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Tips for a Perfect Holiday Barbecue Plus a Grilled Potato Salad Recipe

The summer season is in full swing and that means it is time to fire up the grill! To help you make your next backyard BBQ a big hit, take these grilling tips from The Food Network and Bobby Flay.

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  1. Clean Your Grill

The most important part of producing good-tasting food at a perfect holiday barbecue is starting with a clean grill. Use a powerful hose spray to loosen burnt bits of food, then use a scrubber to remove them completely. Vacuum up the pieces of gunk with a shop vac. Before you use the grill each time, be sure to heat it up properly and brush off the grates before putting new food on to cook.

  • Tame the Flare-Ups

Keep a bottle with water handy next to the grill. That way you can tame flare-ups from grease quickly, before your food gets charred and gets that burnt flavor.

  • Use a Thermometer

Many of us have been taught how to test for doneness by pressing a finger to meat (which, according to Bobby Flay, goes like this: If it’s soft like the flesh between your index finger and thumb, it’s rare. If it’s soft like your cheek, it’s medium-rare, and if it’s firm like your forehead it’s well-done). Unfortunately, that is not the most accurate method. Invest in a good meat thermometer and use it. Keep it next to or hanging from the grill in a closed case for ease of use.

  • Keep It Steady

We all know a home BBQ enthusiast who constantly opens the lid of the grill and picks up the food with tongs, moving it about from one spot to the next. Resist the temptation! Leave food, especially meat, in one spot until thoroughly browned on one side. This will prevent the food from sticking to the grate and produce nice char marks.

  • Keep It Simple

Finally, here is one last piece of advice from Bobby Flay: keep things simple when you are serving a crowd at your perfect holiday barbecue. If you have several dishes that require different cook times, it is hard to keep track of what is done and what isn’t and keep moving food around to accommodate that. Stick with just burgers or dogs plus veggie skewers, perhaps. Your guests will be well fed and you can focus on cooking just a couple items just right.

An Unexpected BBQ Recipe

And here is a recipe for those of you still looking for something special for your 4th of July barbecue, courtesy of Melissa D’Arabian and the Food Network. This recipe will be sure to wow guests at your perfect holiday barbecue.

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Grilled Potato Salad


  • 7 small to medium red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bacon-Green Onion Vinaigrette, recipe follows


Preheat the grill.

Place the red potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with cold water, covering the potatoes by 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water begins to boil, about 8 minutes, add the sweet potatoes. Return to boil and cook for 8 more minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, onion and garlic powders, cayenne and some salt and pepper. When the potatoes are cool to the touch, toss them in the mayonnaise mixture and stir gently to coat.

Using tongs, place the potato pieces on the hot grill, and cook on all sides long enough to make grill marks, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Handle gently so they don’t fall apart.

In a large bowl, place the Bacon-Green Onion Vinaigrette. As the potatoes are cooked through, remove them from the grill and place the hot potatoes in the bowl with the dressing. Gently toss the potatoes in the dressing to coat completely and serve, warm or cold.

Bacon-Green Onion Vinaigrette

In a small saute pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Then set aside to cool. Once cooled, pour the bacon and fat into a small bowl along with the olive oil. 

In another small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil-bacon mixture, whisking to emulsify. Add the parsley, green onions and salt and pepper to taste, and whisk to blend.

Bacon-Green Onion Vinaigrette

  • 1 slice bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
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