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John

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Backyard BBQ Hints

Who doesn't love a great steak, barbecued chicken or burgers and dogs on the 4th of July? It would seem almost un-American to argue the point, but for those of us whose culinary horizons or desire to break from the ordinary have gone beyond the traditional backyard wienie roast we have cooked up some simple recipe's that leave you enough time to enjoy the day and not slave over a hot barbecue taking orders from your guests and family on how they want their meat cooked.

Let's call it "lazy grilling" and with a little planning and using ingredients that cook fast so you don't have to constantly check for "doneness" you can set the table and eat within minutes of deciding to sit down at the table. Heck, the host at the barbecue can even sit down at the same time as the guests! The key to an enjoyable day is planning and preparation. Here is a simple guide.

1. Plan your menu several days in advance. Pick the menu items (including beverages) and make a shopping list. It helps to pick a "theme" and design your menu's flavor profile around that idea. You can even mix a "signature" beverage up for all to enjoy.

2. Do the bulk of your shopping several days in advance and leave the "fresh" items like corn or fish for the day before. Make sure to unpack, un-wrap and organize your ingredients for use when needed.

3. Plan your table including any decor. If possible, set your table the day before or the morning of your gathering to leave you time to focus on "assembling" or "cooking" the food when it is time to sit down. Fill water pitchers, put salt & pepper, condiments, butter on the table, etc.

4. Make any menu element that will hold in advance to save time. For example, wash the lettuce or chop the cabbage for cole slaw the day before the event and hold in zip-lock bags for "assembly" at the last minute. You can even grill vegetables, peel corn or make salsa in advance.

5. Use the grill as a cooking source as well as a "heat" source to warm-up any last minute items to eliminate the need for extra trips back to the kitchen stove or oven. If you are lucky enough to have one of those fancy backyard "kitchens" complete with stove-top burners you know how much of a time saver this can be!

Check out the featured recipes and grilling tips as seen on the KTLA Morning show here!