Backyard BBQ or Picnic Turned up a Notch

The weekend is coming, and if you’re like me, I start thinking about the weekend, right about now! I especially like gathering ideas for what I might BBQ or grill and just really enjoy being outside. Try breaking away from grilling steaks, ribs or chicken and give some of these recipes a whirl.  There’s totally a laid-back vibe but with a little added sophistication.

Potato Salad with Dill and Mustard

This recipe is really easy to make and uses ingredients that we actually have in our kitchens.  No major fancy things here but a really solid good taste.  Feel free to change things up a bit and add a bit more of something you like; once you’ve made it once, you can really make it your own.

  • 10 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup hot dog relish
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/2 cup prepared mustard
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Steam potatoes in a stovetop steamer for 10-12 minutes, until just tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Place on a baking sheet to cool.
  • Whisk together mayonnaise, relish, dill, mustard, vinegar and salt and pepper.
  • Place cooled potatoes into a large salad bowl and add celery, onion and mayonnaise mixture.
  • Season with salt and pepper and toss well to combine.

 Brown Sugar Barbeque Chicken Drumettes

This is a simple sauce that can be made ahead and refrigerated.   This sweet barbeque sauce is sure to please almost everyone. Chicken drumettes are actually part of the chicken wing — just the right size for nibbling. To store, refrigerate, up to 2 weeks.

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 pounds chicken drumettes, patted dry
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Set aside 1 cup sauce for tossing raw chicken; use rest for baked chicken.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds; line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  • Divide drumettes between baking sheets, and toss with reserved 1 cup sauce.
  • Bake chicken until opaque throughout, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating sheets and tossing chicken halfway through. Toss baked drumettes with 1/2 cup sauce, and serve with remaining sauce on the side.

 Corn and Bacon Muffins with Herb Butter

Mmm, I love how these muffins just break away in your hands with delicious goodness.  The corn gives it a heartier feel.  Bet you your guests won’t be able to eat just one.

  • 12oz / 350gms hardwood-smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 2½ cups self-rising flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups grated white sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup fresh yellow corn kernels (from 1 cob)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives
Herb Butter
  • 1 stick / 120gms softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the muffins
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Cook the bacon in a heavy large sauté pan over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until the bacon is brown and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels.
  • Brush 12 standard-size muffin cups generously with some of the bacon drippings from the pan, and set aside ½ cup of the remaining bacon pan drippings to cool slightly.
  • Whisk the flour, salt and cayenne pepper in a large bowl to blend.
  • Whisk the milk, eggs and reserved bacon pan drippings in another large bowl to blend, then stir in the bacon, 1½ cups of the cheese, the corn kernels and the chives. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing equally and mounding generously. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the remaining ½ cup of cheese.
  • Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the muffins are golden and a tester inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Cool slightly.
For the herb butter
  • Mix the butter, chives, and parsley in a medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the butter over wax or parchment paper and roll into a small log and refrigerate until set.
  • Run a small sharp knife around the muffins to loosen them from the pan then remove the muffins and serve warm with pats of the herb butter


Maple Planked Cajun Shrimp

This is a great leave-it-and-be recipe that is simple and delicious.  Just throw on the grill and let it do it’s thing.  Guests can help themselves and you haven’t been slaving over the BBQ.

      • 1 untreated maple plank, about 38 x 15-cm (15 x 6-inch), for grilling
      • (3/4 lb) peeled large raw shrimp, with the tail
      • (2 tablespoons) olive oil
      • (1/2 teaspoon) Cajun seasoning
      • Chopped fresh chives, to taste
      • Lime wedges, to taste
  • Soak the plank in water for at least 1 hour.
  • In a bowl, combine the shrimp, oil, and spices. Set aside.
  • Preheat the grill, setting the burners to medium. Place the plank on the grill and heat for about 10 minutes or until the wood is well marked. Flip the plank and place the shrimp on it. Close the lid and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked.
  • Sprinkle with chives and serve with grilled lime wedges.

Sausage, Bell Pepper and Corn Pizza

Pizza tastes so good grilled on the BBQ.  Plus, this recipe provides some interesting flavours and is a unique twist to the traditional BBQ.  It calls for the use of fresh pizza dough, which you can make yourself if you are a snazzy baker, but I prefer to just buy a pizza dough ball, either fresh or frozen, from the supermarket.  Just make sure it is thawed out and follow the recipe as if you whipped it up yourself.  You can even use Naan bread if you are really pressed for time.  Easy and simple.


Seasoned Oil
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 500 ml (2 cups) baby spinach
  • 170 g (6 oz) dry sausage (chorizo or other), thinly sliced (mild or spicy)
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and cut into thin strips
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 recipe pizza dough (see recipe)
  • Salt and pepper
Seasoned Oil
  • In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine the spinach, sausage, and bell pepper.
  • In another bowl, combine the cheese and corn.
  • Preheat the grill, setting the burners to high. Oil the grate.
  • Cut the pizza dough in half. On a floured work surface, thinly roll out the dough into two 35-cm (14-inch) in diameter crusts.
  • Reduce the grill temperature to medium. Oil the grate.
  • Place one crust at a time on the grill and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the bottom of the crust is lightly toasted. Turn the dough onto a board and brush with the seasoned oil. Top with half the spinach mixture and cheese mixture.
  • Slide the pizza onto the grill. Close the lid and cook for about 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Season with pepper. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Recipe credits: Potato Salad, Chef Michael Smith; Brown-Sugar BBQ Drumettes, Martha Stewart Living; Corn And Bacon Muffins, Curtis Stone;
Cajun Shrimp & Sausage, Bell Pepper and Corn Pizza, Chef Ricardo Larrivee


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