All the necessities for the perfect outdoor feast, from luscious recipes to expert tips, gadgets and more.
With several more weeks of summer still ahead of us and plenty of locally grown produce at our fingertips, there’s no better time to refill the propane tank (or stock up on charcoal or woodchips) and dole out the invites. And it couldn’t hurt to brush up on that open-flame terminology, either. Lesson one: the difference between grilling and barbecuing. The former refers to cooking over a direct flame or other high-heat source; the latter relies on indirect or low-level heat to slowly cook less expensive cuts of meat until tender. Authentic barbecuing can take all day or even several days, which works great if you’ve some vacation time to spare. For most, however, grilling is the way to go. Not sure what to make or how? Allow us—and a few high-profile experts—to help.
Hot Havana Nights
Cooking out with Cuba Libre’s
Whether it’s a casual, picnic-style barbecue with burgers, chicken and ribs, or a posh, sit-down surf-and-turf feast, even the most accomplished chef needs a list—or three. And it can’t hurt to get some advice from the pros.
“Even I make a list,” says Cuba Libre concept chef Guillermo Pernot, who lives in Wynnewood and operates restaurants in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Orlando, Fla., and, come next spring, Washington, D.C.
Pernot’s approach: Keep it simple and write it all down. “It really works for most things,” says Pernot, who’s credited with introducing Nuevo Latino cuisine to our area.
Because the scope of his kitchen duties is vast, Pernot utilizes a shopping and prep list to help him keep track of the restaurants’ inventory and to ensure that his supporting cast is up to speed. “The worst thing you can do is realize that you’ve forgotten something at the last minute,” he says. “You need to set aside a two- to three-day window before the date of your party, and create a schedule to help keep you organized and minimize stress.”
Pernot also recommends a thorough perusal of your pantry, fridge and bar—and be sure to take a walk around the house to assess the décor. When it comes to the food, don’t overcomplicate things. “Make a lot of cold salads that can be prepped ahead, use ingredients that won’t wilt—romaine or radicchio, jicama, avocado, pineapple—and plan your menu after you decide on the number of guests, not the other way around,” he says. “Cooking for eight is a lot different than 20.”
Check out Pernot’s recipes for Ensalada de Piñaw and Golden Sweet Corn on the Cob.