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Memorial Day BBQ? 8 Money-Saving Tricks (Sponsored)

Who’s NOT planning a BBQ this weekend? If the weather holds and you’ve got propane or charcoal, chances are, you’re grilling something with your friends and family. Here, new ideas for keeping your costs down. Sponsored by Home Depot.

2013-05-22 12:39:17.203616-04
2013-05-22 12:39:17.203616-04
By Kathleen F. Miller

Here at Patch, we like to be thrifty, so we talked to two barbeque experts and uncovered some really good ideas to help you save money on your next outdoor party.  

1. Start with a marinade. This means planning ahead -- say, Friday. But it’s worth it, says Rick Browne, host of Barbecue America on PBS, because you can pass up that well-marbled ribeye steak and buy a less tender and less expensive choice to grill like a flank steak or chuck steak. Just marinate it or brine for one or two days and then cook long and slow on the barbeque grill to break down tissues but maintain moisture. “You need to include an acid in the marinade, perhaps juice, vinegar or soy sauce, but avoid cola which is so acidic it can turn meat into a soggy mess.” Try these marinade recipe ideas.

2. Set your grill to medium heat. It’s so easy to overcook meat, especially when you’re entertaining. “Grilling over medium heat is key because the beef will be browned perfectly and cooked evenly,” says Dave Zino, Executive Chef and culinary spokesperson for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association. The same goes for chicken.

3. Dessert? Try Grilled Fruit. It's inexpensive and unexpected. “I love to grill fruit like watermelon, pears and pineapple. It really doesn't get any easier or healthier than that. If you need something to cool off with, serve the grilled fruit with a scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream,” Zino recommends.

4. Choose poultry instead of beef. Browne is a fan of “beer-butt chicken”, placing an entire chicken on the grill with an open can of beer inserted into it. “The beer steams the flesh and produces very moist and succulent meat.” He also likes turkey dogs and turkey bacon as a healthier choice for his popular “bacon wrapped cheese hot dogs” for kids. (There is no recipe -- you just wrap the hotdog in cheese, and wrap cooked bacon around it. Roll and condiments, optional.)

5. Or choose fish instead of beef. Browne likes to grill salmon on disposable cedar planks, which he soaks first so that the salmon remains moist while cooking.

6. Make your own coleslaw and baked beans. If you’ve got the time and the inclination, this is a big money-saver. We’re partial to Paula Deen’s coleslaw recipe and this root beer baked bean recipe from Aarti Sequeira of Food Network fame. And you can find healthy recipes in Browne’s Big Book Of Barbeque Sides.

7. Buy meat on sale or in bulk. Rick Browne says don’t be afraid to buy meat in the sale section of the meat display. “You can always take it to the store butcher to check out if you aren’t sure and rewrap.” Plus buying in bulk from Costco or another retailer is a great way to save money if you’re feeding a crowd.

8. Yes, you do want leftovers.  If you get a great deal on a package of steaks, grill them all up, says Zino. “I slice that steak up the next day and wrap it in a burrito for a protein-rich breakfast or serve it on a salad for a nice light steak salad with extra veggies and vinaigrette."

Planning a Memorial Day party or barbeque? Tell us what you're cooking in the comments below.

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