So Memorial Day Weekend is approaching. That amazing holiday where we Americans honor those who serve(d) in the military tirelessly keeping us safe from harm. We celebrate with family, friends, food and drink … lots of food and drink. And the food of choice is good old fashioned barbeque!
All over the States people are marinating, brining, slow cooking, grilling, smoking meats of all kinds in preparation for the feast. Oh and the side dishes! We are talking salads of all kinds. Desserts! Everything you can think of from Popsicles to ice box cakes and of course … jello molds! And we cant forget about the beer and cocktails!
Don’t forget the kiddos. They will need to be entertained. Outdoor fun is to be had with games and activities.
Even though it is much more laid back than a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas, Memorial Day is still is a lot of work! How can we make it easier on ourselves? Here are some ideas that may help to make your Memorial Day BBQ a little easier and tastier!
- Clean grill grates with aluminum foil.
- Use a forked halved onion to remove grease from grill grates.
- Check propane levels by pouring boiling water down side of disconnected tank. Note where the tank feels hot vs cold. Cold indicates propane level.
- Use Doritos as wood kindling (yes they are flammable).
- Divide grill into 2 heat zones – zone 1 warm heat for cooking/keeping food warm and zone 2 super hot heat for searing and finishing meats.
- Use chopsticks instead of grill tongs. They are disposable – no need for washing.
- Grilling Meats: grill, spray with 100% apple juice every few minutes, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Juice adds color, flavor and tenderness to the meats.
- Grilling Kebabs: double skewer them to make meats and veggies more secure. They will cook more evenly too.
- Grilling Fish: grill fish skin side down and do not flip.
- Grilling Hot Dogs: spiral cut dogs to cook more evenly and hold condiments better.
- Grilling Hamburgers: put an ice cube inside your burger patty and grill. This ensures a juicy moist burger.
- Keep this Grilling Cheat Sheet handy when grilling. Free Grilling Cheat Sheet from realsimple.com
- Insert cloves into lemon halves to use as chemical free insect repellent.
- Fill mason jars with sliced lemons, limes, rosemary sprigs, Lemon Eucalyptus oil and water. Top with a floating candle for a pretty table centrepieces that repels mosquitos.
- Fill empty wine and beer bottles with flowers and use as vases.
- Use a hollowed out watermelon as a flower vase.
- Make lanterns out of mason jars and glow sticks.
- Fill cupcake/muffin tins with condiments.
- Use cupcake/muffin tins as a tray to carry drinks.
- Pre-scoop ice cream into cupcake liners and freeze. Pop them out of liners and into bowls when ready to serve.
- Insert cupcake liners through popsicle stick to keep it from dripping on to kids hands.
- Put a mini marshmallow in the bottom of an ice cream cone to keep it from leaking.
- Use a clean rake to roast smores in bulk.
- Freeze water balloons and use them in place of ice in your cooler.
- Use frozen fruit (ex: grapes, berries) instead of ice cubes to keep drinks from getting watered down.
- Turn cupcake liners upside down poke with a straw. Use liner as a drink lid to keep bugs out!
- Wrap a wine bottle in a wet towel and put in fridge for 7 minutes to rapid chill it.
- Use ice cube trays to make jello shots.
- Mix up a watermelon cocktail and serve it right from the hollow melon – watermelon keg!
- Poor Man’s Margarita – Caprisun Tropical Punch pouch, cut off top, pour in tequila, squeeze lime, use straw to drink the “Caprila“
- Build a cardboard fort.
- Painting Party – lay a sheet in the grass and let the kids paint it!
- Make bubble wands out of bundled plastic straws.
- Sprinklers … enough said.
- Fill an empty hand soap pump with water to fill water balloons with ease.
- See pool noodle blog post for other activity ideas – not just for pools anymore!
- DIY movie screen in the back yard with plywood/pvc and a bedsheet
- Glow Bowling: fill 10 water bottles with glow sticks, set em up, bowl em down with a ball.
I am sure there are tons more tricks out there – these are just a few. Have you tried any of these? Were they winners or huge fails? Which is your favorite hack? I am super intrigued by the ice cube in the burger trick. Think I am gonna have to try that one this weekend… in the name of research.
Above all, remember what this holiday is all about. Fly The Flag. Play the patriotic music. Thank a soldier. Hug a veteran. Say a prayer for the fallen. Honor those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom and security. What are you going to do to recognize those who serve(d)? If you are/were in the military, what was the most touching thing someone has done to thank you? We love you and we appreciate you – this is your day – enjoy every last moment of it.