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Summer 2020 is going to be a weird one.
Grilling burgers on the barbeque is one of the most common images associated with summer. Unfortunately, with reports of possible meat shortages amid the coronavirus pandemic, or limitations on the purchase of beef at grocery stores, some people might be thinking about skipping grilling season this year.
But if burgers are hard to find, there are other options.
Fox News spoke with Chef Tony Matassa — a New Orleans cook who has spent the last 12 years creating recipe videos and product demonstrations for BBQGuys, an outdoor living superstore based in Baton Rouge — about the alternatives people can bring to the grill.
Depending on what meats are available (or affordable), he recommended looking for items such as chicken breasts, chicken wings, pork chops, pork tenderloin medallions, hot dogs, sausage and fish. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
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“If the expected meat shortage affects other meat industries besides beef, there’s still a lot of food that can be grilled,” he explained. “Grilled pizza is one of my favorite non-traditional barbeque dishes, and there are plenty of great recipes out there that are just fine with only cheese and veggies as toppings. Speaking of grilled veggies, one of the better options out there is elote, which is just sweet corn on the cob with mayo and spices. Now could also be the time to finally try veggie burgers — I recommend grilled portobello burgers in particular. And if you really want to switch things up, you can serve meatless breakfast at your barbecue. A breakfast hash of eggs, potatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and garlic tastes perfectly fine when cooked in a cast-iron skillet on the grill.”
Of course, the grill was never just for meats.
“People love smoked cheese dip, and you can also try your hand at grilled guac or grilled fruit skewers,” he continued. “For dessert, try using your smoker to bake cookies or a cake. Another great way to finish a barbecue is with homemade ice cream, especially at a time like this when we could all use a comforting reminder of our younger days.”
While he said that there aren’t really any foods that can’t be cooked on a grill, Matassa recommended staying away from serving foods that require a fork and knife to eat.
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“People are usually surprised when you incorporate international flavors into your barbecue,” he said. “Grilling is really an international thing, and there are so many flavors to experiment with. Korean barbecue and Ethiopian berbere spice mix are two things that come to mind. Grilled pizza can also be a real secret weapon at your next cookout, whether it’s cooked on a pizza stone or directly on the grill grates.”