7 Ways to Reignite Your Summer BBQ

Late Summer BBQ
(Getty / Klaus Vedfelt)

In the closing days of summer, it’s important to rack up as much time behind the grill as possible before the long winter descends to rob us of all joy. Don’t get us wrong, we know dads would keep the grill lit during a blizzard, but you might have trouble convincing your family to join you out on the deck. 

Now, maybe you’ve got a tried-and-true burger blend recipe, or perhaps you like to rely on “grill instinct.” Either way, the latter half of summer is the best time to get inspired with new ideas to bring it home when you fire up the coals. (Or crank up the propane. We don’t judge). Here are some of our favorite ways to turn any ole’ BBQ into the neighborhood event of the year.

Switch Up Your Steak

(Kroger)

Nothing beats a perfectly grilled steak, but once you find a cut and method that works, it can be hard to branch out and try new things. Steaks are sacred, but their simplicity should encourage a spirit of adventure.  Some of the thinner cuts like flanks, skirts, and hangers don’t get the love they deserve considering their fantastic flavor and perfect charring. As for seasoning, a little salt and pepper are all you need, but a pinch of Herbes de Provence can add an elevated dimension to your flavor profile.

If you are more of a traditionalist, you can still add new life to the classic cuts by tweaking your cooking method. Wood planks have been a staple of seafood grilling, but it’s a great way to add a deep, smoky flavor to a T-Bone or other hefty steak as well. It’s excellent for keeping burgers juicy, too.

Better Apps = Better BBQ

Gourmet Pigs in a Blanket
(Kroger)

Sure burgers and dogs get all the cookout credit, but to keep people happy, you need a killer spread placed from the get-go. 

Pineapple may be a controversial usurper of pizza, but it’s a perfect way to add bright and refreshing flavor to a grilled meal. Wrap some perfectly cut chunks in bacon, then brush with a simple glaze made by whisking together brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and soy sauce. See the step-by-step here.

Of course, let’s not overlook the greatest party app known to humanity, the Pig in a Blanket. Skip the canned meat, and go for a big ole’ Private Selection smoked sausage, cut up and wrapped in puff pastry for a gourmet take on this favorite. You can find a more detailed recipe here.

Help Your Hot Dogs

Hot Dog Bar
(Kroger)

Now let’s get to the main event. Why are so many hot dogs served with all the flair of one of those eating competitions where buns are dunked in water to be more esophagus efficient? Be better than that. Hot dogs deserve it. 

Toasting buns is a given, but stand out with bread that does more work than hold the dog. An inspired example: . You can also wow the crowd with a toppings bar. Our favorite options are chopped roasted red peppers, olives and feta cheese for a Mediterranean dog, or cubed ham and leftover pineapple from those bacon bites we talked about, to turn the BBQ into a luau. 

Show Off With Sides

Gourmet Corn
(Kroger)

If your idea of baked beans is…just a can of baked beans, then we could venture a guess as to why people aren’t writing home about yours. Simmer them with a couple of tablespoons of Memphis inspired BBQ sauce and dijon mustard to add waves of flavor; if you still have some bacon left, here’s where it goes.

Grilling corn on the cob makes for deliciously charred kernels, but there’s so much more you can do to make your husky bois stand out. Set aside the basic table salt and try experimenting with more exotic flavors. Chimichurri makes for a bold Argentinian flavor, while a little Garam Masala spices add an Indian touch.  If you’re more an Italian fan, a brush of garlic butter with basil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese is *chef’s kiss.*

Finishing Touches

Chimichurri Steak
(Kroger)

We talked about chimichurri for corn, but don’t forget that it’s a perfect complement to some of those thin cuts of steak we were playing around with, too. The fresh herbs, lime, and garlic make for an easy but memorable finishing touch to any meat, but it’s also a unique dipping sauce for fries or -better yet- drizzled over a savory potato and veggie packet.

Also, who says you can’t break out the grilling tongs for date night? Skip the tie and jacket, and bring the steakhouse to your backyard with more gourmet finishing sauces like bearnaise and porcini truffle. She might not even notice that you snuck in a late-season grill session.

Get Some Saucy Sauce

BBQ Ribs
(Kroger)

The sauce is boss when it comes to BBQ, and the more playful you get with yours, the more exciting your cookout will be. Alcohol-infused sauces are maturing as a niche gem for foodies and grillmasters alike, and Kroger’s Private Selection has introduced more nuanced varieties than the sticky-sweet bourbon sauce you may be used to.

Shred up a slow-roasted pork shoulder and mix in Pale Ale & Mustard Sauce for a BBQ classic without having to dig up a whole pit. Barrel-Aged Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Sauce maintains the sweet profile with some oakiness for a fuller flavor that’s excellent for spatchcock chicken.

Weeknight Grill

Grilled Pizza
(Kroger)

Okay. Not every day can be a weekend. Sad but true. Still, the grill is just sitting there; why not use it for more casual weeknight dinners on top of your cookout extravaganzas? 

Frozen pizzas are lifesavers for exhausted parents everywhere, and can go from freezer to plate after 15 minutes on the grill. Now, we’re #PepperoniGang4Life, but an Italian Buffalo Mozzarella and Arugula is a perfect pie for the last days of summer. 

Then there is the ultimate Tuesday meal: tacos. You may not think of Taco Tuesday as a grilling occasion, but before you head to work one day, toss a strip steak into a baggie with a healthy dollop of carne asada marinade. By the time you get home, you’ll have the main ingredient ready to hit the grill, and it’s taco-time by 7. Check out the full recipe here.

Just because Summer is winding down doesn’t mean you have to put your grill skills to rest. This article is sponsored by Kroger’s Private Selection, which is designed to elevate everything on your plate. From gourmet ingredients to inspired shortcuts, each Private Selection product is designed to make your summer menu delicious and simple. Shop online, or at your local Kroger store year-round, because grilling seasons may come and go, but dads know how important it is to keep their game up, even in the offseason. 

 

This post was sponsored by:
Kroger’s Private Selection™️

Kid Delivering Newspapers Must Be Time Traveler From 1980s

Time Traveling Paperboy
(Getty/Image Source)

SYRACUSE, NY – In what many neighborhood residents described as an utterly surreal sight, 9-year-old Mikey Davis was seen delivering newspapers door to door earlier this morning, suggesting he must be a time traveler from the 1980s since it’s not like anyone reads the paper anymore.

“I thought time traveling was just something you see in movies, but I saw that kid with my own two eyes,” claimed local dad Tyler Meadows, who noted that digital media has all but killed the print market, and that there’s no way a Gen Z child would consider newspaper delivery a financially viable summer job.

As residents of the cul-de-sac watched curiously from their windows, one man emerged from his home and asked the boy what year it was only to be met with a confused stare that offered no answers, which makes sense since a kid from any decade would have the same look on their face if asked such a dumb question.

“If he were delivering iPads or Kindles door to door then I would understand. But newspapers? This kid is either a time traveler or from another planet,” stated Tyler, who told his family to close the blinds and hide just in case this was the first sign of an alien invasion.

While many townsfolk were initially fascinated with Mikey’s presence, their attention quickly turned to a man who was seen delivering milk to a nearby house. Many residents became convinced that the man was a time traveler from the 1950s, though in reality he just worked for Amazon.

This Just In…is The Dad Faking News. Despite being completely plausible to parents, it’s satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. For more stories like this one click here.

Kind Restaurant Server Uses Lunch Break to Sit With 91-Yr-Old Man

Dylan at the Eat’n Park Restaurant
(Facebook/Lisa Meilander)

It only takes a minute to be kind.

It’s a simple enough idea, but all too often, kindness takes a back seat to our busy schedules and hectic lives. So when a Pennsylvania woman recently witnessed one such act, she knew she had to share it with others.

Lisa Meilander was out to eat with her family at Eat’n Park restaurant in Belle Vernon, PA, when she noticed their server speaking to an elderly gentleman at a booth located nearby. Due to their proximity, Lisa and her family could hear the conversation taking place. The man told their server he was 91-years-old and had trouble hearing. Their server, Dylan, kneeled down to get closer, giving the solo diner his complete attention. After chatting for several minutes, the man apologized for talking so long. “I’m alone now,” he said, “and I don’t often have someone to talk to.” Dylan smiled and said he enjoyed listening.

After a few more minutes of conversation, Dylan helped the man decide what to order and returned to the kitchen. Inspired by the gesture, Lisa wanted to pay for the elderly man’s meal, however by the time Dylan returned l, he told Lisa that “Someone’s already taken care of it.” Lisa sharing in a Facebook post “I guess we weren’t the only ones eavesdropping on the conversation.”

Shortly after, Dylan returned with the food, telling the man he was now on break and asking if he could join him while he ate. The elderly diner happily accepted the company, and the two continued their conversation. Patrons around the restaurant had taken notice and were all smiles as they enjoyed their meals.

Lisa took a photo and shared her story, adding that even as they left the restaurant, the two were still seated and enjoying one another’s company.


“With all of the negative stories about our youth today this was a breath of fresh air.”

Dylan’s small gesture has now been shared over 67,000 times and Lisa’s post now has hundreds of thousands of positive reactions. While he likely made the elderly man’s evening, Dylan’s act has now touched so many more lives. It’s proof that kindness is contagious, and that sharing a few moments of your time is all it takes to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Dad Gets Stuck On Playground Slide

Dads Get Heated About an “Ideal Thermostat Temperature” Report

Dads React to Ideal Thermostat Report
(Getty/MachineHeadz)

Everyone knows the thermostat is a dad’s domain, however, a recent government report went ahead and trampled all over our authority and published the “ideal thermostat temperature” without even asking!

Energy Star, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, suggests that Americans set their thermostats no lower than 78 degrees during the summer. Additionally, folks should set the temperature to 85 degrees when they aren’t home, and 82 degrees when they’re sleeping.

Jennifer Titus, a reporter for 10 News WTSP in Florida, tweeted out the report, and as you might imagine, there were some hot takes.


Many had a hard time imagining living in the sweatbox this report suggests:


Others suggested dads themselves were somehow to blame for the scorching hot, yet highly economical findings:



Of course, plenty of dads chimed into the discourse as well, providing their objections along with plenty of thermostat suggestions of their own. #notalldads


So despite a few heated exchanges about the report, the overall consensus is that these temperatures are…


What’s your take on Energy Star’s thermostat findings? Are you willing to sweat it out for a few measly dollars?

If so, you might also be interested in similar accommodations, like sleeping on hot asphalt… or perhaps the sun.

Spider-Man Exits MCU, Fans and Stars Want Him Back

Spider-Man Exits MCU
(Getty/Chung Sung-Jun)

90s kids will remember a time when a Spider-man movie seemed impossible. Back in those days, there were so many rights issues and legal snafus and studio entanglements that when Tobey Maguire finally donned the suit in Sam Raimi’s movie, it felt like a miracle.

After Raimi’s trilogy – which peaked with Spider-man 2 and plummeted with Spider-man 3: Electic Boogaloo, Andrew Garfield suited up for a reboot and a sequel no one cared about. And then the MCU, already in full-swing, formed a deal with Sony to grant Peter Parker entrance into the Avengers. Unfortunately, that deal was short-lived.

As of yesterday, Spidey – and Tom Holland, pretty much everyone’s favorite version of the wall-crawler – are once again out of the MCU and in a world of uncertainty.

Tuesday, amid reports that Sony (who owns the character’s movie incarnation) and Disney (which owns Marvel Studios) couldn’t agree on a financial split, Spidey lost his footing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wednesday, as the news reverberated across Hollywood, rumors swirled that Holland was out as well. And now Peter Parker lies in limbo.

And so do the Avengers, who have already lost Iron Man and Captain America and now have lost one of the heirs apparent as well.

Fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment the only way they know how: with savagery and jokes, especially concerning Sony’s tendency towards rebooting the character.

Some fans – and actor Ryan Reynolds – took a more hopeful tack in response to the news:


As for Tom Holland, he has yet to weigh in, but his contract is for three solo Spider-man films, of which two have already been made, while director Jon Watts (who helmed both Homecoming and Far From Home) was only signed for two. Where Sony takes the duo remains unclear.

While Spidey may be forced to leave the MCU, he’s not going out without a fight. At least not if some of the other Avengers have anything to say about it. Like Hawkeye.

The Matrix 4: Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss Will Reunite

The Matrix 4 Announced
(Warner Bros.)

Keanu Reeves is having a hell of a run. Thanks to the John Wick trilogy (and counting), the star is back at the top of Hollywood, again. He was in Toy Story 4, he’s working on Bill and Ted’s 3, and thanks to his Zen-like demeanor and countless tales of his low-key philanthropy/all-around good guy-ness, the dude is crushing 2019. And he hasn’t even joined the MCU or been named TIME’s person of the year, YET.

And it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down. Especially now that a fourth Matrix movie has been announced.

That’s right, we’re plugging back in, we’re taking the red pill, we’re hopefully pretending the third and maybe even the second Matrix movies never happened and we’re dodging bullets like it’s 1999! Trinity is even coming along for the ride.

Yesterday, Variety announced that Lana Wachowski, one of the two Wachowski siblings responsible for the original Matrix trilogy, had inked a deal to bring a fourth installment of the mind-bending, philosophy-spouting, highly-influential action-sci-fi series to the screen. Complete with original stars Keanu Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity.

“We could not be more excited to be re-entering ‘The Matrix’ with Lana,” said Toby Emmerich from Warner Bros. “Lana is a true visionary — a singular and original creative filmmaker — and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in ‘The Matrix’ universe.”

The movie begins production in 2020, so it will be a few years before we see it. No word yet on what the story will be and who else from the original cast might appear, if anyone. I honestly can’t remember what happened in The Matrix: Revolutions, I just remember thinking it was unbelievably stupid and had squandered the promise of the first movie, which is a stone-cold classic.

The director didn’t shed much light on the potential plot but did stake a claim to relevance twenty years later. “Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now. I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends,” Wachowski said.

I have so many questions: Is Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) returning? Is the Architect still blathering on? Will the Oracle be played by yet another actress? Does Neo still know kung-fu? Is there a spoon?

Here’s hoping the new edition can answer those burning questions and recapture some of the magic the original flick provided, which was one of the last unspoiled, pre-internet sensations.

If Keanu’s recent run is any indication, we’re in for a treat.

Mortal Kombat Let a DJ Voice Sub-Zero and Got a Cold Response From Fans

Dimitri Vegas as Sub-Zero
(Twitter/SpinkyRB/dimitryvegas)

Years ago, around the time George Lucas re-released the original Star Wars trilogy with strange new flourishes – including a bizarre musical number on Jabba’s barge, and then followed those debacles up with the Star Wars prequels and a misbegotten sequel to Indiana Jones, fanboys online started using a phrase to describe what the director had done.

They claimed that Lucas had basically ruined their childhood by mangling the beloved movies and characters they’d grown up with and felt a strong connection to. Overdramatic, yes, but it’s a good indication of the ownership fans feel to their favorite properties, from movies and TV shows to books and even video games. Video games like Mortal Kombat, which is currently on the receiving end of a new round of pop culture criticism for a change to one of the character’s voices.

Mortal Kombat 11 comes out on August 22nd, and one of the latest version’s updates includes DJ Dmitri Vegas stepping in to voice Sub-Zero, one of the game’s iconic fighters.


Vegas is clearly excited about his inclusion in the game, and the music he helped create for the property.

Unfortunately for the DJ, a few clips featuring his voice-work have been released, and fans are less than pleased with his tone and delivery. Some are trying to be diplomatic, but their feelings are clear…

Others aren’t holding back.


He’s being compared to a puppet:

One person explained why it hurts so bad:

At least some are looking at the bright side:

Thankfully, no one has called for the game’s makers to FINISH HIM! But there’s still time…

Dad Rents Billboard Outside Children’s Hospital to Thank Staff

Dan Driscoll's Thank You Billboard
(Facebook/Brenner Children's Hospital)

3-year-old Daniel Driscoll was recently admitted to Brenner Children’s Hospital with a bone infection. After spending a full seven days undergoing treatment, Daniel and his family were grateful to be heading home, but even more thankful to the staff of doctors and nurses who cared for Daniel during his stay.

Initially unsure of how to fully express their gratitude, Daniel’s dad eventually saw a sign… literally.

While reflecting on their time spent in the hospital room, he remembered a large billboard that sat adjacent to where he and his son spent much of their stay. “Daniel and I would tell time sitting in the window, especially when a helicopter would land and one of the things we could see was that billboard,” recalled Dan Driscoll, Daniel’s father. He wanted a way to thank everyone involved in his son’s care, saying they “had been absolutely amazing and incredible in every single way.”

Once back home, Daniel placed a call to the company who leases space on the rotating digital billboard and booked the biggest thank you card the staff at Brenner’s has ever received. The sign, which is visible from many wings of the hospital, may be large in scale, but still pales in comparison to the amount of gratitude felt by the Driscoll’s for the care and attention they received over their weeklong occupancy.

Wendy Brown, one of the nurses charged with Daniel’s care, told local affiliate FOX8 that everyone at Brenner appreciated the massive gesture. “It’s just spectacular, I mean it’s just so unique. It’s just a cool way to say thank you and all of us really appreciated it. Sometimes this can be a thankless job and that was one heck of a way to say thank you.”

Now, just over a month after being released, the thankful dad says Daniel is recovering and “doing great.” It’s yet another testament to the quality of care he received and to the power of people coming together to care for our most precious little patients.

And that’s why a pair of brothers recently raised over $11k for a children’s hospital in Ohio by selling a 230 Lb hog.

Mario Kart Virtual Reality Is Bananas

Mario Kart VR
(YouTube/4GamerMovie)

Every gamer worth his salt has daydreamed about what it would be like to cruise around Rainbow Road and fling turtle shells in first-person, and now it’s finally a (virtual) reality.

Mario Kart VR has already been making waves in Japan and London, but it’s finally made its way to the States and people are losing their damn minds over it. The immersive driving sim finally throws drivers into a physical vehicle complete with pedals and a steering wheel and lets them duke it out for ultimate bragging rights.

Featured in Bandai Namco’s “VR Zone Portal,” this traveling attraction isn’t quite as large as the VR Zone in Tokyo or Osaka, but it’s still enough to get our engines revving.

Drivers don HTC Vive headsets and play an entire race in first-person as either Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad, physically snatching items out of the sky battling it out for first place.

Plus, if you want even more immersive VR experiences when you’re done, the VR Portal also features Argyle Shift and Ski Rodeo—a first-person mech game and skiing simulator respectively. All three games are available to play on a first-come-first-served basis but expect longer lines for Nintendo’s flagship racer.

The game center was initially offered in Washington DC’s Union Station but has since made its way to Orange County, Southern California at the “VR Zone Portal” Irvine, located at the K1 Speed entertainment center.

No word yet regarding where the VR Tour is headed next, but we’d recommend putting in some practice laps at home just in case it’s within driving distance. Just make sure you abide by traffic laws until you get there.

I wonder if Mario Kart VR will have the same positive effects on a marriage that the other Mario titles do?