An Al Fresco Feast with Summer Foods

There’s nothing like celebrating the last month of summer with an al fresco feast!   

This comprehensive BBQ menu, utilizing the freshest foods of the season, will take your next BBQ to a whole new level of tastiness.  So forget the wieners and patties and let’s get cookin’!



The Menu:

  • Lil’ Something Southern Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  • Mexican Brisket Tacos
  • Homemade Salsa Caliente
  • Homemade Guacamole
  • Corn Salsa Fresca
  • Vinegar-Style Cole Slaw
  • Saskatoon Berry Pie (or blueberry pie)


Lil’ Something Southern Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This dry rub, with a little help from the smoker, it’ll make you slap someone Southern. 

  • 1 3-pound pork butt roast
  • The Dry Rub:
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder

Cut the pork into four chunks and trim the fat.  Mix up the dry rub and massage it evenly into the meat.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.  Prepare a smoker with wood chips; I prefer mesquite, but you can pick your poison.  The pork should roast for 5 to 6 hours, depending on the heat of your smoker.  Keep turning the slabs of meat.  The exterior should be crispy on the outside with a rosy, soft interior.  Once it’s finished, I always spice up my BBQ sauce with a little lime, red pepper flakes and apple cider vinegar.  For a great store-bought BBQ sauce, try Stubbs BBQ sauce.  Yum!  Shred and toss the pork in the BBQ sauce then serve on your favorite bun or roll.


Mexican Brisket Tacos

Brisket should be cooked slowly over several hours, but is relatively low maintenance.  I use an antique roasting oven, but you can also use a large crock pot (slow-cooker) or even a large roasting pan like a le creuset cast iron with the lid. 

  • 1 3-pound brisket
  • 3 jalapenos, sliced in thin strips (seeds in for heat)
  • 3 poblano peppers, halved in length then sliced thin in strips
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of salsa (Use homemade or store-bought; take your pick.)

Slow roast the brisket at 325 for 6 hours.  I personally like to sear it in the pan to crisp the outside before I shred it.  Shred and toss with a bit of salsa.  Serve it with soft corn tortillas, salsa, guacamole and fresh cut cilantro.


Homemade Salsa Caliente

Nothing compares to fresh salsa!  Do yourself a favor and give this recipe a whirl.  It’s guaranteed to become one of your favorites.

  • 8 fresh tomatoes (Feel free to mix varietals of tomatoes for complexity)
  • 4 anaheim peppers
  • 2 jalapenos (leave the seeds in for extra spice)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • juice from 1 lime
  • ¼ small white onion
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro
  • salt
  • pepper

Blend the ingredients in a vitamix or high-powered blender.  Serve with tortilla chips.


Homemade Guacamole

  • 4 large avocados
  • ½ white onion, diced fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, diced (seeds in for spice)
  • 1 anaheim pepper, diced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • juice from 1 lime
  • a few dashes of hot sauce, or a spoonful of salsa

Mash up the avocados then mix in the ingredients until evenly distributed.  Serve with brisket tacos and as an appetizer with the chips and salsa.  Leave the avocade pit in the bottom of the guacamole bowl to keep it green.


Corn Salsa Fresca

  • 5 ears of corn (Cook then cut kernels from cob)
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 jalapenos, diced fine (for a spicier dish, leave the seeds in)
  • 2 anaheim peppers, diced
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • ½ cup of fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 3 dashes of hot sauce
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Mix ingredients and serve cold as a refreshing side.


Vinegar-style Cole Slaw

For a refreshing and zesty twist, try this scrumptious Vinegar-style cole slaw.

  • ½ head green cabbage, sliced thin
  • ¼ head red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 anaheim pepper, seeded and sliced thin
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Mix the slaw ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix the dressing with a wire whisk over moderate heat funtil the smooth mixture is just boiling.  Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss.  Cover and refrigerate until it’s time to serve.   


Saskatoon Berry Pie

Saskatoon Berries are finally in season!  If you’re not in an area with Saskatoon Berries, pick up blueberries for an equally delicious summer pie!

  • 4 cups of Saskatoon berries (or Blueberries)
  • 7 Tablespoons of corn starch
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Mix ingredients.  Fold your dough into a pie dish. I personally love Pillsbury pie dough if you’re going for store-bought.  Pour pie filling into the shell.  Cover with pie dough then create slits or lattice-work to your preference.  Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream then brush the mixture over the pie dough for an added sheen and crispy texture.

Now whip up a pitcher of Margaritas, put some beers on ice, crank up the tunes and you're ready to BBQ!

Tags: BBQ, corn salsa fresca, fresh seasonal ingredients, guacamole, homemade salsa, mexican brisket tacos, pulled pork, saskatoon berry pie, summer foods, vinegar-style cole slaw

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