Summer Grilliance + Class BBQ = Great Dinner

If you’ve read GoFatherhood for any length of time, you’ll know I think that it’s tougher to be a boy than a girl in modern culture, and doubly so in school settings. Schools have ended up being designed for more prototypical female behaviors and preferences and the destroy/break/run around energy of boys is increasingly viewed as a disease that needs to be cured, typically with diagnoses like ADHD and drugs like Ritalin.

As a result, to support my son and the other boys in his 7th grade class, I frequently host get togethers or other events. Last year, the highlight was taking all the boys to see the Harlem Globetrotters. This year I thought we’d start out strong with a boys and parents get-together a few days before school started, and even invited their teacher to join us.

That’s why the timing of being invited by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to take part in their Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner campaign was perfect: they ended up sponsoring our BBQ. Nice!

While I could have tried one of the more complex recipes, I didn’t actually know how many people would show up so instead I decided on a tried-and-true recipe for beef shish-ka-bobs. Two pounds of top sirloin — with the addition of a rub for extra seasoning (and no worries, there was no MSG snuck into the ingredients list) — a few onions, mushrooms, peppers, and we were ready to build:

Prepping for Beef Kabobs

Of course, I had hoped the boys would make their own kabobs, but they were off doing something or the other in the yard, so we adults did the heavy work instead. Well, not really so heavy. More like a fun assembly line.

The beef I’d chopped up into about 1 1/2″ cubes and put them in the ziploc with about 2 tbs of rub. Some vigorous shaking later it all had a nice coating and it was just a matter of putting things on skewers (I only stabbed my finger once) in random order. Well, one Mom informed me that “random was hard for her” so I gave her a specific order of meat + onion + pepper + mushroom, and she was a happy kabob’er.

Beef Kabobs, Assembled

A few people had brought other meats for the grill, so I used my handy iGrill thermometer (a must-have for any BBQ, in my opinion) to gauge cooking time and to ensure optimal cooking temperature. In fact, the big chicken breast that their teacher brought for his dinner? I cooked that first because I knew that it’d take more time.

Once the chicken was done, the beef kabobs took over the grill completely:

Beef Shishkabobs on the Grill

It was a quick and easy to get everything grilled to perfection and when the blur of boys flashed through the kitchen on their way between mischief and mayhem, everything did mysteriously vanish and comments of “yum!” and “I like meat!” and strange primitive growls of satisfaction were heard in the kitchen as us parents hung out, ate and talked.

Not a single onion, mushroom, pepper or cube of beef was left at the end of the party, and the addition of two salads, some ears of corn (boiled, still haven’t tried grilling it in the husk), potato salad and a big pitcher of iced tea made for an easy and satisfying meal for a decent size group.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, beef is the #1 most popular food to grill:

Beef is the most popular meat to grill

Thanks to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and next time I’ll try something a bit more complicated out of their recipe book. You can see tons of their recipes online, btw, by checking out the Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner Web site.

Or maybe next time we’ll make the boys hunt and gather. Hmmm….

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in an In Home Party campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of The National Cattlemen’s BeefAssociation and received product samples to facilitate my party and review, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

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