Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Memorial Day Barbecue

Memorial Day Weekend is next week.  It's time to make plans for spending fun times with your family as well as to do the traditional patriotic things or visit the cemeteries.

Our house has always been patriotic since my Dad returned from World War II, the big one, and put me on his shoulders to watch a parade in Downtown Pittsburgh.  That was scary for a toddler watching those enormous tank wheels pass by but I was always a scardy-cat.

On the fun side of Memorial Day we always had a cookout and potato salad was the fare of the day.  Yum, my favorite.

In my adult years, I have to admit I was not one for cooking on a grill but God is good and he gave me a husband who loved to do just that.

barbecuing is open for the season.
In our house Bear was the grilling king.  He made opening up the grill and getting ready a real production.

In the old days we used a charcoal grill that took a long time to make enough burgers and franks for our family.  The real trick to doing the cooking on this type grill was getting the charcoal briquettes hot enough.  You had to light your fire earlier to get it going.  The most important thing to be grilled was the almost burnt hot dogs for Bear's Mom.  She loved those black delicacies.

As the years went by, he invested in bigger and bigger grills until he got a really big gas grill with a side table and it had a side burner on the other side for beans or a whatever pot.  I think the only reason this was so great was that it gave Bear more places to cook outside.  It wasn't that I couldn't cook the beans inside on the stove, it was the thrill of being able to do it all outside.  It also had two racks on top for heating up the buns or keeping the already cooked meats warm.

Before I was dating him, we belonged to a radio club that had a yearly picnic.  Bear would bring a grill to the picnic that was made out of stainless steel with a screened top to lay the hamburgers and hot dogs on for grilling.  Not exactly like the one pictured but similar since it was made by the people he worked with.  He delighted in standing over that grill while he drank his favorite brew cooking for the entire club.

At home the grilling started as soon as it was almost warm enough to stand outside.  He would start off with the hamburgers since they took the longest.  Even though we normally made our own burgers, we sometimes cheated and bought the frozen ones from the supermarket.

The buns were not bought in the store but the sandwich buns I loved to make for special occasions out of our weekly bread baking.  I learned this from experimenting with the recipe.  I was lucky to have a cousin who baked this traditionally every year and was a professional baker.

Then would come the hot dogs because they didn't take as long to cook.  Those were not as popular as the hamburgers but there was just one that had to be overcooked for Nunny.

bear's Mom loved her hot dog black.  As the year went by, some of the children started asking for a black dog but I think it was just to be cute.

Bear was creative when he entertained and I remember one cookout for his buddies from the tavern when he made shish kabobs and his friend brought a smoker to do a roast.  Our house was full of gadgets that went with the grill such as shish kabob racks to allow you to turn the kabobs without picking them up.

We have covered the grilling part of the barbecue, let's talk about the side dishes that are every bit as important as those hot dogs and hamburgers.

No barbecue is complete with out the potato salad.  My mother made the best potato salad and I have passed the recipe on down to my daughter who is now the potato salad queen.  I have never been fond of all the work that goes into it and whenever I can, I pass the chore on down to her.

Our other favorite cookout food is the fresh fruit salad or an ambrosia.

 Cold foods are now made safer outside with the invention of a blow up cooler that holds ice for the salads that are being served.

Our house was a conflict of what to drink when it came to soda since Bear loved Pepsi and I only drink Coke.  It was always bring your own drinks when the grill was on for a party or holiday.

Add your favorite beverage and there you go with a Memorial Day Barbecue.  Remember why we are celebrating and thank a veteran at the Memorial Day Parade.  Happy Barbecuing.

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