How to BBQ like a Bear

We are just HOURS away from Memorial Day weekend! I can already smell the sweet scent of grills everywhere being fired up... It's been a Pamani family tradition for as long as I can remember to throw some of the best summer BBQs around - usually on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

A tiny bit of background (ok it's a LOT of background info, but bear with me as I take a trip down memory lane): When I was a wee bear of seven, my family moved from my beloved home town of Rego Park, NY to the greener, quieter, suburban-er setting of Bergen County, NJ. Although I was uber bummed to be leaving the awesomesaucity of New York for JERSEY (of all places, really mom and dad?) ... I was super jazzed about having a pool in the backyard. And so were my parents. And so were all of our friends. Every year, my parents would plan the most ridiculous Memorial Day BBQ for about 100 of our closest Indian friends. Yes. ONE HUNDRED. Preparations would start two weeks in advance with my mom going to the grocery store and filling up the trunk of her car with 2-liter bottles of soda and a million paper plates. The week of the BBQ it was all hands on deck to marinade more pounds of meat than I could even begin to count. The night before the big day, my brother and I would be on cleaning duty to make sure that every surface both inside and out was sparkling. And my dad would be running around outside tending to his precious pool and doing at least 15 anti-rain dances. (And yes, they totally worked, because our BBQs have never EVER been rained out.) The morning of the blessed day, we would all wake up at the buttcrack of dawn and start preparing salads and cocktails and desserts and side dishes and more. Circa 12pm, friends and family would be arriving with kids and potluck-style-contributions in tow.

These BBQs are some of my best memories from my childhood. Twenty kids in the pool with our dads playing games and laughing. Indian music blasting on the sound system annoying the crap out of all our neighbors. My mom with her hair a mess, wearing a coverup and manning the grill. My grandpa making bowl after bowl after bowl after bowl after bowl after bowl of his famous sangria (so famous in fact that other people have started hiring him to make it for THEIR parties). Swimming, eating, drinking, laughing, playing from 12pm till about 10pm, at which point only close friends and family remained to help clean up.

As I got older, my role in these BBQs became bigger and bigger - my responsibilities increasing every year from arranging the cutlery when I was a kid to cutting up fruit for the sangria when I was old enough to hold a knife to running the bar when I was in college and had just received my bartender's license. And then, a couple years ago when I was home for the summer from college and had the house to myself for a weekend, I finally threw my own BBQ for MY friends. AND BOY OH BOY DID WE HAVE A GRAND TIME.

I took everything I learned over the years and threw one of the best parties of my life, if I do say so myself. I invited friends from all over (and almost all of them came), marinated 20lbs of meat, made my version of grandpa's sangria, and threw a rocking party that resulted in 15 of us passed out in various places of my parents' house. Great. Freaking. Success.

I threw a couple more BBQs after that one - each one getting fancier. Last year I made ribs so good that I shocked even myself. True story.

It's been a family tradition to throw at least one of these killer Memorial Day weekend BBQs every year - whether it be hosted by my parents or by myself. But this year, we're not doing one. And it's breaking my heart a little bit. 

There isn't really a reason as to why we aren't throwing one other than we didn't really think about it. Life's been a bit hectic for all of us and Memorial Day weekend kind of snuck up on me. I'm pretty bummed, but I'll get over it. In an attempt to get over it, I thought I'd share some of my favorite BBQ recipes/tricks with you guys. I hope that you like them and they make your weekend BBQs as awesome and memory filled as mine have been.

Quick note: I don't actually measure anything for my recipes. I'm all about that smell and taste test - it's just how I learned how to cook. So. Deal with it.

Caprese Pasta Salad

1 box of pasta, boiled and cooled to room temperature (can be prepared the day before) Grape tomatoes, halved Fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite size pieces Olive oil Oregano Garlic powder Black pepper Salt Fresh basil, chopped

Mix everything in a big bowl and serve chilled.

Teriyaki BBQ Chicken

Chicken breast and thigh pieces Soy sauce Sriracha BBQ sauce of your choice Tiny bit of ketchup Garlic paste Ginger paste

Mix everything but the chicken in a large tupperware. Keep tasting until its so good that you want to faceplant into it. Add the washed and trimmed chicken to the sauce. Marinade overnight. Throw it on the grill and enjoy that saucy bastard.

Ricky's special (cocktail)

1 part vodka 1 part Malibu 1 part melon liqueor Splash of pineapple juice Splash of orange juice

Combine all the ingredients in a tall glass with ice. Stir. Guzzle. Get so crunk you pass out on the grass in the backyard and don't even care.

Bear's Summer Punch

Sizeable amount of passion fruit Malibu Sizeable amount of vodka Tiny bit of Triple sec Sprite Orange Juice Pineapple Juice Slices of oranges, lemons, and limes

Mix all those delicious things in a giant bowl. Drink responsibly or you might wake up pantsless in Tijuana. Don't say I didn't warn you...

And there you have it! Let me know if you guys try any of these recipes! I'd love to hear your reactions to them. Also, if you have a favorite summer BBQ recipe drop it in the comments below! Just because I'm not having a Memorial Day BBQ doesn't mean that I won't be grilling and chilling all summer. Always looking for new and exciting recipes!

Sending you summer scented kisses, xx Nikbear

BONUS: Here's a random selection of photos from the last few years of BBQs!

The Glorious Pool

The Brown BBQ Dream Team (PAKHALSAS FOREVA!)

Round One Grocery Shopping

Roomie Love

In 2009 I took my Grandpa's Sangria recipe all the way to Buenos Aires

Backyard Fun

Bear's Summer Punch

My brother, my best bear, and myself