Kids and BBQ together – Sure, there are hazards, hot grills and sharp utensils, but we all have those same hazards in the indoor kitchen and the children aren’t banished. BBQs are more fun with the entire family and there are easy ways to include the little ones in the outdoor fun. Set up some outdoor games to keep them occupied and alter the food options just a bit to fit the kid friendly palate and there’s fun to be had for the whole family.
For children half the battle is won with a simple presentation. Put veggies in a flower pattern and they are 100 percent more likely to be eaten. Put anything in a cupcake liner, or on a toothpick and you’ll likely get the same result. Here are some simple BBQ transformations of food that you’re likely preparing anyway for the grownups and they’re sure to be a hit with the kids.
Play up the common kabob by skewering seasonal organic fruit. Ice cold grapes, blueberries, strawberries and bananas are the easy options. Pineapple and watermelon are nice additions, too, and can even be grilled a bit to release even more of the natural sugars. If you want an easy, natural dip, mix a little vanilla greek yogurt with a couple of teaspoons of honey.
Change the Shape
Curlicue hot dogs, hot dogs wrapped up mummy style, hot dog kabobs, sliders and mini grilled sandwiches. This is where the transformation part of the equation is most important to creating kid friendly food. I always like to feed the kids first, so for me it’s important to have them on their way so the grownups can have a little time to relax with each other. Think about what you’re already serving and what you may have on hand.
Add a Glaze
One neat trick I use pretty often is to take my standard BBQ sauce that I’ll use for the grownup meal and sweeten it up a touch for the kids. Add a couple of tablespoons of honey, jam or preserves and heat over medium heat and stir until incorporated. Brush over grilled chicken or pork and let the flavors mingle over the fire or serve on the side in a small cup for dipping.
Kids love kid sized portions. If you’re already making a crowdpleaser macaroni and cheese as part of your spread, spoon a bit into a muffin tin lined with a cupcake liner or sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cook slightly less than you would for the larger casserole because the sides will cook more quickly than in the large one.
Turn BBQ into a Grilled Pizza
Brush a tortilla with cooking spray and have the kids design their own BBQ pizza. Shredded pork or chicken, cheese, vegetables, pepperoni. Grill for a few minutes and let the toppings meld together. Remove and slice!
Have Fun with Dessert
I love layered popsicles made with greek yogurt and pureed fruit. Take any popsicle form and just freeze incrementally. Another option is a fun twist on the traditional s’more with a campfire cone. Take a waffle cone and fill it with chocolate bar pieces or chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, maybe some fruit, too. Wrap with tin foil and roast over the coals. Peel, eat and enjoy!