How To Have The Best BBQ In San Diego

By Paulette Mason

The southern coast of California enjoys blissfully warm weather practically all year round. As a result, there are plenty of opportunities to have the best BBQ in San Diego. A barbecue is an outdoor meal. At its most basic, a barbecue is just meat cooked over an open flame in a specially designed grill and eaten outdoors.

You can keep it simple, just you and the family, or you can invite a few dozen of your closest friends. Barbecues punctuate the summer months, especially on Memorial Day (May), Independence Day (July) and International Workers Day (formerly Labor Day, September). Father's Day, graduations and birthdays are also great excuses to have a barbecue.

The family barbecue traditionally features the culinary skills of the head of the household, or Dad, although anybody can learn. The secret lies in getting the black briquettes to light up and stay lit. A special lighter fluid is used to kick-start the action. The coals will flame brilliantly. When the flames die down, the briquettes develop a white ash coating. This is the perfect time to place the meat.

Barbecues make great "coming out" parties for those new marinade recipes you have been working on perfecting. Steak, chicken, fish, even vegetables can be marinated. Experiment with hot dogs and hamburgers for some low-budget family taste tests. There are few things better in this world than a potato wrapped in foil and then baked directly on the hot charcoals.

No barbecue would be complete without a complement of salads. This is where granny's recipes for macaroni or potato salads really shine. Your own concoction for a tossed green salad dressing would be welcome here, too. If you have a garden, it is the perfect place to source your salad vegetables.

This is the perfect time to eat fresh-grilled garlic bread. Simply slice a baguette lengthwise and then into individual portions. Slather with butter or margarine that has been mixed with fresh garlic and left to mingle all day. Place the bread butter-side-down on the grill and leave for a few minutes, until there is a pleasing grill pattern on the buttered side of the rolls.

Appetites are huge when people are eating outdoors. This is especially true when people have been swimming, surfing or even just lazing on the beach all day. It is practically impossible to have too much food at a barbecue. Potato chips and dip and crudites make ideal snacks for the family while waiting for the meat to cook. People can get very impatient when the outdoor cooking smells start wafting around!

When everyone has stuffed themselves senseless with meat, bread and salads, that is the time to bring out the desserts. Ice cream, jello and fruit salad all go down well at the end of the day. Don't forget the s'mores, the campfire delights that consist of two squares of chocolate melting on either side of a toasted marshmallow and held together with graham crackers. Alcoholic beverages are optional. If you are drinking, make plenty of water and soft drinks available and try to stick to low-strength beers when the sun is at its hottest.

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