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Beach barbecue must-have's: All you need to know

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There is something about a beach barbecue that really gets everyone revved up for good times and good eating. With the 4th of July just around the corner today is a good day to start planning.

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First things first. A grill. Don't have a small one handy? Plan on purchasing an inexpensive, portable grill at the grocery store for about $5. Have you heard of Flamedisk? It's a totally containable heating unit that is no mess and no fuss.

Invest in a couple of cheap coolers. Don't have one? Pick up the re-usable foam kind for under $5 at the grocery store. Make sure to pack it with plenty of ice a bit of water and a tablespoon or two of salt (keeps the ice from melting too fast).

The next order of business is the food. Don't over think this or make it too difficult. Snacks, drinks, main dishes, side salads and desserts. Make it easy on yourself, and take advantage of what your grocery store has to offer.

Be safe, have fun and laugh a lot. Give thanks for our ability to live free, say what we want and eat many delicious foods!

Happy beach barbecuing to you, your family and friends.

Snacks

  1. Chips and salsa is a good option since the hot sun will not spoil like other creamy dips. Make it a bit healthier with Tostito's Multigrain Tortilla Chips. They are super crunchy and full of flavor. Of course you could certainly make your own salsa, but we like Goya's Pica de Gallo. Find it in your Goya section of your market. It's chunky, packed with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and authentic spices. We love the hot variety.
  2. Of course, don't for get the Guacamole! Wholly Guacamole is pre-made and delicious. Find it in your produce refrigerated section.
  3. Pre-prepared green and yellow string beans. How many can you eat? If you are anything like the Long Island Grocery Headquarters, you can eat a whole bag and not have a single ounce of guilt! Find them in your favorite produce section's refrigerator case.
  4. Hummus is another beach party food. We love Tribe brand or Trader Joe's spicy variety. Get the biggest size you can find. It goes fast!

Drinks: Keep them chilled in the cooler

  1. Neuro Drinks. Stylish and refreshing.
  2. Beer. Nothing beats a mini draught keg from Heineken for real draught beer. For around $20 you get 5.1 litres of delicious, thirst quenching brew. Don't forget the Solo Square Red Cups.
  3. Ice Tea for the kids. Our favorite.... 4C Green Tea. Don't forget a pitcher and a big spoon to stir it all up. For $6 or under (they are often on sale) you will have a full day's worth of drinking.
  4. Mike's Hard Margarita's. Yum.
  5. Water. Water. Water.

Grilled Main Dishes: Keep it chilled in your cooler before cooking

  1. Hot Dogs. Oscar Mayer's Angus are mild tasting and made from all natural ingredients.
  2. Chili. All you need is a pot, a can of Bush's Texas Ranchero Beans and a burger or two (beef, turkey, chicken or veggie works here). Brown your burger in your pan, pouring off any excess fat. Open up a can of Bush's Texas Ranchero and pour it on top. These beans have all the flavors needed to make a zesty, mild and delicious chili. Cumin, peppers, and onions are already melded together. Heat with meat for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese. Sargento Reduced Sodium is packed with cheddar flavor. You won't miss the salt either it's that good! Feeding a crowd? Double or triple the recipe.
  3. Burgers. Beef, turkey, chicken, fish, lamb or veggie. One or all. Don't forget the cheese for the ultimate fixin'. We love Castello's Blue Cheese, which come packed pre-sliced and perfectly-sized for burgers. It's a winner! And speaking of winners, Michael Symon won the the Amstel Light, People’s Choice award for his pairing at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. Want his recipe? Here it is: Michael Symon's Fat Dog Burger w/ Creamy Havarti
  4. Pizza. Arnold Sandwich Thins, a jar of of your favorite red sauce (we like Prego Marinara for this) and some pre-shredded Mozzarella or Italian Cheese Blend (we love Kraft's 5 Cheese Italian blend. Natural shredded cheese, low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, provolone, romano, asiago, and parmesan cheeses) Plus....Don't forget the fixings. Pepperoni slices, granulated garlic, hot pepper flakes and dry oregano to make it authentic. Who doesn't like fixings?

Grilled Sides

  • Corn on the cob. Grill the corn in their husks after carefully removing the silks.
  • Zucchini. Slice zucchini in 1/2. Grill 5 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper.

Desserts

Keep it simple with jazzed up cookies and fruit.

  1. Walker's all butter shortbread cookies are super rich and sinfully delicious. Break out an individual pack of peanut butter and chocolate such as Justin's nut butter with chocolate and hazelnut (find these on Long Island at Wild by Nature, Fairway and Whole Foods) Spread on flat size of cookie, top with marshmallow and warm on the cool side of the grill for 30 seconds. Trust us, this is better than a regular old S'more!
  2. Watermelon, pre-cut fresh pineapple (find them in your produce section of your market) peaches and other stone fruits also get an extra special treatment when grilled. Have a little butter on hand? What about a pack of sugar? Sprinkle on your fruit right before you grill them and you have just transformed a regular peach into a spectacular and succulent dessert.

Other Must Have's

  • Rolls and Buns
  • Paper towels double as napkins and are good for clean up
  • Something
  • Tongs and a metal spatula.
  • Non-stick spray for the Grill.
  • Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, pickles, mayo packets (buy some at your favorite deli) a can of sauerkraut, and hot sauce. Don't forget seasoning for the burgers. We especially love McCormick's Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning which contain salt, pepper, garlic and paprika.
  • Citronella candles or candle sticks. Ouch! The black flies really get you on the ankles!

Be Safe. Have fun!

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