Summertime – the blistering heat may ward off some, but nothing beats the taste, smell, and ambiance of a summer barbeque. Although some people consider “throwing a barbeque” to be an easy task, there are many steps you can take to bring your barbeque to the next level.
The centerpiece of any barbeque is the meat, of course. Some steaks, such as rib roasts and tenderloin roasts, aren’t the best choices for summer – if you’re looking for something that both fills the stomachs of your guests but doesn’t cause any heat-related illness due to over-eating, lean towards asking your butcher to turn one side of the short loin into porterhouse steaks, and the other side cut into top loin and filet mignon steaks. If you want to make sure grill newbies don’t over-cook your cuts, have your butcher cut the steaks into 38mm thick pieces.
Where there is steak, there is also bound to be wine. Your guests will most likely bring bottles of whatever they had laying around the house, which can pose a tough dilemma to you – do I serve what they brought even though it doesn’t go along with the cuts I’m serving, or do I “save it for later,” and bring out my bottles? If you know which wines pair best with different steaks, you may be able to save yourself some embarrassment. If your guests bring a California Zinfandel, for example, this will pair well with porterhouse steaks due to its moderate tannins and high acidity. Practically perfect with any cut is Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a higher alcohol content and high tannins which can cut through the fat of your steak and make the wine taste less bitter. If wine isn’t for you, there are still many options you can provide for your guests – serving Manhattans with steak can complement well, especially when using an aged bourbon or rye.
Last and certainly not least, you will need to serve other food at your barbeque (even though the wine and steak will be the main players in your summer Soirée.) For those who prefer something green with their steak, salads with a simple balsamic vinaigrette will pair well, because of the acidity of the dressing. Avoid heavy dressings such as ranch when serving steak – the creamy, thick texture of ranch and other fatty dressings will coat the palate and distract from the meat. In addition to salad, a number of fruits pair well with steak, especially those that are much sweeter, such as kiwifruit, pineapple, and mango.
All in all, sit back, relax, and watch your summer gathering come together. As long as you pair everything just right, your guests will leave with full stomachs and smiles on their faces. Once your guests have been fed and the conversation is flowing, finish off the night with a cigar to seal the deal – your friends and family members will come back for more.