Sparklers and Fire Sticks – Celebrating the 4th of July

The idea of a themed barbecue revolving around grilled foods on a skewer is one I had been kicking around for a while now. Suddenly a light came on – 4th of July! We’ll all be firing up our backyard grills – why not cook everything on a “fire stick”? It would be fun, easy to serve; not to mention a change from all those burgers and dogs we generally grill up. Be it Beef, Chicken, Pork or Seafood, everything for your plate neatly packaged on a stick. Variety of selection with lots of veggies. How convenient! You can always do some burgers and dogs for the kiddies.

For dessert; let’s not forget my fruitfully delicious 4th of July Flag Cake. And who can resist sweet watermelon slices for the fireworks show!

Tips for success: Read through each recipe and make a grilling plan – decide what you wish to grill and note how long each recipe will take to prepare, marinate and cook. When ready to thread, prepare all the kabobs for each recipe at once. Be sure to clean your work surface between recipes to avoid cross contamination. Keep each type in an aluminum pan until ready to grill. Start grilling with the kabobs that will take the longest to cook. If there is room on the grill, add more kabobs based on their cooking time. If not, then grill in batches. Have additional aluminum pans with lids at the ready. Transfer grilled kabobs to awaiting pans, cover and hold in a warm oven until ready to serve. When everything is ready, set a serve yourself buffet tables that will allow guests easy access to plates, utensils and serving pans.

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Kabob - BeefSuper Sensational Sirloin Kabobs
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning
4 fluid ounces lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
7 UP Soda 12 oz Cans
2 pounds beef sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 green bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces skewers
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, stems removed
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 fresh pineapple – peeled, cored and cubed

In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, light brown sugar, distilled white vinegar, garlic powder, seasoned salt, garlic pepper seasoning, and lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage. Reserve about 1/2 cup of this marinade for basting. Place steak in a large resealable plastic bag. Cover with the remaining marinade, and seal. Refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add green peppers, and cook for 1 minute, just to blanch. Drain, and set aside.

Preheat grill for high heat. Thread steak, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and pineapple onto skewers in an alternating fashion. Discard marinade and the bag.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Cook kabobs on the prepared grill for 10 minutes, or to desired doneness.

Baste frequently with reserved marinade during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

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Kabob - ChickenHoney Chicken Kabobs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
5 small onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 red bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 Zucchini Squash, cut into rounds
8 Chicken breasts, boneless Skinless cut into 1 inch cubes
Bamboo Skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, soy sauce, and pepper. Before adding chicken, reserve a small amount of marinade to brush onto kabobs while cooking. Place the chicken, garlic, onions , squash and peppers in the bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (the longer the better).

While chicken is marinating, soak skewers.

Preheat the grill for high heat or build a hot bed of coals.

Drain marinade from the chicken and vegetables, and discard marinade. Thread chicken and vegetables alternately onto the skewers.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Place the skewers on the grill. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear. Turn and brush with reserved marinade frequently.

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Kabob - PorkApricot Preserve Grilled Pork Kabobs
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick) boneless pork loin chops (1 lb.), trimmed of fat
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt or dried pork seasoning
2 small zucchini, cut into 12 (1-inch) pieces
8 medium mushrooms
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 12 pieces
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Heat grill or build a nice fire.

Sprinkle both sides of each pork chop with seasoned salt; cut each chop into 4 pieces.

Alternately thread pork pieces, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper evenly onto four 12 to 14-inch metal skewers.

In small bowl, combine preserves and vinegar; blend well.

When ready to grill, place kabobs on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium coals.

Brush with preserve mixture. Cook 5 minutes.

Turn kabobs; brush with remaining preserve mixture. Cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until pork is no longer pink.

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Kabob - SeafoodGrilled Shrimp, Scallops and Squash Skewers
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 pound sea scallops
12 large shrimp in shells, raw
8 medium whole fresh mushrooms, (about 6 ounces)
8 cherry tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, (about 1 inch in diameter), cut into 1-inch slices
Metal Skewers

Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

Mix lemon juice, oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Cut scallops in half if over 1 inch in diameter.

Thread scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes and zucchini alternately on each of four 10-inch metal skewers. Brush with lemon juice mixture.

Grill uncovered 4 inches from medium heat 10 to 15 minutes, brushing frequently with lemon juice mixture and turning once, until scallops are white and shrimp are pink and firm.

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Memorial American flags

Still looking for 4th of July ideas? Here are the links from past years for your humble consideration.

Keeping the 4th of July Simple

Beverage:
Vintage Lemonade

Main Attraction:
Fresh Ground Gourmet Burgers with Fire-Grilled Red Onions
Beer Bratwurst with Caramelized Grilled Onions

On the Side:
Mema’s Macaroni Salad
Cheater’s Easy Baked Beans

For Dessert:
Home Made French Vanilla Custard Ice Cream

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The Birth of a Nation – An Independence Day Celebration in Food

Beverages:
Vintage Lemonade
Snapple Inspired Iced Teas

Main Attraction:
The Ultimate Barbecued Chicken
Easy Onion Burgers
Grilled Hot Dogs

On the Side:
Macaroni Salad
Potato Salad
Baked Beans
Corn on the Cob

For Dessert
4th Of July Flag Cake

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