OK, so the weather really hasn’t been in our favor lately. But once it does hit the 90s, and we’re out again in our flip-flops battling the inevitable East Coast humidity, it’ll be time to hit the grill. Here are some summer barbecue tips (with a Latin edge) from the chef who provided us the recipe for mango-glazed salmon earlier this week.
1) Rather than using the typical salt or vinegar to tenderize meat, try citrus. Add juices–sour orange or lime–to the meat at least 30 minutes (and up to 24 hours) prior to grilling.
2) Use chimichurri as a sauce or marinade for a Latin twist. The popular condiment is used on meats in South America and consists of parsley, garlic, oregano, olive oil, black pepper, and red-pepper flakes.
3) Getting bored of chicken and pork? Mojo–a mixture of olive oil, fresh garlic, and sour orange–is a Cuban staple that goes well with both. The sauce is easy to make, and marinating the white meats in it adds juiciness and brings out flavor.
4) Add fresh Caribbean fruit like guava and mango to basic marinades and sauces. To prepare fish and poultry, mix in lime juice, and add the mango for a hint of sweetness. For ribs, add fresh guava to barbecue sauces to give the dish some extra tang.
5) Corn on the cob can get a makeover with Havana Central’s signature rub. The combination of Parmesan cheese, parsley, crushed red pepper, and sugar makes it easier to eat your vegetables.
6) When entertaining, go with an all-out Latin theme to transport your guests to Cuba’s heyday. Play salsa music, set up a cigar-rolling station, decorate with bright colors and palm trees, and serve tropical cocktails and mocktails to pair with the food.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 9, 2012