Living in sunny South Florida allows for almost 365 days of grilling deliciousness. Living with a foodie allows for 365 days of amazing home cooked meals – a lot of them being grilled or smoked.
One of the requirements when building our home was to have an outdoor kitchen – an outdoor cooking area that has the capabilities of basically everything an indoor kitchen has, but is centered around the grill. My husband did extensive research to find the perfect setup, especially the grill and smoker. Now that we have our outdoor kitchen, we couldn’t see living without one.
We grill just about everything – chicken, beef, fish, pork, vegetables, pizza…you name it! We also love to use the smoker – a slower, but super tasty way to cook. Did you know that grilling food has many health benefits?
Health benefits of grilling food
1. Preserve Nutrients
Grilling preserves the ribolfavins and thiamine in meat that sometimes are lost when cooked in a pan or oven. Grilled veggies still hold their vitamins and minerals. We love to grill everything from mushrooms to zucchini, eggplant, squash and potatoes.
2. Forget the Butter
Grilling locks in the moisture that you may otherwise lose when pan frying, boiling, broiling, etc. In those cases, you usually smear the meat or veggies in butter to retain any moisture otherwise lost in the cooling process.
3. Bye Bye Fat
When you grill meat, the excess fat cooks off, as opposed to pan cooking where it cooks within the fat. (Ewwww.) Reduced fat helps to lower bad cholesterol levels in your blood.
Downtown BBQ Throwdown
I was so excited to check out the 2nd Annual Downtown BBQ Throwdown at Mizner park Amphitheater this past week end – for a few reasons.
- We watch The Food Network more than any other channel (although I do have to say that HGTV comes in at a close second).
- My husband loves BBQ and smoked foods – he is amazing at both forms of cooking at home and is always game to try others’ food to see what he can improve upon or add to his repertoire.
- A great idea for some quality time together!
Mizner Park Amphitheater was the perfect location for the throwdown. The weather couldn’t be any better…sunny with a nice breeze – the type of weather that reminds us why we chose to live where we are!
I loved that the proceeds of this event helped out the following 8 local charities:
- Boca Raton Regional Hospital
- Boca Helping Hands
- Brothers of St. Gregory’s
- Florence Fuller Child Development Centers
- Family Promise
- Love Boca
- The Spirit of Giving
FOOD, FOOD AND MORE FOOD
The overwhelming smells we encountered as we came close to the venue made our stomachs growl – we couldn’t wait to try some of the most amazing BBQ out there! Teams from the Southeastern United States and beyond compete in five categories: chicken, ribs, butt, brisket, and overall champion. With $30,000 in prize money at stake, these teams cook to win!
The Downtown BBQ Throwdown is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), the largest international organization of barbecue enthusiasts. Winners will have the opportunity to compete in the Annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue.
Once inside, we headed straight for the food – with a thought out strategy by Mr. Pellerini himself. We were to try out from the dozens of tents, one for pork, one for chicken and one for ribs. At first we were told to gauge the food quality based on the number of trophies at each tent, which is valid criteria BUT what about the newbies to the event? We tried to be as fair as we could be.
In between scouting out our lunch, we watched Ann Burrell do a cooking demonstration. I loved that she was talking to the huge audience as if she was talking to us individually.
My favorite was watching the judges taste the different teams’ dishes, mainly because Bobby Flay was one of the judges! He was so personable, honest, and during Q&A quite funny!
If I was to choose the favorite it would be the chicken lollipops from East Coast BBQ. They had a nice smoky taste with a bit of sweetness. My hubby is definitely going to try to knock those off at home one night (he literally googled how to make them right after we ate them!).
We had a great time; ate great food; reconnected with some GREAT friends that we hadn’t seen in ages, and came away with a new future dinner option!
Stay tuned next year as I feel it will be even better than this year’s (if that’s possible).