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DC’s pools aren’t open yet (only a few more weeks—I can almost feel it!), at least mine isn’t anyway. That’s why the coming weekends will be filled with the next best thing that involves sun, friends, and cool cocktails—barbecues. And I’m not talking smoke-in-the-face, 10-ounces-of-fatty-steak-and-dull-beer barbecues. Oh, no.

Here, the bitches and their cohorts give you the perfect recipe for a splendid May barbecue: the tunes, the cocktails, the can’t-fail burgers, and a delish Italian pasta salad that’s both refreshing and picture-perfect. Put it all together in a pretty DC park with some fab friends and you’ve got the perfect Saturday.

Here goes …

First, get your barbecue off to the right start with a chill playlist. We suggest:

  • Hear in Colour – Nightmares on Wax
  • Since I Left You – The Avalanches
  • Could You Be Loved – Bob Marley
  • Little Girl – Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse
  • Goddamn Right – The Eels
  • Empire Ants – The Gorillaz
  • Mi Swing Es Tropical – Nickodemus
  • Wild Night – Van Morrison
  • Sol Tapado  – Thievery Corporation featuring Patrick de Santos
  • Run – Vampire Weekend
  • Vagabond – Wolfmother

Then, of course, comes the perfect cocktails. Try this Lemon Drop on the Rocks (totally yanked this from Ms. Stewart). So refreshing!

  • 3 cups vodka
  • 2 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice (from 10 to 12 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • Ice, for serving
  • Thin lemon slices, halved, for garnish
  • Combine vodka, lemon juice, and sugar, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.
  • Transfer to an ice-filled pitcher, add lemon slices, and serve.

    Photo credit: Martha Stewart

Then, grill up the perfect burgers with Matt’s “Idiot-Proof Hamburger” recipe:

  • Use 80/20 ground beef
  • Form patties – make them very flat and thin and poke a small hole in the middle with your finger.  This will prevent them from balling up in the heat and getting too thick.  If it can fit on the bun with little-to-no overhang pre-cooked, it’s too small and thick and should be flattened more.
  • Season each side liberally with salt and pepper.  No need to get complicated.
  • Place on a hot grill and cover.  These won’t take long, 3-5 minutes, depending on heat.
  • Flip only once, this side should only need 2-3 minutes and for God’s sake don’t push down on it.  The flare-up might look cool but that’s FLAVOR you’re burning away.
  • If you like, take this opportunity to place slices of cheese on the patties to get all melty and delicious and toast the buns.
  • Remove and eat with choice of toppings and cold beer.

Check out Matt’s blog, where he talks about brewing his own beer in his Columbia Heights condo. So resourceful, that Matt.

Photo credit: Martha Stewart
Photo credit: Martha Stewart

Garnish with a lovely Italian Pasta Salad (with none of that gross mayo). Thanks, Joanna, for the recipe!

  • Spiral pasta
  • Oil and vinegar with Italian spices (or just buy Italian dressing)
  • Frozen veggies (usually carrots and peas)
  • Salami or Pepperoni
  • Cheese cubes, usually a feta or sharpe white cheddar
  • Sun dried tomatoes (don’t miss out on this)
  • Artichokes
  • Parmesan cheese or Asiago shaved
  • You can substitute whole grain pasta and leave out some oil for a healthier option.

Enjoy!

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