Great Cookout Ideas To Help You Get Started
You're looking for some cookout ideas that will make the day special, whether it's just for two of you or a cast of dozens. No matter how hard you try to think of something fresh and original, eventually you gravitate towards the great American standby, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and maybe a watermelon. Only about 98% of your guests are going to enjoy that. So why try for anything different? I'm certainly not disappointed with a hamburger-potato salad cookout. I love potato salad. But once in awhile a little variety is nice, and your guests, or just your significant other, will appreciate you're taking the trouble to put together a few dishes that are a little exciting.
A Tasty, Low-Cal Idea - The thing of it is, cookout ideas can be as simple or as complicated as you choose them to be. One idea that popped up on the web is a very simple low calorie cookout for two that could easily be expanded to a dozen people, if your grill is large enough. The menu for this cookout consisted of a baked potato (cooked on the grill), grilled asparagus (wrapped in foil with olive oil and pepper), and grilled fish of your choice, flavored with a dash of lemon juice. Besides tasting good, we're talking 300 to 400 calories, where burgers and potato salad could easy reach 3 times that amount. Maybe the first rule of thumb should be - "Think small and simple".
When you think about it, backyard entertainment almost demands a menu that is simplicity in itself. Much of a cookout's success can be attributed to a relaxed atmosphere with friends and acquaintances. The super special menu you may want to prepare for a formal dinner doesn't always fit in with outdoor cooking. The idea presented above is both simple and at the same time elegant, which you can't say about beer and hot dogs.
Veggies And Fruit - One possibility is that you provide the main menu and let guests bring something on their own. Not exactly a potluck, but you'll still end up with a variety of foods (unless everyone brings potato chips). Make a good salad, one with several kinds of lettuce, spinach, cress, and other healthy greens. Better yet make two salads, one that is more of a vanilla type, the other loaded with peppers, garlic, or anything with a little kick. An asparagus salad is one idea worth pursuing.
Besides a salad, put together a fruit basket. Even for two or three people a fruit basket is nice. Watermelon, honeydew melon, peaches or nectarines, and a variety of berries will work. You can even make a basket consisting mainly of watermelon. Just cut the pieces small. An alternative to a fruit basket would be to serve fruit-based drinks, such as Dragon fruit, which seems to be more and more popular every day. It's healthy and refreshing.
Grilled Meat Is Always A Good Cookout Idea - There is of course an endless list of items you can put on the grill. Nothing wrong with steaks. Steak and potatoes will appeal to most, though some will prefer small cuts. An alternative to beef would be grilled chicken, grilled mixed sausages, or turkey-burgers. Better yet, have a couple of rolls of paper towels handy (if you are having a dozen or so friends over), and barbecue some ribs. If you choose ribs, try to have 2 or 3 different sauces on hand to give your guests a choice. Grilled corn on the cob is obviously a great companion for ribs, or barbecued meat, and a helping of cole slaw or potato salad will complete the picture.
Do As The Danes Do - If it's a midday cookout, and you want to keep grilling to a minimum, make up a sandwich bar, a do-it-yourself sandwich making table. Here you can let your imagination run wild. If there is a Dane in the neighborhood, ask him or her for advice. Danes put nearly anything and any combination on bread, and make it taste great. For that matter, hire your Danish friend to make up a selection of open-faced sandwiches. You'll be surprised, and pleased, what you end up with.
Once you've broken through the hamburger- hot dog barrier, you’re on your way to great and innovative cookouts. If you haven't yet broken that barrier, I'll still come.