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A “Manly” Father’s Day Barbecue

Dads love barbecue. As a matter of fact, many of them pride themselves in being great grillers! But on Father’s Day, it’s time for Dad to rest, and the holiday provides a good opportunity for other family members to treat him to a hearty barbecue that will certainly find a way to his heart.

Father’s Day barbecues don’t consist of wimpy chicken breasts or other foods in petite servings. Barbecuing for Dad’s special day should include a menu that boasts plenty of “manly” foods for his enthusiastic appetite. And while the guest list will certainly include all the kids, it’s fun to invite other fathers to the party as well, making it a decidedly macho event.

Making Plans

Whatever you decide to prepare for your Father’s Day barbecue, be sure to keep Dad’s taste in mind. Most men enjoy a juicy chunk of beef but not all of them are meat lovers, so be creative with the menu if your Dad or husband has a penchant for something else.
Once you’ve decided on the menu, be sure to plan ahead and gather all your food and supplies. If Dad is normally the “king of the grill” and it’s simply not your territory, check around and make sure you have everything you need to grill up a large dinner – charcoal and lighter fluid if you’re using a charcoal grill, and a full propane tank if you have the gas variety – and all the necessary utensils.

Remember, detailed preparation is the key. Before you go shopping, make a list of all the foods you need and the best place to buy them. When you get home, make a chart that includes starting times for cooking various dishes and also plenty of time to clean up the yard, set up the tables, and do anything else necessary for a successful party.
Got kids? Enlist their help. This is a day for them to honor their Dad and even the smallest child can carry paper plates from the kitchen to the back yard or help with other menial tasks.

Considering the Menu

This is Dad’s special day, so take time to plan the menu from start to finish. If you’re having others over, you can ask them to contribute as well.

Appetizers - Start the party with some finger food guests can pick on while they’re waiting for the grill to warm up and the main meal to be served. You can go for something as simple as chips and salsa or pretzels, but you can also include tangy chicken wings with sauce; skewers of chicken, shrimp, or beef; stuffed mushrooms; tomato-topped bruschetta; or even steamed oysters. Have plenty of cold soft drinks, beer, and lemonade available for guests to quench their thirst while snacking on pre-dinner munchies, especially on a hot day.

The Main Event – If it’s to Dad’s liking, go for the steaks! Nothing says “manly” like a thick, juicy steak that’s cooked on the grill…just the way he likes it. A sirloin, porterhouse, or rib-eye cut is very flavorful and a good cut of steak should be perfect without lots of fancy rubs or marinades. Look for beef that’s marked “prime” or “choice” for the ideal cut for grilling. As you grill, watch the steaks carefully so as not to overcook them, or assign a more experienced griller to the task if it’s just not your thing. You might also consider including a nice rack of marinated ribs (use his favorite marinade, if desired) or some seafood that lends itself to grilling, like salmon. If Dad is a burger and hot dog man, by all means, include those on the menu but splurge a little and buy the best you can get.

Side dishes – Here, you can go with the usual picnic foods like cole slaw or potato and macaroni salad. Remember, however, that they don’t do well in the heat, so keep them inside or in a server that contains ice to keep them cold. Bake bean casseroles are always a favorite, a spinach salad garnished with strawberries and walnuts is a good summer dish, and grilled corn and a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes are ideal with steaks. (Make the potatoes ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven.)

Desserts – No fluffy angel food cake for this manly barbecue! Instead, offer 7-layer chocolate cake, apple pie, and more of Dad’s favorites. If you’d like to try your hand at grilling fruit, it’s sure to be a hit with the crowd. Hard fruits like pineapples, apples, bananas, or pears work best but summer fruits like peaches and nectarines are also good. They can be cooked directly on the grill or in a grill basket and may be marinated in brown sugar and cinnamon, honey, or even rum. Top them with some premium ice cream!