Backyard BBQ saves cook time


May 22, 1991|By Sherrie Clinton | Sherrie Clinton,Evening Sun Staff

THIS MEMORIAL Day barbecue has been designed to get you out of the kitchen and into the sun as fast as possible. All recipes can be at least partially prepared up to 24 hours in advance. This means less work for busy cooks.

Our feast, for six to eight hungry people, includes barbecue staples such as grilled chicken and potato salad. The chicken can be marinated in spicy-sweet maple barbecue sauce for up to 24 hours. Skewered potato salad and dressing can also be prepared the day before.

The two salads, herbed mozzarella with peppers and summer tortellini salad and dressing, can be made ahead of time. Don't add the dressing to the tortellini till the last minute, however.

The cheese pie, sliced thin, makes a perfect appetizer and a nice alternative to cheese and crackers. This can be made up to two days in advance.

Finally, end the feast with a warm-weather fondue. The rich chocolate sauce is warmed over the dying embers and served with fresh fruit and pound cake. Give your guests long skewers or long forks for dipping.

Here are some additional grilling suggestions:

* Always start with a clean grill. Place grill rack over hot coals, heat for about five minutes and brush with a stiff wire brush to loosen any charred bits.

* Brush the grill rack with vegetable or other oil before using. This keeps the food from sticking and tearing and also reduces clean-up. The grill can also be coated with a vegetable spray such as PAM. Be sure the grill rack is cold and never spray near an open fire.

Maple Barbecued Chicken

1 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of cayenne

1 3-pound chicken cut-up

In small saucepan, combine all ingredients but chicken. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened about ten minutes. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

Rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry. Arrange pieces in a glass baking dish and pour sauce over chicken, turn pieces to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate two to three hours at room temperature or up to 24 hours refrigerated.

Prepare a hot fire. Remove chicken from marinade and place skin side down on an oiled grill set about six-inches from coals, reserve marinade. Grill until skin is browned on bottom, ten to 15 minutes. Turn pieces over and grill for another ten to 15 minutes, checking occasionally for flare-ups. Brush with barbecue sauce and continue to grill, turning and basting frequently with sauce until chicken is cooked through with no trace of pink near bone, about 15 minutes longer. Total cooking time for chicken is 35 to 45 minutes.

Serves four; double recipe to serve eight.

-- "365 Great Barbecue and Grilling Recipes" by Lonnie Gandara; Harper and Row Publishers -- 1990.

Grilled Potato Salad

2 pounds small red or white new potatoes, cut in half if larger than two inches in diameter

2 peppers, red or green, cut into 2-inch chunks

Finely chopped parsley, optional

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 scallions, minced

Prepare a medium hot fire. In a medium bowl, toss potatoes and pepper with two tablespoons olive oil and the parsley. Thread on skewers and place on an oiled grill four to six inches above from coals. Cook, turning and moving occasionally until potatoes are lightly browned and and just tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove potatoes from skewers and set aside. In small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients, except scallions, gradually whisking in remaining olive oil until well blended. Pour dressing over potatoes, add scallions and toss.

Dressing and skewers can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance

-- Adapted from "365 Great Barbecue and Grilling Recipes"

Herbed Mozzarella with Peppers

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 large bell peppers (red, green or yellow) cut into 1/4 -inch strips

2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh, cut into 1/2 -inch dice

1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons drained capers

In large nonreactive skillet or flameproof casserole, cook garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant and softened but not browned, about three minutes. Add bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until softened but still brightly colored, three to four minutes.

Add vinegar, cover and cook for three minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add remaining ingredients. Toss to mix well. Serve at room temperature. Make up to one day ahead.

-- Adapted from "365 Great Barbecue and Grilling Recipes"

Summer Tortellini Salad

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