Food in the Time of Barbecue

Latinos love food, period. But the one thing that we love more is succulent, juicy and tasty grilled food. The smell of some costillitas (baby back ribs), pimientos asados (grilled peppers) and chorizos (sausage) can seduce even the most determined weight watcher. I confess that I am guilty of being one of those that checks in their will at the door when attending a family barbecue.

However, grilling is an art and not everyone gets the best results despite their best intentions. Starting with the grill itself, always make sure you clean it regularly; and when I say clean it, it also includes scrubbing the lid and emptying the drip pan to prevent that baked-on gunk won’t flare up, infusing your food with a burnt flavor. The easiest way to get rid of the grease is to preheat the grill for 15 minutes and then scrub it with a stainless steel brush and a bit of degreaser.

Once the grill is clean, you are ready to rumble. I wish I can say that I have great cooking tips for you but I rather defer the task to our cuisine expert Denisse Oller. She manages to make me hungry every time I see her videos. If you don’t believe me, I have a few examples for you to judge by yourself.

Let me share these videos where Denisse prepares Chicken Bruchettas with Pineapple and Green Sauce and Salmon Burgers with Pink Aioli Sauce (Click on the links to view the videos en español) Delicious, right?

Denisse Oller is a journalist born in Puerto Rico to a family that includes the famed Oller, a well-known Latin American painter. Besides being a great cook and an amazing host, Denisse also shows that food is an essential cultural trait for Latinos and is often the glue that brings together family and friends. I hope you enjoyed these tips and recipes as much as I did. It is time for me to go and buy a new set of barbecue tools because this weekend I am hosting: My Cuban family is coming over for the weekend. Feliz verano and happy grilling!

Photo Credits: AARP; Mario Valladares / Courtesy of Denisse Oller