No matter that here in Atlanta we can pretty much grill all year ‘round. When Memorial Day comes, it’s like we finally have permission to go all out. We’ve got three ideas for your Memorial Day cookout – hot dogs, pizza and ice cream. What could be more all-American than that?
Hot Dog Griller
One of the most annoying things to grill is a batch of hot dogs. Chasing those things around the grill, trying to get them to turn evenly so all sides get nicely charred – it’s always been one of my least favorite things to cook on the grill. So I was delighted to try this Hot Dog Griller from MAN LAW. It’s about 6-by-7-inches “square” with six stainless steel rollers. You can cook five regular size hot dogs (or three oversize hot dogs) at once, placing them between the rollers. Then you use the detachable handle to push the griller on your grill rack, letting it do the work of turning the hot dogs. You could keep pushing it back and forth constantly if you wanted to mimic the action of those hot dog/sausage cookers at your local convenience store, but you can also just let it sit for a few minutes to develop a char on your dogs, then rotate it to char the next side. Your kids will love helping and the handle is long enough to make that pretty safe (with adult supervision!). $12.99. InTown Ace Hardware, 1404 Scott Boulevard, Decatur. 404-378-6006. intownhardware.net
Pizza on the Grill
It’s a thing. Cooking pizza on the grill. And you can do it with whatever you have around the house, or pick up this Grill Stone Pizza Set from Blue Rhino. It comes with a 15-inch pizza stone, a pizza peel with a handle that folds away for more convenient storage and rotary pizza cutter. The stone would work just as well in your oven as on the grill. As a matter of fact, on the grill, you have to keep it over indirect heat so no placing it right over a lit burner on your gas grill. You preheat the stone, then slide the pizza dough off the peel and onto the stone (throwing a little flour or cornmeal on the stone so the pizza won’t stick). Close the grill cover to help melt any cheese you’ve put on top, then use the peel to remove the hot pizza from the grill and take it to wherever you’ll be cutting it. We think we get a crisper crust by cooking one side of our pizza dough, then flipping it before topping. The rotary cutter is very sharp so pizza cuts easily and the peel is very thin with a sharp edge, so these are tools that should be used carefully. $47.99. amazon.com
An All-American holiday needs an all-American dessert. Every season, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams rolls out tempting new flavors in case you were getting a little tired of their Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet or Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean. (Is that possible?) We had a tasting party to pick the best of the 2017 summer’s offerings (oh, the lengths we go for our readers!) and tried: Savannah Buttermint (minty like those little pastel pillow mints you remember and with tiny chunks of white chocolate and a bit of sea salt), Brambleberry Sorbet (the essence of summer with the rich flavors of black currants and blackberries), Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk (the tangy buttermilk and sweet strawberries complement each other nicely), Churro (deeply, seriously cinnamon with bits of toffee and pastry), Middle West Whiskey & Pecans (playing tribute to Jeni’s Ohio roots and Georgia’s world famous pecans) and Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam (inspired by Nashville’s famous Loveless Café, this one has crumbled biscuits and swirls of peach jam in buttermilk ice cream). Our favorite? The Roasted Strawberry, pictured here. A perfect start for your summer. You can get it by the scoop or the pint. $12 per pint. Delivered to your door in packaging they’re glad to get back and reuse, or pick some up at a Jeni’s Scoop Shop: 1198 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta; 545 N. McDonough Street, Decatur; 99 Krog Street, Atlanta; 800 Avalon Boulevard, Alpharetta. jenis.com