Memorial Day signals the start of summer vacations and the official launch of the outdoor grilling season, which means hamburgers, steak, chicken, hot dogs, sausages and maybe a few veggies on the parilla.
In Denver the 3-day weekend launches June openings and events such as Water World, Downtown Denver Arts Festival, Renaissance Festival, Denver Chalk Festival, Greek Festival and a Colorado Rockies double-header baseball game on Monday. Nationwide, it means NASCAR Memorial Day races at the Indy 500 and the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Gentlemen, start your grills!
Whether it’s your own specialty adobo seasoning, beer-can chicken, Argentine chimichurri sauce, a hot ajili mójili, pico de gallo or chirimol salsa, there are plenty of grilling styles and recipes from which to choose. None is more diverse than Latino kitchen traditions. The spicy multi-cultural contributions from our Native American, Spanish and African ancestors in Latin America and the Caribbean celebrate bold flavors enhanced by a flaming mezquite or hickory wood chips or charcoal grill.
According to the 23rd annual Weber GrillWatch Survey, 71 percent of American grill owners fire up their backyard grill this Memorial Day, a 10 percent jump from last year. Grilling and some type of barbecue has always been a popular ritual.
The Weber survey also reveals:
• 71 percent of all Americans (21 and older) own an outdoor grill and/or smoker
• About 75 percent of American grill owners use their grill weekly during the grilling season
• The top three foods grilled most often are hamburgers (73 percent), chicken (41 percent) and steak (40 percent).
• Grillers consider dessert the most challenging food to grill (35 percent), followed by fish (30 percent) and pizza (28 percent).
According to the Hearth, Party and Barbecue Association (HPBA) among all grill-owners, the most popular utensils are long-handled tongs (72 percent), grill-cleaning brushes (68 percent), long-handled forks (60 percent) and long-handled spatulas (54 percent).
Fans of the Food Network cable channel are familiar with Hispanic TV celebrity chefs Aarón (roll the “r” please) Sanchez and Marcela Valladolid, hosts of “Heat Seekers” and “Mexican Made Easy,” respectively.
Chef Marcela enjoys Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak, a simple recipe, which takes about an hour and 20 minutes to make. As a brewing capital, Denver’s wide beer selection provides excellent meat marinades. Unlike vinegar and citrus-based sauces, experts say that beer tenderizes slowly without overwhelming other seasonings.
Sanchez is a master of simplifying traditional recipes for flavor-challenged cooks.
“All you need is some roasted garlic, a can of chipotle adobo and lime juice,” Sanchez said in a recent interview. “Take some of your residual oil from your roasted garlic and puree that ... (then) ... marinate your chicken and steak in that mixture, throw it on the grill and it’s wonderful.”
Buen provecho from La Voz.