulder which I'm going to slow-roast overnight for convenience
                                                                                                                                                                                Devilled eggs (from Bon Appetit Y'All)
                                                                                                                                                                                Potato salad (from same)
                                                                                                                                                                                Coleslaw (Luques version)
                                                                                                                                                                                Greek salad (lots of Greeks in America -right!)
                                                                                                                                                                                Poached salmon (so I can do it in advance and serve cold)
                                                                                                                                                                                Selection of sausages from the butcher
                                                                                                                                                                                Grilled sweetcorn
                                                                                                                                                                                Baked camembert done on the BBQ (for the veggies)
                                                                                                                                                                                Tipsy watermelon salad (from BAY)
                                                                                                                                                                                Brownies (hoping to make these Friday night)

                                                                                                                                                                                I also have bunting, and hopefully some stars and stripes July 4th goodies courtesy of MMRuth. Oh, and a US-diner style plastic squeezy tomato for putting ketchup in. V. kitcsh. Mr GG particularly taken with this. Should have given it to him for his b'day. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds lovely. No wait , I should be talking American. Sounds great.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think it's a great menu! Can't wait to hear how everything turned out - I'm sure everyone will love it, GG!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds perfect. The only thing I would add, if you can bear to add anything, is something simple to dip the tortilla chips in. A simple pico de gallo (small-chopped tomatoes, onion, chile like jalapeño if you want, and coriander leaves) or cooked Mexican-style salsa (maybe you can buy jarred, if available there?) would do nicely. Something bought means you don't have to find time, but it's nice to have something to dip chips in if it's manageable.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes - I agree. And, package should be there now!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                          Good idea. I have a big pot of Greek yoghurt so could crush some garlic in it and make cacik. Very little effort!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I have to say, I am worried about the pulled pork. If it doesn't work at least there'll be time for me to rush out and buy chicken or ribs!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't worry.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. It'll be fine as a slow roast


                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Hopefully no-one will have tasted the real thing so won't make a comparison


                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Give them very large Pimms to start and they won't care.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Have a great time and don't forget to enjoy it yourself.


                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Just reporting back to say that the party was great and the food all worked out really well. A ton of leftovers - so just had another mini-BBQ with a couple of friends and their kids to try to clear the fridge! So a huge thank you to everyone for all their brilliant suggestions and help, and especially to MMRuth for her 4th July goodies (I'm going to be picking small American flags and confetti out of my lawn for weeks!).

                                                                                                                                                                                          More specifically, the pulled pork was FANTASTIC and everyone loved it. You were right - it was pretty easy too. After taking in all the advice here and consulting some other threads, I bought 9-10 pounds of bone-in shoulder and rubbed it with spices, including smoked paprika and cayenne. I roasted it overnight at a very low temperature (110C) and it took about 14 hours! I took it out when the internal temperature registered 190F and it was perfect. Fell off the bone and was meltingly juicy and delicious. Great crackling too - my friend and her husband took it home. The BBQ sauce I made from a recipe on Chow was too vinegary for my taste so I added more brown sugar and ketchup to mellow it out a bit. I'm sold on the whole pulled pork thing now - maybe I'll try smoking it next time, or doing the half and half thing, maybe with a fennel-type rub. I've heard people talk of making carnitas with leftover pulled pork - can someone enlighten me as to what they are?

                                                                                                                                                                                          The devilled eggs were another triumph that people loved. Topped with American flag toothpicks they looked like an invading army, lol. They were from BAY, which came through also with a top brownie recipe - will report on the relevant thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, hope y'all had a great 4th July also. I will post pics once Mr GG has loaded them onto the computer.

                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            awesome! glad you had a great celebration, & am especially gratified to know that american deviled eggs were a hit on the other side of the puddle! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            as far as carnitas go, you can use leftover cooked pork, but not if it's sauced. if you left the sauce off, you could do it. they are delicious. not diet food, but delicious. thinking about carnitas and deviled eggs at the same time make me feel a bit woozy after last night's excessive feast, actually-- ;-P

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm SO glad your American BBQ went over so well! Congrats on the pulled pork, and no surprise that the deviled eggs were well received - it's really hard not to like them. Looking forward to the pictures. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yay! I'm thrilled that it was such a success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great to hear you and Mr GG had a good time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Next time you do BBQ, try a South Carolina mustard based sauce. I like it much better than the more vinegary North Carolina ones........yep, I ate quite a lot of BBQ on our last holiday in the States.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Pictures on Mr GG's blog. He hasn't posted the devilled eggs picture though, which was my faourite.


                                                                                                                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                      gg, GREAT pictures! Looks like everyone enjoyed their food (the pulled pork looks GREAT!) And what a glorious day you had to celebrate Mr. GG's birthday!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It was lovely - he's put the devilled eggs photo up there too now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                          i enjoyed your party, vicariously, of course. the pork looked excellent.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          i liked best the photo of the girls putting on the sunscreen, shot upward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's Mr GG being arty. He is very pleased because the traffic for his blog has shot up!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm so happy to read that Mr. GG's birthday party was a success.... I really Knew it would be though. The photos tell the story very well. Everyone looks completely at home in your garden and having a wonderful time. Love the deviled eggs! Good job - Well done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Since a few BAY'A recipes were called into play, next time you make the pulled pork, which looks terrific BTW, you might consider Willis' BBQ sauce: "Mama's Barbecue Sauce," Pg. 81. It has just the right amount of sweet & vinegary flavor and can be tinkered with to create more or less heat, as you prefer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the kind words, Gio. I haven't reported on it yet, but the Tipsy Watermelon from BAY'A was really wonderful - laced with vodka and creme de cassis, how could it fail?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That watermelon sounds fantastic. And I love the use of the flags - not just in the eggs, but, apparently, on various faces as well. Were you able to incorporate the little flag paper umbrellas?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They made great hair decorations for small and not-so-small girls!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                              LOVE the eggs with the flags - you're right, they look like a little egg armada! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                We should have had a plate of devils on horseback with union jack flags and reenacted the War of Independence, lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now THAT would have been funny! But Mr. GG would have been outnumbered in the back garden, I'm afraid. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A late ungracious thankyou to the woman in my life who makes such delicious food, and a thank you to all in this marvellous community who racked their brains to make my birthday extra delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The pulled pork was superb, as you'd perhaps expect from a woman who invests such massive time and energy into getting things so right.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We went off to N Carolina to find some more BBQ this summer, just in case we were missing something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MrGreedyGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How very lovely of you to pop in to post, Mr. GG. Your wife has been a great addition to this board--especially over on Home Cooking--and I expect I speak for many, especially Cookbook of the Monthers, in saying how much fun it has been to have the point of view of someone across the pond.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MrGreedyGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Very nice to hear from you, MrGG! So glad you had a great birthday weekend, and glad the American BBQ worked out! Lots of good info on this board - Mrs GG was in good hands. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So what is GG planning for NEXT year's birthday celebration? Your birthday is still on a weekend, after all. :::wink:::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MrGreedyGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mr. GG! What a pleasant and unexpected surprise to find your post! We all think the world of the Mrs. and are glad the party worked out so well. Sorry I missed getting to meet you on your way through NC. Hope you rocked some good BBQ while here (in other words, the eastern type).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We went to Sgt Whites in Beaufort, a tiny place with a huge reputation. And we weren't disappointed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Heaven knows what my other half will do on my next birthday. Life around here gets progressively more delicious. That said, there's talk of diets come January :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. So it's that time of the year again, apart from this time it's MY birthday and the party happens to be on the 12th June - which is the day England plays the USA in the World Cup! I was going to go out so I didn't have to do lots of work, but everyone wants to watch the football so we've ended up having a party here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              So, I was vaguely thinking Italian but the theme has to be England vs USA, right? Hence I'm bumping the thread. Lots of good ideas here already - I will probably do pulled pork again as it's so easy and low maintenance, and everyone loved it last time. The English bit will be a whole poached salmon with mayonnaise and cucumber.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm looking for some sides that are a bit different from the usual coleslaw/potato salad, and not a lot of work. Also a vegetarian main. Are there any dishes that are typically served when people get together to watch football?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, and if we don't beat you guys, then we might as well pack up and go home!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Buffalo wings are a mainstay of watching games! They're very American too, although there seems to be a wing diaspora as I see them on menus even in Egypt! They go well with celery and carrot sticks as well as a blue cheese dressing. I remember that there was a piece about them in goodeats.com that tested the best way to cook them. Traditionally they are fried, but the taste test result said made in the oven, which is much easier for a party. As for veg mains, I don't know if anything is particularly American or British, but what about something from Plenty like the very full tart?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wings are a great idea. Cheap, too. Not sure what buffalo wings are,. but I'm sure Gourmet has a recipe! Wing diaspora - ha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Buffalo wings originated in.....Buffalo, New York. They were conceived as a bar food, and are greatly loved by generations of Americans. Essentially, the wings are fried and then doused in a mixture of Frank's Hot Sauce and butter. They are served with blue cheese dressing and celery and carrot sticks. I well-made Buffalo wing is a thing of beauty. Here's a link to the piece in seriouseats.com. I misspoke earlier. Hope I didn't send you on a wild wing chase...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The thing about football watching food in the US is that it's all about the beer. Well, the food is important too. In my experience it's been a big pot of chili, spare ribs, wings, jambalaya, burgers, outrageously caloric dips, salsas & tortilla chips, nachos... that sort of thing. I like to squeak a salad in there as well. Grilled chicken salad anyone? Desserts are brownies, chocolate chip cookies, or any other sweet concoction that's not fussy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <"Oh, and if we don't beat you guys, then we might as well pack up and go home!">
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ..... OH? ....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cupcakes too for dessert. Anything you can eat standing and watching the TV...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The USA is famed for many things, but soccer... not so much, lol. You'd be better off supporting Italy, Gio. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's exactly the team I do support, GG. although I'll root for the home team when the time comes. I Love Soccer. DH not at all. This party of yours is shaping up nicely. Wings, 7 or 8 layer dip, dammit dancing. Now That's a party !
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh Happy Day. Seven days and counting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 layer dip is the PERFECT sort of thing for game watching, and easily made vegetarian. Or something like a burrito casserole (I think there is a bean one epicurious that, with some adjusting, is really really disgustingly wonderful and cheesy). Nachos, again with the wings. These are definitely the types of things to eat while watching a game.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I seem to remember that the main vegetable was beer. And it goes well with just about anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Beer, oh yes. Luckily we're both good at that. And lots of wine. I am hoping it won't all be about the football - it is a significant birthday (old) and there will be dancing, dammit!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How about a 7 layer dip served with tortilla chips (if you can get blue corn chips, they are particularly festive)? I layer refried beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese of the marbled or orange variety, tomatoes, black olives and green onions. I know, that's 8 things, but I like salsa in mine, and I don't use the taco seasoning in the sour cream (yuk!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You could do vegetarian chili, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or, vegetarian pizza rolls made with homemade dough served with extra marinara sauce on the side. These are basically like mini-calzones. A Spinach-artichoke filling would be really good. There are all kinds of combos you could do, and even the meat eaters would love them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I like the sound of that. It sounds similar to something they used to make at a local restaurant which I loved. Is it dip served hot, or cold?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7/8/9 layer dip is a great party food! You can make it the day/night before and refrigerate it (obviously), but be sure to let the tomato drain (in some fashion) before adding it as a layer - otherwise you'll end up with a watery ??? at the bottom - not very pleasant and which is why I wouldn't use any component of high liquid content.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Doing it the night before will also allow the flavors to mingle for greatness beyond what taco seasoning could ever do - ie, don't use taco seasoning! ;) I would bring it to room temp the-day-of, put the cheese on top and put it under the broiler for a few minutes just until the cheese begins to melt, just so it doesn't fall away when bringing it to your mouth. Serve at room temp. Happy soon birthday!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cool to room temp, I suppose. Definitely not hot at all. Like CocoaNut said, you make this a day ahead and stick it in the fridge to let the flavors gel (except the chopped fresh veg on top). Remove an hour or so before your party starts. I like to use refried black beans - I think the color contrast is lovely - but pinto are good, too. Definitely make this in some sort of container where you can see the layers, but keep it shallow or it's hard to scoop. I'm not sure that I, personally, would melt the cheese on top. Seems too much like nacho territory then, at least to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you do a Google image search on 7 layer dip, you'll see lots of variations on the theme. I just saw an image showing individual potato skins with 7 layer dip filling. Now that sounds yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm going to have to disagree - I'm all for the 7 layer dip served at least warm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For what it's worth, here's a Martha Stewart menu for a Super Bowl party that includes both chicken wings and a 7-layer dip. I once published an entire book on chicken wing recipes and Martha's recipe doesn't make the cut as far I'm concerned. But her menu does give you an idea of how iconic both the dip and the wings are when it comes to super bowl parties in the US.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You may want to search this board for "Super Bowl parties" (ie., the championship game for American professional football). I recall lots of posts at that time as to what people were serving and recipes (although some were focused on representing the regional foods of the 2 teams in the game). You could also search for "tailgate" parties -- i.e., picnics in the parking lot in advance of attending sporting events. Guacamole is another dip that tends to be served at these types of outings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like the idea of the transatlantic meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Many years back, we got on a "thing" of cooking a Saturday night meal from a different country or region (took us about 2 years to get through our list). It fell in a World Cup time so we decided that we'd add in a meal representing whatever teams were playing that Saturday. The England v Holland one was tricky as I recall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would recommend a test run on the wings if you decide to make them. Try deep frying a few at the time suggested in the recipe you chose, then try a few with an additional 2-3 minutes fry time. Many people feel that too many wings are not cooked long enough and once covered with sauce end up soggy. The longer frying time will fix that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SanityRemoved

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I really don't want to be in the kitchen deep-frying on my birthday. Plus I only have a small fryer. There must be oven-baked wing recipes out there, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Look at the link I posted up thread from Serious eats. The method is baked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's Alton Brown's recipe for oven-baked wings. I've actually not made this one exactly but my suspicion is it's pretty good, considering the source.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When I've made them, I've first coated the winds in a seasoned flour, before baking, and I've just used garlic powder as one of the seasonings in the sauce, rather than garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How about broiling? Many years ago I published a book called The Complete Book of Chicken Wings. Although the classic method for making Buffalo wings is to fry them, this is the way the author said she makes hers:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brush 2-1/2 pounds of cut up chicken wings with vegetable oil and place on a broiling rack under a preheated broiler. Broil, turning, for 15 to 20 minutes until nicely crisped. Melt 1/4 cup butter, 4-1/2 tablespoons Durkee Red Hot sauce, and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar in a large saucepan. When wings are finished, dump them into the sauce and toss to coat. Serve with cold celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The recipe for the blue cheese dressing is 2 ounces blue cheese, 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 cup sour cream zapped in a food processor until smooth and well chilled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Note that the authors hot sauce is pretty hot. For the proportions listed here she says use 3 tablespoons of hot sauce for mild and 4 tablespoons for medium. You sort of have to test it as you go along. When I've had a large party, I've sometimes put out two platters of wings, one milder, the other hotter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I really don't want to be in the kitchen deep-frying on my birthday. Plus I only have a small fryer. There must be oven-baked wing recipes out there, right?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can agree with you and that is the biggest reason that most wings are ordered out rather than cooked at home. Sometime when you have lots of time try the deep frying method. To me there is a big difference between "Wings" (as Buffalo is next door, the term Buffalo wings is usually seen only on chain restaurant menus) and oven baked chicken wings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wings should be coated and served promptly with the traditional bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you have guests that prefer hot versus medium or mild the goal is to retain flavor while increasing the heat. This is where the majority of hot wings fail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I know both apple and cherry pie have been mentioned multiple times. For those with a sweet tooth, you can't get much more American than either of those, but pie can be a difficult proposition and requires utensils. Extra work not needed on your birthday. I'd use pre-made phyllo or puff-pastry mini cups filled with a pre-made apple/cherry filling. For the apple, maybe lightly drizzle with a caramel sauce. If served heated, use a melon baller for a "scoop" of vanilla ice-cream on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or.... if you have a bbq grill, perhaps a group s'mores-making activity for half-time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. A couple of other adds - you could always make a big Sub Sandwich, cut into small portions. Also a friend of mine from Cincinnati used to bring - what else - Cincinnati Chili!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hope you have a fantastic Birthday!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Hey GG - I'm doing the same World Cup party - BBQ with ENG-USA food. Wings, ribs, mushroom "burgers" for the veggies, sausage rolls (will use veg sausages - lots of veggie friends!), mac n cheese, Cheddar & Stilton & biscuits, Budweiser, Bombadier, Spitfire beers, cupcakes, Eton Mess. Cupcakes will be decorated with a St George Cross and a US flag cocktail stick. FYI wings need to be made with Franks Red Hot sauce - bought some recently in Wholefoods Brewer St Soho - I believe from your posts that we share the same employer - you might be able to find Franks at the Waitrose in Westfield - I know the Waitrose in Holloway Rd stocks it. You can get US flag cocktail sticks from Party Party on Ridley Rd Dalston - they are a hidden gem of party stuff (well, crap stuff but fun really) and upstairs is London's best cake decorating shop. In Dalston. Who'd of thunk?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: themags

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the tips, themags. I actually have US cocktail sticks courtesy of MMRuth. Where did you get the England ones from? Dalston is miles from here, sadly. I saw someone with England bunting the other day which looked like it might have come from Poundland - am going to investigate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sausage rolls are a good idea. I was thinking of getting some Scotch eggs and mini pork pies for mine. And I'm doing Eton Mess as well! How are you doing your wings? I have seen Franks in Waitrose, I think, and the shops round here (Brixton/H Hill) all stock Crystal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Funny that you work for Auntie as well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually I've only got the US flag cocktail sticks - missed the chance to get the England ones and they sold out. Haven't done bunting - just got two big 3'x5' ft flags off eBay that will adorn the alcove. Have they opened a Wilkinson's in South London yet (I'm deepest East London)? It's great for cheap England world cup themed serviettes etc. I'm sure a Poundland would be good - I'll need to hop over there Sat AM if all is not looking festive enough. The wings recipe on the Franks bottle is the one to try - it's just Franks and melted butter. I'm gonna oven bake as I don't have a fryer and trying to manually monitor the temperature of hot oil whilst juggling a Bud is a bad idea!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Any of the bottom end places should be heaving with England stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yours chavtastically


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, got the bunting from Poundland today. I passed on the car flags though. I do have some standards.