Inspiration for your summer barbecue

A summer barbecue has a few rules and norms. Firstly, there needs to be something you can grill – of course. Attendees probably also expect to snack on some finger food and have refreshing drinks. The spread should be easy, delicious and fun. Aside from these parameters, your summer barbecue can be as creative or bare bones as you like.

If you do have the inkling that you could add a little something to this year’s line up, we have some suggestions on what to try. This might come in particularly handy this week, if you plan to host friends and family for a day off on Thursday. Surprise them with a new dish or more flavorful toppings and have folks coming back for seconds this year.

The most simple upgrade you can make to your shopping list is the quality of your ingredients. Sourcing the meat for your burgers or the lettuce and tomato topping locally can add an extra depth of flavor that you can’t achieve from grocery store ingredients. One easy swap is to upgrade your slices of cheese to a locally produced variety from Moon Hill Dairy or Colorado Farmhouse Cheese Company.

The next tactic to spicing up your summer barbecue is adding a new dish. While it is important to keep the tried and true favorites, the family recipes, and the kiddo’s favorite dishes, it is worth sneaking a new one in there this year. Think cucumber salad, grilled zucchini, or sauteed rainbow chard.

Rocky Mountain Fresh heirloom tomatoes.

Luckily, this time of year is filled with abundance at the farmers market with cucumbers and tomatoes slowly making their way off the fields and maybe even a few early season peaches popping up at the markets. All of the main ingredients in the cucumber salad recipe below can be found at the one stop shop of the farmers market this evening.

So you’ve made it through planning your meal, but what about dessert? There is no need to sacrifice on taste or quality just because you have exhausted your efforts on a main meal with numerous side dishes. The farmers market offers the perfect solution – fresh made treats that you don’t have to cook yourself. A pie from Hinman Pie will make everyone’s day with the choice of cherry, blueberry, or apple. If there are folks looking for a non-dairy option, grab a few pints of Best One Yet ice cream to serve on the side.

Haykin Family Cider sells a variety of hard cider at the Boulder Farmers Market.

Top off your farmers market shopping list with a treat for the adults at your barbecue. Haykin Family Cider offers a selection of locally made hard ciders. The ideal combination of lightly sweet and refreshing, this is the perfect drink for a hot summer day. Looking to impress your company with a cocktail combo? Check out Roxies Remixes for unique, delicious drink mixers. Even better, these mixes are free of alcohol, so you can choose your liquor of choice or mix up an alcohol-free version!

The Wednesday farmers market is the perfect place to get the most fresh ingredients for any Fourth of July festivities, plus once your shopping is done, start your holiday with dinner from the food court and a cold beer from Wild Provisions. Wishing everyone a safe, happy holiday!

Colorado Cucumber Salad

6 Rocky Mountain Fresh mini english cucumbers
3 Tablespoons Vinegar
1 ½ Teaspoons Bjorn’s Colorado Honey or Boulder Valley Honey
½ small red onion
2 Tablespoons chopped dill
Black pepper

Peel cucumbers if desired. Slice thinly and toss with one teaspoon of salt and leave in the sink to drain.

Combine vinegar and honey until honey is dissolved. Shake out remaining moisture from cucumbers and combine with red onion and dill. Pour vinegar and honey on top, toss and season with salt and pepper to taste.

This salad keeps well overnight, so is easy to prepare in advance of hosting!

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