Southern summer meals

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 11, 2017

Living in the Deep South has opened my eyes to many different recipes that I believe everyone should know how to cook during the summer.

Just because we’re not in the mood to crank up the heat in the oven, make some brisket, and toast some garlic bread, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy cool weather foods.

Nope, when it comes to enjoying the hot summer days lounging in the shade, there are some classics that taste better when made at home.

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The first thing that everyone should know how to make might be basic, but it is also a simple way to get in the groove of cooking on the grill and getting into the rhythm of summer. Every one should know how to grill a juicy burger.

There’s something about a homemade, not frozen, burger complimented with lettuce, tomato, cheese and toasted bun that makes a backyard barbecue feel like a summer vacation.

To start, I suggest using beef no leaner than 85 percent because although more fat provides more flavor, it also leads to the patty shrinking on the grill. Also, take it easy on the salt and wait until the burger is cooked to add it because salt actually takes moisture away from the patty, leaving it dry instead of juicy, when cooked.

Next, get crazy with it. Add combinations of seasoning with the ground beef until you find your own secret recipe. This will give your burgers a taste no one has savored before.

Mouthwatering sides compliment main dishes, like grilled corn, guacamole, salad with seasonal fruit and vegetable touches, and a creamy summer slaw.

But above all, what will keep your friends and family bragging about your culinary skills won’t be the food, but how you make your cold-brew homemade sweet tea. If you are lounging on a hot summer day, drinking an ice-cold sweet tea while munching on a juicy burger with a corn cob waiting on the grill, there’s no need to go on a vacation, because it simply does not get any better than that.