The Five Best Side Dishes to Serve With Barbecue or Grilled Food

I love barbecue. By barbecue I mean, smoked meats, like spare ribs, pork shoulder, brisket or chicken. I also love grilled food. By grilled food, I mean burgers, steaks, brats, chicken and those sort of things. To go along with these delicacies, and to make a complete meal are side-dishes. Here are five sides that I like to serve whenever I have a get together and I am serving either smoked or grilled foods. These are all also super easy. So what if you start with some canned ingredients, the important thing is the outcome. Nothing wrong with doctoring things up a bit!

  1. Nacho Cheese Dip and Chips: This dip and chips have been made this way as long as I can remember in St. Louis, or at least forty years. A box of Velveeta Cheese, and a can of Rotel brand tomato with hot peppers. Melt the cheese and stir in the tomatoes in the microwave. Serve hot, with a good quality restaurant style corn chip or corn chip "scoops". People love, I mean love this, and it is so simple. I usually add an extra fresh jalapeno or a habanero if I have one.
  2. Baked Beans: I use my Mom's recipe, and many people in the St. Louis area make baked beans the same way. I always thought my Moms were the best, until I started making them. Now, mine are the best. I start with a few cans of pork & beans, usually Campbell's, and doctor them up with ketchup, brown sugar, onions, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and bacon. My secret ingredient is a big pinch of cayenne pepper.
  3. Potato Salad: potato salad with egg is what we like the best. Nice and tangy, with just a little bite.
  4. Cole Slaw: Cole slaw with a vinegar dressing is the preferred choice. If using a mayonnaise based dressing, light on the mayo is best.
  5. Home Made Ice Cream: Who doesn't love home-made ice cream. It is so easy to make, but gets the most compliments. People ask me before they come over if I'm making ice cream for dessert. I use on of the simple tub freezers that you can buy for about 45$. Braun, Cuisinart, even Black & Decker make them. I use real fresh heavy whipping cream and fresh milk. Do not go cheap on the vanilla. Spend the extra few bucks for the "real" vanilla not the artificial. You'll be glad you did, as there is a noticeable difference in taste.


If you serve these five side dishes at your next barbecue or cookout, your friends will be raving at how good a cook you are. No need to tell them how easy they were to prepare.

The Five Best Side Dishes to Serve With Barbecue or Grilled Food

If you would like a free recipe for Carolina Style Sauce and more information on Smoked Barbecue, click here: Jim Hess is an expert author who loves to cook, eat and write about real barbecue (and meat grilling). Click here to see much more

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Keeping Wasps and Flies Away from your Barbecue

It is one of life's oddities that we take a lot of trouble refrigerating meat, keeping food sealed and washing our hands before touching it, only to throw out the rule book when we have a barbecue. The meat is left out in the sun waiting it's turn to be cooked, exposed to the elements and there is no washbasin to be seen. Another oddity is that it is men that do most of the barbecue cooking: 7 out of 10 according to the American Dietetic Association ( in a survey. They also found that only 44% of these men washed their hands when cooking at the barbecue. Shame on us men! Why is it that, more often then not, it is women who get to do the day-in, day-out drudgery cooking, while men suddenly muscle in for those special occasions? Is this right, or am I imagining it?

Anyway, back to food hygiene. I am not suggesting that we plumb washbasins into our back yards but I would suggest that at least the following two precautions are still maintained.


The first one is that, even though it can be difficult to arrange, it is an absolute necessity that cooked meats never come into contact with raw meats either directly or via utensils, plates, bowls, trays or cutting boards. This is a very easy mistake to make, especially if you are not the usual cook of the house.

The other precaution is to try to keep wasps and flies away. You may know that their main purpose in life is to spoil your barbecue by diving at you and your guests and depositing some nasty germs - from nearby rubbish tips or animal dung - onto your food; and there is always the risk of being stung by a wasp.

A little tip is to avoid wearing yellow, as they are attracted to it. Of course, if there is someone you don't like very much, you could make a point of inviting them, but telling them to wear only yellow clothes (just say it is part of a role-playing game you have laid on). The unwanted guest can act as a decoy, attracting all the wasps and flies, while the rest of you enjoy yourself.

As this is a particularly nasty thing to do to anyone, an alternative is to lay out some yellow objects in a circle around the barbecue area. For example, you could wrap 10 bricks in bright yellow paper and place them evenly in a circle at a radius of, say, 8 feet from the picnic/barbecue area. Drop some treacle on each. They will act as decoys and reduce the threat of wasps and flies.

An even better way is to save some time by buying a few fly & wasp traps from Arkay Hygiene at As well as attracting wasps and flies, they will keep them trapped at least until you have finished your feast. Then you go and release them at your old boss's house.

Keeping Wasps and Flies Away from your Barbecue

Please note that Vernon has a wicked sense of humour and asks that you do not release any flying insects at anyone's house! Fly & Wasp Traps for the garden can be found at this page

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Party Planning For Teachers - Planning the End of the School Year Events Together

Now that the end of the school year is in sight, it's time for party planning. New teachers who are just starting to feel perhaps at "home" will find a party a good excuse to celebrate. After all, it's been a hard year and you deserve some time out of the classroom. Still unsure? Here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Plan Party Themes


Party themes are entertaining and a lot of fun for all teachers. A party theme also makes it easier to plan because the concept is there. They allow for a lot of creative planning and all teachers can get involved with the details of party planning. A few ideas for party themes include:

  1. Oscar night party theme complete with the red carpet, stars on the walk of fame
  2. Summer Beach party theme
  3. Taste of Italy

Party Activities

If you don't go the route of party theme planning, you can plan just a nice party on an open deck with just a few nice party activities. Or plan a BarBQ or other special treats, which is not so shabby either. Some of these parties actually make the best end of the year staff memories.

Music is a great way to connect. You could ask every teacher what music they would want to hear - just one song - and have a contest to see who can guess which teacher requested what song. It's also a great ice-breaker for the classroom, and especially right before the holidays.

Other party activities include:

  1. karaoke
  2. end of the year speeches, poems, songs, riddles, games. An adult scavenger hunt or twenty questions is a good idea too.
  3. going on a trip, or to a restaurant. Less cooking and preparation. This can also be a great way to celebrate the end of the new year in style!

Party Gifts for Teachers

What is a party without a special gift for teachers retiring or teachers taking a sabbatical? Gift certificates are a good first choice. Other ideas include:

  1. a book of a teacher's favorite author
  2. a certificate for a massage or spa or health club membership
  3. a nice journal
  4. a photo album containing special photos taken during the year

Time to Party

Consider planning an evening party event rather than an event during the day. An evening event gives teachers time to tune out. Take into account however that some teachers may not be able to come, especially if they have young(er) children and babies at home.

Have a super party! Whatever party ideas you bring to the staff meeting, your contributions are important so don't be afraid to share them. After all, a party is a good excuse for simply sharing each other's company and recharging for the following school year.

Party Planning For Teachers - Planning the End of the School Year Events Together

To receive your free ebook, "Taking Charge in the Classroom" and your free weekly ezine containing tips, news and other information for new teachers, visit the New Teacher Resource Center at []

Dorit Sasson is a freelance writer, educator and founder and director of the New Teacher Resource Center.

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BBQ For The kids

You will want to make your kids next party a fun affair during the summertime, and the messy but tasty foods offered at a BBQ can help make that happen. It is also a great part to mix with the summer holidays and you can hold it outside. That's three excellent reasons to host a BBQ in your backyard or at your local park.

To ensure that you have food that all the kids like at the party tell them in the invitations that it's a BYOB or a 'bring your own beef' affair. Of course they don't have to bring beef there are lots of options available. Someone may be a vegetarian and bring tofu, someone else might have a garden full of veggies they want grilled with butter and a few zesty seasonings. What's great about this potluck style affair is that everyone is assured that they have food they'll eat at the party and everyone can bring a little extra so people can sample new BBQ tastes.


Always decorate your BBQ parties with paper supplies. This makes for very easy clean up and very easy decoration. Whatever the holiday just make sure you find matching themed plates, napkins, tablecloths and so on. Then at the end of the BBQ hand your guests a trash bag and encourage them to take part in the great clean up. Even on holidays such as Earth Day you can celebrate with a great BBQ and using recycled materials make a quick clean up afterwards.

Games at the BBQ can be themed on whatever holiday you are helping to celebrate. There are an incredible number of games you can try, such as a Dinosaur Run, or Pass the Orange, which always ends with most guests giggling so hard they can hold their oranges.

BBQ For The kids

Mrs. Party... Gail Leino takes a common sense approach to planning and organizing events, celebrations and holiday parties with unique ideas for BBQ party supplies and fun free educational party games She explains proper etiquette and living a healthy life while also teaching organizational skills and fun facts. The Party Supplies Shop has lots of party ideas with hundreds of free holiday printable games and free birthday party activities. Over 100 adorable Party Themes to fit your birthday celebration, holiday event, or "just because" parties is at the Party Theme Shop. Party themes include cartoon characters, sports, movie, TV shows, luau, western, holidays, and unique crazy fun theme ideas.

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Essential Ingredients For BBQ

When exploring how to BBQ with perfection you will need to know the many essential flavors of various types of BBQ meats. I personally feel that simplicity is usually best. Too many contradicting flavors can take away from the flavor of the meat and will likely overwhelm your taste buds. With barbecue, the woods used during the cooking and the seasonings used for rubbing and marinating the meat should add flavor but not be over powering.

Among the more frequently used BBQ woods you will find apple, cherry and maple barbecue smoking chips. I like to have a few varieties available. I also am always sure to have on hand what I feel are the essential BBQ seasoning, spices, and basting products. These items can be used in various combinations based on your personal preference. Making your own BBQ rubs, brine, and barbecue sauces for any of your favorite meats will be quite easy if you keep the following list on hand.

Bbq Recipe

Basting & Sauce Ingredients:

Apple juice: This is Ideal for basting any BBQ meat and especially useful for ribs, pork butt, and chicken. Apple juice and apple cider can often be used in many brine recipes, bbq sauces, injections, or even in the water pan to keep the meat moist.

Apple cider vinegar: This is a great ingredient for BBQ sauces and mops. You may also use it to thin store bought sauces and make a quick and simple mop or marinade. This is also a great product for dressing bbq pulled pork.

Molasses: This is used primarily for making sauces. The bold flavor and dark color gives the sauce its thick texture an dark color. Molasses and apple cider vinegar are 2 key ingredients I use in my personal sauce recipes.

Whiskey or Bourbon: Using these can bring great malt flavor and help to add balance to your mops or sauces. Try a bottle mixed with half Jack Daniel's and half apple juice for basting BBQ meats.

Brown Sugar: This is another essential ingredient in my own barbecue sauce recipes. This is a great way to bring a subtle sweetness to pork butt, chicken, ribs, or pulled pork dishes. Brown sugar blends very well with hot or spicy flavors to give you just a touch of sweetness in your hot and spicy sauce.

Seasonings and Spices:

Onion powder: This is one of my personal preferences of ingredients for my BBQ rubs. The onion flavor works well with any BBQ meat.

Cumin: This is among the most important ingredients for BBQ rubs and chili recipes. This ingredient will bring a slight smoky flavor and it is especially good for a pork BBQ.

Paprika: The primary ingredient found in virtually all BBQ rubs as well as chili recipes. This adds a great color and flavor to any BBQ meat and the subtle flavor helps to balance the other ingredients.

Chile Powder: This flavorful blend can be used on any BBQ meat. This is a great way to add some spice or heat to your BBQ meat.

Garlic powder: One of the major ingredients in my personal recipes of BBQ rubs and sauces. This adds a subtle sweetness along with a touch of heat and brings balance to spicy flavors.

Kosher salt: I personally don't care for a really salty taste. This salt helps to bring out the actual flavor of BBQ meats and has a much more subtle flavor than regular salt.

Black pepper: A very important part of any seasoning blend to get that hot and spicy touch. The bold flavor and peppery fragrance makes any BBQ meat better.

The truth about BBQ is that personal preference dictates the end result more than anything else. Practice with the flavors you enjoy and try different combinations of seasonings. You will find some you like and some you don't but, ultimately you will enjoy the journey to find your BBQ perfection. The last and most important tip here is "cook low and slow". This simply means use a temperature of 325 degrees or less (275 - 300 degrees is best) and cook for a longer period of time. Always make sure the temperature is constant and keep you water pan full so the meat doesn't dry out. You can even BBQ in your oven at home during the winter if you think it is too cold to fire up the grill. Making BBQ in the oven will follow these same guidelines but for wood or smoke flavor you want to use a liquid smoke product rather than wood chips.

Essential Ingredients For BBQ

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5 Best BBQ Restaurants in the Tampa Bay Area

Many areas of the South are famous for their varied styles of delicious barbequed meats and Florida is no different. Tampa tends to be a melting pot of people from all around the country and the barbeque in the area reflects this diversity. Whether you are searching for that delicious style from Carolina, Memphis, Texas, or any other region, Tampa will have an establishment to satisfy your craving. While this list cannot begin to touch on how many places there really are in the Tampa Bay area to get some quality barbeque, it is a good start to figuring out some of the best places.

  1. Hungry Harry's is located at 3116 Land O Lakes Blvd just over the county line on the north edge of Tampa. The building is situated on a beautiful lake and looks like a giant red barn. Harry's has been in business for almost 30 years and is quite delicious. Their chopped beef is one of the best in town and they will gladly load it up with one of their signature tomato-based sauces. The prices at Harry's are extremely competitive and you should have no issues feeding your family, even on a tight budget.

  2. Alex's Southern Style Bar-B-Q is located at 5362 W. Village Dr in North Tampa in the Carrollwood neighborhood. Situated in a strip mall, many people can pass this place without ever knowing it is there (despite the plumes of delicious smoke pouring out of the building). Alex has been making this delicious smoked meat since 1995 and the residents of the neighborhood have been flocking to his store since it opened. A very good place to get a pulled pork sandwich or shredded beef sandwich with a distinct and delicious tomato-based sauce. The staff is always friendly and happy to serve the large crowds of customers they receive daily.

  3. Big John's Alabama BBQ is located at 40th St and Hillsborough Ave in Tampa. This place is a must-have for the true aficionado of delicious smoked meat and signature sauce. The Alabama style is apparent in the name and comes through in the thick sauce and large cuts of meat. With extremely hearty portions and some of the best signature sauce in the business, I recommend not missing the restaurant that has been a staple of Tampa since 1969.

  4. Jazzy's BBQ is another establishment that started in the mid-90's and is located in the middle of Tampa at 5703 W Waters Ave. The restaurant was started by a former defensive back of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Johnny Ray Smith. Jazzy's has a sweet or a spicy sauce that are both unique and delicious. With lunch specials going on daily for this delicious fare, it is recommended you call ahead or get there with plenty of time to spare.

  5. New World Brewery is not traditionally a BBQ restaurant, but they offer a buffet of delicious smoked meats Monday - Friday from 11am-3pm. New World is located at 1313 E 8th Ave in Ybor City. This is one of the best bars to get a quality craft beer in all of Tampa, so the addition of some delicious BBQ is a match made in heaven.


This list barely touches on all of the options for delicious BBQ in the Tampa Bay area. I recommend you try all of them and then venture out on your own and make your own list of the palaces of delectable meats

5 Best BBQ Restaurants in the Tampa Bay Area

Come and visit Tampa and some great Restaurants in Tampa and the Ybor City Neighborhood

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How To Cook On A Charcoal Barbeque

Pour the charcoal into a mound in the middle of your charcoal barbeque. Poke one or two firelighters (available from your local hardware or DIY store) around the charcoal and light.

Leave until the flames have gone out and the charcoal has turned to a light grey.This should take around 20 minutes. The charcoal BBQ is now ready to use. Spread the hot charcoal to the sides of the BBQ and place the grill rack on top.


Paint your chosen food with oil and place on the grill rack. Cover with a lid and cook for the required time as stated in your recipe. Some BBQ's have a vent in the lid to allow some heat to escape, if your barbeque has one of these, make sure to leave the vent open.

If your BBQ doesn't have a thermometer; (some BBQ's at the cheaper end of the market don't) a good indicator of the correct cooking temperature is to hold your hand over the top of the grill and count 5 seconds (I use the 1 elephant, 2 elephant way to count). If you can keep your hand there for that long then the heat is ready for cooking the food, too hot and the food will burn on the outside and be raw on the inside, a sure fire way to end up really sick! Just leave the coals to cool for 10 - 15 mins and test again.

Should your BBQ have a thermometer you're looking for an ideal temperature of 160C. Keep the heat on the grill constant by adding a few coals every half hour remembering to keep the lid on.

Try not to keep peeping under the lid as this lets all the heat out and the food will take longer to cook, you should be able to produce perfectly edible barbequed food if you follow the simple tips outlined above.

How To Cook On A Charcoal Barbeque

Find more ways to cook on Charcoal Grills and Barbeques

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Barbeque Cooking Made Easy

If you have trouble cooking on a barbeque then don't worry - you're by no means alone. Cooking in this way can be tricky, but there are some handy tips that you can use to make things better.

So where should you begin? The first thing that you should consider is of real importance and it too often overlooked by amateur cooks. We're talking about the issue of food hygiene. If you're used to cooking a lot then you may be aware of food hygiene issues already. It's vital that you apply those same rules when cooking on a barbeque.

Bbq Recipe

The way in which you handle meat is of particular importance. You should never allow cooked and raw meats to come into contact with each other. Equally, you should not allow the juices to be contaminated.

What this means for you is that you need to concentrate on how you prepare food, taking particular care to wash hands and equipment at regular intervals. If you're worried about being able to do this on the day then you should consider how much of the food preparation can be done prior to the occasion. Just as you won't want to take risks with the preparation, you'll also want to cook all food properly. It's vital that you have suitable equipment for the task.

Many like to use Weber BBQ grills, but you should use whatever you are comfortable with. Make sure that you know how the equipment works and which parts of the cooking surface reach which temperatures.

This is important because a failure to have this information will make it very difficult for you to cook food properly. You won't want to serve food that doesn't taste very good, or that could be harmful to your guests.

Cooking effectively on a barbeque needn't be an impossible task. Keep an eye on all food as it cooks, so that you are ready to step in if there are any problems. You can have an enjoyable day and make it one that your guests will all remember for the right reasons.

Barbeque Cooking Made Easy

Find out more about Weber bbq cooking by reading further articles by Keith Barrett. This article may be used by any website publisher, though this resource box must always be included in full.

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