Jul 27: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

Barbecuing is the obvious alternative when you don’t want to cook inside and heat up the house on a hot and muggy summer day. But feeding a crowd can get expensive if you entertain frequently or if there always seems to be a gang of hungry teenagers foraging for food in your fridge. This week we feature blog posts that have useful tips for cheap and cheerful summer barbecues.

First and foremost you need a grill. Barbecue Bible’s Steven Raichlen offers 8 questions to ask yourself before buying a grill or smoker. How much can you afford? Charcoal, gas, wood-burning or other? How many people will you be cooking for? What foods do you enjoy grilling or smoking? Is portability important? These questions and others will influence your purchasing decision.

Real Simple has 10 Money-Saving Ideas for a Summer Barbecue. Some examples are:

  • Skip the porterhouse steak in favour of a great flank steak.
  • It’s super easy to make do-it-yourself rubs and sauces.
  • Maintain your grill properly so it will last as long as possible.

In 7 Tips for Hosting a Low-Budget BBQ Readers Digest says don’t stress about impressing your guests with an elaborate menu. Instead of trying difficult recipes, serve simple dishes that you know they will like. Plus, if the kids at your barbecue are picky eaters, your uncomplicated menu is bound to please them.

Tiphero says the way to have a cheap and successful barbecue is to make the most of the meat you purchase by serving skewers. It breaks up the meat with some veggies to make for a nice, filling snack on a stick. Skewers are a great presentation and work wonderfully for portion control.

And finally, Stockpilingmoms gives 7 tips to a fun and cheap BBQ. What about a hot dog or bratwurst bar? Grab hot dogs, bratwurst or sausages for less than a steak, chicken or burger would cost.  Pick out regular, wheat, onion and poppy seed buns.  Offer different fresh or grilled veggies, relish, chili, and all your favorite condiments for a fun spin on a typical barbecue.  Let everyone build their own dog mixing and matching classic flavors to create a new favorite.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?” Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

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