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BBQ dinner party help

Long time site lurker and this is my first post.

The weather in So Cal is starting to feel like Summer and we have family coming in from out of town to visit so I want to BBQ. I can cook anything (meat, veggies, etc...) on the grill so I just need some ideas for a party for 8 people.

A few weeks back we had about 12 people over. Started with a Peruvian salad (corn, feta, mint, radishes) with a fresh mint dressing. I then grilled\smoked 2 tri-tips, grilled some chicken breasts and served it with a cilantro and mint chimichurri. I also grilled asparagus and made a sweet potato hash. Served dinner with a few bottles of Malbec from Argentina. Everyone loved it...

Any ideas are appreciated... I am thinking of maybe doing fish but don't want to spend a fortune on fresh fish.

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  1. What about doing kabobs? You can skewer up chicken, beef, lamb with veggies. Marinate the chicken in lemon, mint, olive oil, and a bit of cumin.

    If you want to go with a Middle Eastern bend, serve grilled wedges of pita with homemade hummus and some olives. On the side- tabbouleh (good prepared in advance), carrot raisin salad, dirty potatoes (roasted fingerlings tossed with pureed olives), and grilled eggplant slices drizzled with olive oil (crumble feta on top).

    The ingredients- mostly veggies- you can stretch the meat a lot- won't cost as much as fish.

    1. I like doing calzones and stromboli on the grill. And maybe a salad of grilled tomatoes, grilled queso blanco, grilled scallions etc.

      1. How about a couple of "beer can chickens". Fun for a grill and a big conversation piece regardless. To go with that, do a pasta salad (cooked tri-color rotini, diced red onion, cubed cheese, olives, pimentos, italian dressing), grilled vegetable medley (sliced red/green peppers, onion wedges, fresh mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash).

        1 Reply
        1. re: boyzoma

          I"m all over the veggie medley suggestion. I loved mixed veggies on the grill and you can do a lot fairly easily. I smother my veggies in store bought pesto and then toss them around in a grilling basket until they are done. Mmmmm Sometimes I sprinkle them with a little feta or goat cheese once they are in their serving dish.

        2. If you know your guests like shellfish, you can get about a lb of shrimp & a lb of sea scallops and grill them together on skewers or in a grill basket with fresh veggies. Use a lb of chicken cutlets too, for those who don't eat the shellfish. Marinate them all with olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, smoked paprika or pepper. They can cook about the same amount of time. Serve over rice, couscous or orzo with lots of lemon and butter.

          I also love grilling large cuts like a sirloin roast of beef or a pork loin roast. Treat the cut to plenty of seasoning (kosher salt, pepper, thyme, garlic for beef, rosemary & garlic for pork) and let it dry brine in your fridge uncovered for a few days. It'll lose some moisture but grill up with a fantastic crust and incredibly juicy interior. Sear on the grill then move it over, cover and leave it alone. Very basic but delicious. A salad with some grilled veggies and some baked potatoes and you're all set.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Phurstluv

            The seafood/chicken suggestion is just droolworthy.

          2. Since you already did the beef & chicken thing, how about pork? I vote for baby backs or a pork tenderloin. I grilled pork tenderloins this weekend with my favorite spicy peanut sauce from Hot Barbecue by Hugh Carpenter. I love shrimp or scallops on the grill but i guess it depends on how much you want to babysit them. they can go from zero to overcooked pretty fast.

            1. Pork Tenderloin K-Bobs ---- Onion, Fresh pineapple chunks, red and green bell pepper, Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes ~~~ Baste with mostly Pineapple juice with a dash of Soy or Teriyaki ....Final baste Pineapple juice/brown sugar...Serve over/with Fried Rice


              4 Replies
              1. re: Uncle Bob

                Those are all awesome ideas... Ithank you.

                was considering baby back ribs but sometimes it is too messy. I like serving a light salad and grilled corn with ribs but corn is not great right now. Maybe I'll go the Mediterranean or Greek or Italy grill route by grilling some pork tenderloins marinated in garlic, lemon and oregano (or other spices) and serve will grilled veggies (zucc, squash, onions, peppers) and some grilled middle Eastern flat bread. I wanted to also roast some tomatos for a caprese salad so does that go with this theme or should I make a simple bibb salad with goat cheese?

                1. re: boltsfan

                  Pulled pork, coleslaw, patato wedges, and some good cold beer.

                  1. re: boltsfan

                    To stay along the med theme, you could make provencal tomatoes: roast roma halves that have been stuffed with minced parsley, basil, thyme, s&p, olive oil & minced garlic. I usually do these in a low oven, you could put them on a rack on the cool side of the grill or do them ahead, they keep at room temp once done. They can be served with or without a salad.

                    1. re: boltsfan

                      sounds like a total winner! maybe add a bowl of hummus. you could do dark and white chocolate dipped dried apricots for dessert.

                  2. Are you in San Diego?

                    Iowa Meat Farms has the most increadible burgers, they are a true crowd pleaser.

                    Catalina Seafood has very nice ahi, you do not need sashimi grade, that can be grilled with a short marinade using olive oil garlic, mint, and lemon. Grills in moments.

                    1. I have Ronnie Shewchuk's BBQ book and everything I have tried so far has been amazing!! I love this recipe for company because I don't have to stand over the grill constantly fipping and turning - I can just sit until it's done. It soooooo easy and soooo good!!