Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spring is Here - Time for a BBQ!

Ed. note: This post originally appeared in my 2008 food blog Fork It Over on the website of the Rochester Insider magazine, which is now Metromix Rochester. Since the old blog is no longer available online, I'm re-posting some of those posts here and backdating them to their original posting dates. Although in most cases they are specific to Rochester, hopefully you'll still find them somewhat interesting!  ~Rachel, 6/27/10

With temperatures finally climbing into the 70s, what better way to celebrate spring than with a BBQ? Sure, it may snow again in a week or so, but let's enjoy this weather while it lasts! There are plenty of great parks in Rochester with nice picnic areas and grills. Some friends and I headed out to Durand-Eastman Park last Wednesday evening, threw some steak and chicken on the grill, and had a great time. It was a little bit chilly, but it was a great time nonetheless. BBQs are great because you can make them as simple or as complicated as you want. Either way, there are some essentials that you should make sure you have before setting out.

BBQ Essentials
  • Food and beverages - These are obvious, but they're worth mentioning. Don't get so caught up in picking out the perfect Frisbee that you forget the food :) Also, don't forget the condiments--ketchup, mustard, relish, etc. If you're planning on bringing beer, keep in mind that glass containers are generally prohibited.
  • Charcoal and matches or a lighter - Also, make sure the park you have in mind actually has grills. You can check out the Monroe County parks website to find info on each park.
  • Napkins, plates, cups, and utensils - Don't forget grilling utensils as well as eating utensils.
  • Hand sanitizer - Unless you're having a vegetarian BBQ, you'll probably be handling some raw meat. Salmonella is an unwelcome guest at any meal. Wash your hands!
  • Dog (if you have one) - Most (if not all) parks require that you keep your dog on a leash and clean up after him or her. Don't leave a mess for the next group!
  • Frisbee, soccer ball, etc. - Take a break from devouring all the food and get some exercise!
  • Tablecloth - Sometimes park picnic tables aren't exactly the cleanest. A plastic tablecloth might be a useful addition to your BBQ.
  • Dessert, side dishes, etc. - Add a little variety. Chips, salad, and cookies go nicely with with burgers, hot dogs, or whatever meat you're grilling.
Some Locations
  • Durand-Eastman Park is located on the shore of Lake Ontario near Irondequoit. There are several shelters, lots of picnic tables and grills, a golf course, a playground, and some short hiking trails.
  • Genesee Valley Park is located near UR and features many shelters, large grills, jogging paths, sports fields, and more. On a nice day, you can sit on the shore of the Genesee and watch the crew boats and kayaks go by. (Actually, you can see the crew team rowing in bad weather as well. I rowed on the UR team during my freshman year, and we were out there in any weather, as long as the river wasn't frozen.)
  • Ontario Beach Park is in Charlotte and features several shelters, grills, a playground, and even a carousel. If you're still hungry after the BBQ, there are a few restaurants in the Port of Rochester building located next to the park, such as Cheeburger Cheeburger and California Rollin'.
My friends and I found a nice table with a grill in the piece of Durand-Eastman that's located within the golf course. Just look for this sign:
Durand Eastman Park

There are some parking spaces, a shelter, and a good amount of tables and grills in that part of the park.

There are lots of trees and a small swingset there, too.
Swinging in the Park

We decided to grill some chicken and steak instead of burgers and hot dogs. We also had peppers, chips, and cookies.
Ben grills

Ben is an expert griller. The tongs came in handy--don't forget your cooking utensils!

We seasoned the steak with Montreal seasoning--you can't go wrong with that stuff. It'll make any steak extra-delicious. For the chicken, we used a tasty BBQ sauce I had picked up in Boston recently.
Montreal Steak Seasoning

As we arrived at the park, Ben and I realized that we forgot hand sanitizer, but Ryan and Jacquie came prepared.
Don't forget the hand sanitizer.

Their dog, Lindy, joined us.

Lindy is a shepherd/lab mix.

She was pretty curious about what was cooking.
Lindy is curious about the food.

Really curious.
Lindy is even more curious.

She also likes to play Frisbee.

There was a beautiful sunset as we were finishing up dinner.
Sunset at Durand Eastman Park

And then the moon showed up.
Moon Over Durand Eastman Park

Since our BBQ, the temperatures have climbed even higher. Get out there and enjoy the weather!

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