By Shelby Rowe Moyer | Photo by Lake Geneva Country Meats
Fourth of July is already upon us, and before you plan your typical holiday barbecues, we’ve got some ideas to spice up your dining, literally.
For some inspiration, we reached out to Lake Geneva Country Meats, The Olive Oil Shops and Topsy Turvy Brewery for innovative ways to wow your family, as well as your taste buds.
Forget the burgers and brats, we’ve got something better.
The Main Course
You’re already familiar with traditional baby back ribs, but have you tried barbecue-style short ribs?
Barbecue-style short ribs, or flanken style, are a thin-cut rib, making them quick and easy to grill without lacking flavor, says Lake Geneva Country Meats Vice President Nick Vorpagel. “You can make really great tacos out of them,” he says. “Eat it [the meat] straight off the bone or shear it off.”
You can also slather them with your favorite barbecue sauce or try a Korean barbecue. Korean barbecue is really gaining momentum here in the Midwest, having made its way from California. The sauce packs a little heat, but it’s also balanced with a mouth-watering acidity and savoriness.
Pick up a Korean barbecue sauce at your local grocery store or make it yourself with ingredients you likely already have on-hand. Lake Geneva Country Meats has the recipe and grilling instructions.
Creative Cocktails, Marinades and Desserts
Here’s a refreshing spin on mixed drinks we’re guessing you haven’t tried: balsamic vinegar. Interesting, right?
Emily Blincoe, owner of The Olive Oil Shops swears by pineapple, peach or raspberry balsamic vinegar mixed with vodka. Or make a non-alcoholic version with lemongrass mint or strawberry balsamic vinegar mixed with flat or sparkling water. This unusual pairing might just become your new favorite.
Or what about a marinade? Blincoe recommends a jalapeño oil, pineapple balsamic vinegar and soy sauce marinade for pork, red meat, chicken or shrimp.
Do your steaks or burgers need a little jazzing up? Give this a try:
- ¼ cup chipotle olive oil
- ¼ cup espresso balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. red onion
- 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- salt & pepper
Mix this in with your ground beef for an intriguing burger or use it as a steak marinade for 1-2 hours.
Lastly, a light but luscious dessert is always on the menu. Whip up a simple fruit dip with Greek yogurt and your choice of peach, coconut or pineapple balsamic vinegar.
Not Your Average Brew
Topsy Turvy Brewery in Lake Geneva began operations this spring and will be open to the public at their downtown location with outdoor seating this summer.
While you wait to check them out in person, head to your local grocery or liquor store to sample their beers and hard seltzer.
A classic pilsner, Vintage Velvet, is an obvious choice on a hot day. Or try one of Topsy Turvey’s Dive Hard Seltzers for a low-calorie option. Currently available in mango, passion fruit and guava flavors (more are in the works and are coming soon).
But what we’re really excited about is Topsy Turvy’s Broken Blender Fruited Sour Ale in cherry vanilla. Pop that top and pour it over a bowl of rich vanilla ice cream for a seriously sweet and sour beer float. General Manager Tina O’Malley says that’s one of her favorite ways to enjoy the Broken Blender Ale, crafted in honor of Racine’s Stephen J. Poplawski, who made the world’s first electric blender.
No need to thank us now for the culinary and cocktail tips, we’ll be over for the festivities on July 4!