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the barbecuin’ days of summer

This past Memorial Day weekend marked the unofficial start of summer, that being the start of THE GLORIOUS BARBECUE SEASON.

Can I obsess over how much I love barbecue for a second? And I’m not just talking about meat. I just love the smoky, charred flavor the grill lends to whatever is cooked on it, be it vegetables, seafood, or just meat. Not to mention grilling is a healthy way of preparing food too – it’s just the smoke and the heat from the fire that cooks and flavors whatever is lying upon the holy grill.

And it’s not just me that feels like this way about this – my entire family is obsessed with barbecuing. So, being the grilling fanatics that we are, we decided to have TWO barbecues this past weekend – one for my parents’ friends, and one for my friends. It was two days of glorious barbecue, and just sitting there pigging out with my friends made it really FEEL like summer, you know? That laid-back feeling that just comes with being in good company with great food that really makes summer, summer.

And boy, was there ALOT of food. I am not kidding when I say my mom bought an entire cow’s worth of meat. It was a meat mountain. Meat-tastic food. A table chock full o’ meat. Allow me to show you:

FIREE

The main “meat course” of the barbecue was my favorite cut of beef: SKIRT STEAK. It’s very lean, but it’s also realllly tender and juicy; it also has more protein per gram than any other meat. As far as barbecue fare goes, this was pretty healthy, and I didn’t my indulging a bit. It was sosososooooo yums. Just thinking about it makes me happy :D

pile o' meat

Here’s just one of the many plates of meat that my dad grilled. At the adults’ bbq it wasn’t as bad, but with my friends, it was one of the craziest things that I have ever witnessed. You have to remember, that there were 15+ starving teenagers, waiting hungrily for their meal. So every time my dad doled the meat out onto the plate, my friends would start to get up and surround the place where he would set it down. Once the plate touched the table, it was A CRAZY FREE-FOR-ALL because my friends were all CARNIVOROUS ANIMALS. I was actually slightly revolted at how fast the meat disappeared…

juicyyy skirt steakkkk

But how can you blame them, when you have meat this delicious and juicy? I lost count of how many plates my dad set on the table, but I think my friends devoured about half a cow yesterday.

It wasn’t just that the meat was so good and perfectly grilled. The side dishes that my mom made were also excellent and complemented the grilled foods perfectly.

There was a salad with a balsamic vinegar dressing:

crisp greens paired with the perfect dressing

And yesterday, my mom also made a noodle-salad dish with a spicy Asian dressing. I didn’t take a picture of it but it was mm-mm good. My friends also brought a Greek salad that I really enjoyed.

But best of all were the sauces my mom made. I’m telling you, that skirt steak attained new levels of beefaliciousness when eaten with the condiments my mom whipped up.

My all-time favorite, and a Choi family classic is..

SAAAALSA

MY MOMMY’S PICO DE GALLO SALSA!! She makes it just the way I like it, and it seriously has all my favorite flavors combined in bowl. It has tomato, bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, and best of all… CILANTRO, my favorite herb. I seriously just eat this plain by the spoonful because I love it that much. It’s cool and refreshing, but it’s still spicy and it has tons of health benefits with almost zero fat.

My mom also decided to be a little adventurous this barbecue and made…

chi-chi-chi-chimichurri!

Chimichurri! This is an Argentinian dip that is classically paired with skirt steak (you know what they say about the beef down in Argentina – it’s some of the best in the world). It’s made out of a whole bunch of parsley that’s minced together with garlic, and later has olive oil, lemon juice, and other spices (chili pepper flakes in this case) added to it. I can see why it’s always eaten with skirt steak – this was a match made in heaven. The tart lemon flavor cut through the hearty flavor of the steak, while the parsley and olive oil enhanced it.

But there was meat other than skirt steak, if you can believe it. My mom and my dad prepared and cooked samgyupsal (i.e. pork belly) and kalbi (which is marinated short ribs), both essential proteins in a Korean barbecue. There was also sausage and these little guys:

standing shrimp!

Nomnomnom, shrimp, one of my favorite seafoods. Apparently grilling foods that’s standing vertically helps enhance the flavor – we’ve never tried it before, but the food sure was good this time around.

don't play with your food!

The love of shrimp runs in the family :D

My dad also grilled vegetables, which I ate most of.

siiiiiizzle

Charred, smoky veggies make my tummy very happy.

cruciferous goodness

My favorites were the brussel sprouts, but the zucchini, bell pepper, and eggplant were also excellent.

So now you can get a vague idea of how much food was prepared and consumed at these two barbecues. But it doesn’t end there.

After everyone had digested a bit, my dad also grilled corn, which I absolutely LOVE.

grilling vertically again

Corn-on-the-cob bring back many fond childhood memories for me (:

After the corn, there was pineapple and watermelon for desserts. A family friend also brought Magnolia’s cupcakes so everyone could have their fill of sweet, spongy, creamy goodness.

It was a fun, filling weekend, and I’m so thankful to both my parents because they put so much work into making this happen. You should’ve seen them laboring both in the kitchen and at the grill.

keeping a close eye on the grill

My dad was sweating buckets over the heat of the flames, and my mom worked so hard to put all the food together. I’m sososossoooo thankful to them. THANKS UMMA & APPA! You guys are the best!!!!!!

Well, that concludes my food-packed weekend – you can imagine how bloated I felt after eating all of this. And see, the thing is, prom is this Friday. My goodness.. This calls for some serious exercising. I’ll try to keep updating, although this week has been so crazy with all the last-minute finalizing of prom and after-prom plans!

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