I have a friend whose parents used to grill all year round, in any weather condition, at various times of the day. As jealous as it made me, I believe that grilling is especially magical in the summer, when corn on the cob is in season and party guests contribute warm weather desserts like banana pudding. On my past two visits home, I had the privilege of participating in two delicious cookouts.
One of the meals, which took place on Father's Day, centered around grilled prime rib. None of us had eaten prime rib from the grill before, but my dad used his trusty copy of How to Grill (by Steven Raichlen) as a guide. I've never followed the book's instructions myself, but I know that any grilled item my dad has made with Raichlen's help has been a success. Father's Day was no exception; the meat was so succulent that I can't remember what else we had, although I know all of the side dishes were also tasty.
For his 4th of July cookout, my dad smoked a chicken, two pork shoulders and a brisket. We sliced the brisket, pulled the pork and chopped the chicken to make barbeque sandwiches. I brought Extra Billy's barbeque sauce (hot and regular) from Richmond, and my dad made his own vinegar sauce for the sandwiches. We also had cole slaw to put on them, along with my mom's potato salad, a green salad with pine nuts, tri-color rotini pasta salad, and crisp green beans with sesame seeds, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Paired with locally brewed beer, the meal was flawless, dessert was just as appealing. The aforementioned banana pudding was a perfect complement to the grilled food, and we also had homemade chocolate chip cookies, turtle brownies, and a lemon curd cheesecake with raspberry sauce. Parties like these don't happen too often, certainly not all year round, but the fruits of the grill are not soon forgotten.