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Memorial Day Grilling Menu

Even though summer is still almost a month away, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start. Just like we put away our winter wardrobe and pull out our flip flops, the same is true for how I cook.

I turn away from pot roasts and heavy foods that fill me up in winter. It’s time to fire up the grill and dine al fresco!

So what’s on the grill? Easy.

I have an entire summer to grill burgers and smoke pork butt. But to kickoff summer, it’s got to be steak. There are few things as relaxing as sitting on the patio, feeling sunshine on my face and smelling the delicious aroma of a ribeye.

Of course, a juicy steak is just part of the show. I love visiting farmer’s markets, anxious to see what’s been harvested. In Iowa, we pick asparagus in May. So my grill will have a grill basket full of tender stems of green asparagus. Simply drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on the spears before adding to the grill.

I like my asparagus crisp-tender, so I add mine to the grill about two minutes before the ribeye comes off. The asparagus finishes cooking while the ribeye rests, coming off the grill before it’s cooked too soft. Sometimes I drizzle aged balsamic before serving. Other times I don’t have a chance - my kids grab the warm spears and eat them like finger food!

A long weekend calls for cocktails. I’m going to experiment with making rhubarb syrup - I’ll let you know if I come up with a recipe worth sharing. If the rhubarb cocktail is a bust, I’ll be shaking up Hendrick’s gimlets. The gimlet is refreshing and slightly sweet - perfect for summer. This cocktail is often made with Rose’s lime juice, which is sweetened, but I always use fresh juice and simple syrup. It’s a matter of preference, so tweak to your own tastes.

Hendrick’s Gimlet

2 oz. Hendrick’s gin

.5 oz fresh lime juice

.5 oz simple syrup

Add ingredients to cocktail shaker, add ice and shake. Pour into rocks glass over ice. Garnish with lime wedge.

If you would rather have a beer this weekend, consider Budweiser’s Freedom Reserve Red Lager. The beer was brewed by Budweiser’s veterans, and a portion of the sales benefits Folds of Honor, an organization that funds education for the children of service men and women who are killed or disabled on duty. Rube’s is not affiliated with Budweiser or Folds of Honor - I’m just a personal fan of the mission.

Beer and barbecues aside, every Memorial Day should include a tribute to our military personnel lost in service. Whether you attend a memorial, give generously to an organization such as Folds of Honor, or support local family members of a service member gone too soon, please take a moment to remember those who gave all. If your loved one has made that sacrifice, thank you. Those two words are not enough.

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