Grillin’and chillin’…it’s what’s on the Labor Day menu!

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Never too hot to grill you say?  Well then don’t put away the smoker or the cooker for at least another month. It’s going to stay hot right up to the end of summer, and since grilling is considered an art by many, it’s really never too early or too late in any season to fire up the gas or throw on the charcoal.  Just make sure it’s Woodstock lump charcoal, made without chemicals and fillers for non-toxic smoke.

Need to add a “flavor” to the grill, try soaking Woodstock’s Apple or Mesquite Wood Chips in water and tossing them on the coals before you set your burgers, steaks or dogs on the fire.  We have a customer who swears by Woodstock charcoal and always includes beer brats on his holiday menu. It’s his tradition, and he hasn’t wavered in his taste for those succulent brats in more than 40 years.

What’s his secret to a tasty brat? “I sweat lots—I mean lots–of white onions in butter,” says Will.  “Then I pour in a bottle or three of Stout, lay my brats over the top and let them steam first in a Dutch oven. When the grill is right, I lay on the brats till a dark brown crust forms and the casing starts to split.” That’s when he knows they’re “done.”  Will always serves them on a hoagie-type bun with lots of whole grain mustard and of course the onions which take on the look of caramelized jam.  (Will, himself, takes on a far-away look just talking about his favorite dish; and everyone within earshot starts to drool.J)

If you can’t find brats, or just don’t like them, you might try Niman Ranch’s Kentucky Bourbon Uncured Sausage or Applegate’s Fire Roasted Red Pepper Chicken or Turkey Sausage.  Or, just grill plain old Lucky Star Farms free-forage Hot Dogs or Sausage. (According to Will, it’s really the sautéed onions and dark beer that make the dish, so your own choice of dog or sausage will fill the bill nicely.)

Here’s a recipe from the Food Network kitchen to get you planning.


  • 4 (12 ounce) cans beer
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 10 bratwurst
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. When hot, lightly oil grate.
  2. Combine the beer and onions in a large pot; bring to a boil. Submerge the bratwurst in the beer; add the red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook another 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bratwurst from the beer mixture; reduce heat to low, and continue cooking the onions.
  3. Cook the bratwurst on the preheated grill, turning once, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with the beer mixture as a topping or side.

Too hot to grill in 85-90 degree weather? Try this cold and yummy 7-layer Pasta Salad  (from We edited it a bit to make it “healthy.”)


  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces whole wheat farfalle (bow tie pasta) (about 4 cups)
  • 2 stalks broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup Vegenaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 12-ounce piece all natural ham, sausage or leftover chicken, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces GreenAcres Jack or Colby cheese, shredded
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the label directs), adding the broccoli during the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and broccoli and rinse under cool water; shake off the excess. Remove the broccoli and pat dry.

Whisk the Vegenaise, yogurt, 1/4 cup chives, the parsley, half of the lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Toss the pasta and a few tablespoons of the dressing in a medium bowl.

Assemble the salad: Toss the avocados with the remaining lime juice in a large glass serving bowl and season with salt; arrange in an even layer. Top with layers of the ham (cold sausage or chicken,) broccoli, pasta, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Drizzle some of the remaining dressing on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon chives, or cover and refrigerate the salad and dressing separately up to 6 hours. (Bring to room temperature before serving.)