Celebrate freedom by the barbecue’s red glare

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Dan Bolyard/courtesy photo Nothing says ‘America’ like a properly-grilled burger. Or chicken, or veggies.

It is that time of year when people really come out and celebrate: the Fourth of July.

With the holiday comes a reminder of food safety. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Food poisoning is a quick way to ruin the festivities.

Grilling burgers is probably the easiest thing to do. You just go to the store and buy some patties and throw them on the grill when you get home, right? Maybe. I’d prefer purchasing ground chuck, gently seasoned throughout with either salt and pepper, or a seasoning blend. I’ll gently make up patties and then place them on a hot grill. Gotta get those grill marks! They add to the flavor too. If you do buy patties, at least season them before cooking.

POTATO SALAD

1 pound new potatoes, cooked and peeled

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 head loose leaf lettuce

1/2 head romaine lettuce

3 green onions, chopped

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cucumber, sliced

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 medium tomatoes for garnish

Dice the potatoes while still warm and combine with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Let the potatoes marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Tear the lettuces into bite-size pieces and place in a salad bowl along with the green onions, celery, cucumber, and marinated potatoes. Mix the remaining lemon juice with the mayonnaise. Add to the salad and toss lightly. Garnish with tomato slices or wedges.

PASTA SALAD

1 (16-ounce) package rainbow pasta

1 onion, chopped

1 chopped bell pepper

1 ( 8-ounce) can olives, sliced

4 chopped tomatoes

1 (4-ounce) can green chilies

1/3 cup vinegar

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon chili powder

In a large pot with boiling, salted water cook pasta until nearly done. Drain. Meanwhile, combine chopped onion, bell pepper, olives, tomatoes, and green chilies in a large bowl. Prepare dressing by mixing together vinegar, cilantro, garlic salt, lemon juice, vegetable oil, and sugar. Mix cooked pasta with vegetables. Toss with dressing and serve.

GRILLED VEGETABLES

1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

2 red bell peppers, halved and seeds removed

2 yellow bell peppers, halved and seeds removed

2 zucchini, sliced

2 large onions, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

Vegetable oil

1 cup teriyaki sauce

Brush vegetables with oil to coat. Preheat grill for high heat. Brush grate with oil. Arrange vegetables on grill, with the peppers away from the center. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once. Baste with teriyaki sauce frequently. Vegetables will cook at different rates; remove tender pieces from the grill, and continue cooking until all are done.

GRILLED CORN

1/3 cup butter

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

6 ears sweet corn, husked

Preheat grill for medium heat. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in mustard, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon pepper seasoning. Place each ear of corn on a 13x12-inch piece of heavy aluminum foil. Drizzle with butter mixture. Wrap loosely, leaving space for steam, and seal. Grill over medium coals for 15 to 20 minutes, or until corn is tender. Carefully unwrap foil, and serve.

GRILLED RIBS

Vegetable cooking spray

2 racks ribs, cut in half

Barbecue sauce, as needed

Spray a large enough piece of aluminum foil with vegetable cooking spray to cover ribs. Brush the ribs lightly with barbecue sauce and wrap in foil. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake ribs, wrapped tightly in the foil, for 2 hours. Remove from foil and place on hot grill to finish. Add more sauce, if desired, right at the end of cooking so as not to burn.

BARBECUED CHICKEN

2 broiling chickens, halved for broiling

Vegetable oil

1 (14-ounce) bottle ketchup

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Juice of 1 lemon

3 lemon slices, unpeeled

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Tabasco sauce to taste

1 garlic clove, flattened

1 cup chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Rub all surfaces of the chicken with oil. Combine the remaining ingredients and simmer briefly. Place chickens, bony side down, on a grill over a charcoal fire. Using a pastry brush, baste chickens with the sauce during broiling, turning several times. To achieve a slight crust, place grill closer to coals toward end of cooking time. When chickens are thoroughly cooked, remove them to a heatproof platter and spoon any remaining sauce over them.

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