Affordable Cuts to Feed A Crowd: Summer Edition

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Summer BBQ season is coming and I could not be more excited. I dream of the day that we move out of our one bedroom apartment and into a house with a backyard BBQ. Until then, I just try to invite myself over to friends’ houses with the promise of meat.

One of the major problems that most people face when thinking about having a BBQ is the uncertainty surrounding what cuts of meat to serve, especially if you’re trying to buy from a good butcher. Ribeyes and filets can be super expensive and, when you’re buying for a crowd, that adds up quickly. You love your friends, yes, but maybe not that much. Of course, sausages are an economical option but I wanted to give you a few other suggestions so that you can class it up over summer and have your friends over without breaking your bank account. So, here it is, my list of affordable cuts to feed a crowd over the summer:

  1. Whole Sirloin Flap AKA bavette. You can marinate this just like carne asada, or put a dry rub on it. Be sure that the butcher has cleaned the silver skin off it for you, and have them leave as much fat on as possible. Finally and, most importantly, be sure to slice it into thin strips across the grain. Don’t worry- the grain is so visible you’ll know just what I’m talking about when you see it. Estimate about ½ pound per person.
  2. Whole Butterflied Chicken. I never understand why someone would want to throw a bunch of boneless chicken breasts on the grill to dry out. But, grilling separate legs can also be sort of time consuming and grill space greedy. So, I always recommend the grilled butterflied chicken for a crowd. Firstly, guests can get white or dark meat, as they prefer. Secondly, it’s easier to just flip one thing on the grill than to constantly have to flip tons of legs or breasts. Estimate about ¼ of a chicken per person or, if you have a lot of sides, ⅛ per person.
  3. Pork Spare Ribs. Ribs are great for so many reasons. Firstly, you can precook them so that they’re almost totally done before they even hit the grill. And that can be done up to 2-3 days beforehand. So that’s a total win. Secondly, they’re handheld, which is always good when kids are around. Estimate at least 2-3 ribs per person, and 1-2 ribs for kids.
  4. Boneless Beef Short Ribs. Newsflash! You don’t have to always braise your short ribs! You can *grill* them, just as long as you promise not to overcook them. However, there are a couple things to know before you do it. For me, I prefer boneless short ribs for grilling to be cross cut, meaning they’re not cut into those little cubes that we often braise, but cut into long rectangles between 2-3” thick. You also want to trim some of the fat off the surface so as not to cause flares on the grill. If possible, have your butcher give you ribs from the cross section of the beef. They’re just meatier. Finally and most importantly, make sure that any of the connective tissue that connected the bone to the meat is cleaned off. It’s tough and will not soften on the grill. Allow ½ lb per person.
  5. Pork Top Sirloin Steaks. Pork top sirloin steaks are a butcher’s secret. We love them and for good reason: they’re more economical than pork chops and they stay way more moist when you cook them on the grill. They have a darker more tender section of meat than the chop, and more intramuscular fat. Win, win, double win. Allow ½ lb per person.

Okay, so, now that you know what to get to feed your friends, get out there and start planning your BBQs. Don’t forget that I don’t have a grill and I have access to all of these cuts so….I’m just saying, think about it ;)



Pickled Green Strawberries


I remember the first time that I took a bite of a pickled strawberry, almost ten years ago now. I was eating at the Garden At The Cellar, in Cambridge, and I had come to see what Chef Will Gilson was cooking. I had met the chef’s parents at the farmers market because they had a family farm, and they told me about the farm to table dinners their son held. So there I was, a new line cook, out in the world to eat all the things. When I saw pickled strawberries on the menu- I don’t even remember what it came with- I was intrigued. They didn’t disappoint, and I’ve kept them safely stored in the back of my mind ever since.

When I was invited to participate in the Strawberries Are The Jam Collaboration, I immediately went into my memory and brought that dusty idea of the pickled strawberries back to the front of my mind. I wondered if you would think they were too weird or unapproachable. But then I thought of the charcuterie boards you could decorate, the chicken salad you could dress up, and the relishes you could make with this very simple little recipe. I imagined you hosting an early summer pool party and serving up tons of icy cold rose and tartines slathered with rich French butter, piled with waves of prosciutto and bunches of spicy greens, and then adorned with slices of tart, jewel-like pickled strawberries. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on any of that because I was too hesitant to put the recipe out there!


One note: green strawberries are just unripe strawberries and, often, farmers will pick them for you, or are already selling them, especially at the big farmers markets here in LA. If you have a garden and your strawberry plants are starting to fruit, you’re in luck. Otherwise, you can also make this with firm, as-close-to-unripe strawberries as you can get. Just change one part of the recipe: don’t heat the vinegar mixture before pouring over the berries. Just pour the mixture over and give it a few days.

So, with that, I present to you a simple, delicious recipe for pickled green strawberries. You can use them to:

  1. Dress up a salad
  2. Add texture and flavor to a sandwich
  3. Accompany a charcuterie board
  4. Top a cured meat tartine
  5. Form the base of a relish
  6. Serve alongside Scandinavian cheese and flatbreads

Just so you know, for the tartines pictured here, I used two variations:

  1. Country bread, French butter, speck, pea tendrils, and pickled strawberries
  2. Country bread, pork rillettes, pea tendrils, pickled strawberries

If you’re in LA, the bread came from Lodge Bread Company and the green strawberries came from Murray Family Farm.

Pickled Green Strawberries

  • 2 cups unripe green strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 1 cup muscadet vinegar (or use champagne vinegar, if unavailable)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 1 1” piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf (or dried, if unavailable)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 Tb sugar (or less, if you prefer)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt


  1. Put all ingredients except the strawberries in a nonreactive (read, not aluminum) pot and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
  2. Put the strawberries in a wide mouth jar or other storage container that fits them relatively tightly. You just don’t want them swimming in too big a container, because the vinegar won’t cover.
  3. Cover the strawberries with the hot vinegar mixture, seal with a lid, and refrigerate for 4-5 days before deploying in all kinds of delicious culinary projects.

This post is part of a super fun collaboration called #strawberriesarethejam, bringing you tons of strawberry recipes aaaalll day (and long after that!) See the list below to check out some of the other posts.

Square Meal Round Table’s Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Pavlova

The Cooking of Joy’s Strawberry Matcha Cream Cheese Tart

This Healthy Table’s Strawberry Tahini Shortcake

Flours in Your Hair’s Strawberry Milk Donuts

The Wood and Spoon’s Strawberry Icebox Pie

Smart in the Kitchen’s Rustic Strawberry Galette

The Herb and Spoon’s Strawberry-Jam Filled Brioche Donuts

Better with Biscuit’s Strawberry Cobbler

My Kitchen Love’s Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Sift and Simmer’s Rose Strawberry Hibiscus Mille Crepe Cake

What Great Grandma Ate’s No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bars (Paleo, Vegan)

A Modest Feast’s Greek Yogurt With Crispy Quinoa and Roasted Strawberries

Hola Jalapeno’s Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita

Worthy Pause’s Strawberry-Basil Shrub Cocktail

Hot Dishing It Out’s Panna Cotta with Strawberry Jelly

Figs & Flour’s Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Apricot Salsa

Pie Girl Bakes’ Strawberry Ginger Pie

Crumb Top Baking’s Strawberry Chia Jam Oat Bars

The Gourmandise School’s Strawberry Pistachio Salad

Tiny Kitchen Caper’s Strawberries and Cream Pound Cake

Cook Til Delicious’ Mini Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Ganache

Something New For Dinner’s Watermelon, Tomato and Strawberry Salad with Burrata

A Spicy Perspective’s Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Easy and Delish’s Strawberry Brigadeiros

Plays Well with Butter’s Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Grilled Chicken, & Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Katherine in Brooklyn’s Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

Sugar Salt Magic’s Strawberry Mousse Tart

The Healthy Sins’ Coconut Flour Crepes Topped with Fresh Strawberries and Coconut Yogurt

Lemon Thyme and Ginger’s Strawberry Basil No Churn Ice Cream


Made from Scratch’s Roasted Strawberry and Basil Ice Cream

Eat Cho Food’s Strawberry Basil Glazed Donuts

What’s Karen Cooking’s Strawberry Eton Mess

More Icing Than Cake’s Strawberry, Balsamic & Black Pepper Babka

Well Seasoned Studio’s Classic Vanilla Layer Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream and Fresh Strawberries

Farm & Coast Cookery’s Strawberry & Thyme Shortcake

Marianne Cooks’ Strawberry Madeleines

Clean Plate Club’s Mini Strawberry Bundt Cakes with Lemon Glaze

My Berkeley Kitchen’s Strawberry Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

The Cinnaman’s Rose Hibiscus Strawberry Icebox Pie

Prickly Fresh’s Strawberry Burrata Kale Salad with Pistachio & Lemon Vinaigrette

Maren Ellingboe’s Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream & Strawberries

Baking the Goods’ Mini Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Fufu’s Kitchen’s Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

What Annie’s Eating’s Vegan Strawberry + Basil Ice Cream

Katie Bird Bakes’ Strawberry Crumble Bars

Cosette’s Kitchen’s Strawberry Shortcake

Blossom to Stem’s Strawberry Pavlova with Mezcal and Lime

Babby Girl Yum’s Strawberry Spinach Almond Salad

It’s a Veg World After All’s Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Le Petite Eats’ Strawberry Orange Blossom Tartlets

Cooking with Cocktail Ring’s Basil Balsamic Strawberry Shortcake

Ful-Filled’s Lilac Sugar Strawberry Shortcakes with Greek Yogurt Whipped Cream

The College Housewife: Mixed Berry Whiskey Crisp

Frosting and Fettuccine’s Strawberry Basil Layer Cake with Strawberry Simple Syrup

Jessie Sheehan Bakes’ Strawberry Basil Turnovers

Rezel Kealoha’s Apple Cider Rose Poached Strawberries with Thyme Flowers

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