Every year since we first moved into my childhood home, my parents have hosted a pot-luck barbecue over Memorial Day weekend for friends and neighbors. When we were little, the neighborhood was bustling with dozens of other kids around the same age, and we spent the afternoon running around the yard and munching on classic burgers and hot dogs. Now, with most of us well out of college, it remains an annual tradition.
This year however, for the first time since it began, the festivities are being postponed. My cousin is getting married, and the family is converging on my Aunt and Uncle’s lovely home in Santa Rosa for the wedding this weekend.
I’ll be flying back to California tomorrow for a few days of R&R before the family celebrations begin, and soaking up some sun in my old coastal stomping grounds. It just wouldn’t be Memorial Day weekend without some great barbecue dishes though, so while I’m gone I’m leaving you with some easy and delicious grilling ideas and recipes for outdoor gatherings.
- 2 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
For the Marinade
- 1 mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
For the Mango Salsa
- 1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1-2 jalapenos or serrano chiles (adjust according to spice level), minced
- 2-3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
- juice of 1 lime
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Make the salsa. Combine the mango, scallions, cilantro and lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside. The salsa can be made up to a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Make the marinade. Add the mango, olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic and salt and pepper to a food processor or blender and puree. Pour into a large bowl and add the chicken pieces. Marinate, refrigerated, for at least an hour or up to a day.
- Prepare the grill. Heat half of the grill to high, direct heat, and leave the other half cooler (if using charcoal or wood, then this area will have fewer coals). Add the chicken to the hottest part of the grill, skin-side down, and cook for 5-7 minutes until the skin is seared but not burnt.
- Move the chicken to the cooler part of the grill, baste with the marinade, cover, and cook undisturbed for 20-25 minutes. Turn the chicken over and baste again with the marinade. Cover and cook for another 20-25 minutes, flipping and basting occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Serve warm with the Mango Salsa.
Even if you won’t be eating the chicken with the skin on, leave the skin on while cooking as it will protect the meat from drying out on the grill.