Let’s celebrate Memorial Day

It’s almost here, the grand opening of the summer season. If you’re planning a Memorial Day cookout, I may have some ideas for you, a few of my favorite recipes that have all passed the guest test with rave reviews.

First, decide whether you want to stand watch over the grill or relax with your guests. I choose relax. Thus, the recipe for Barbecued Pork Shoulder. Start cooking this inexpensive roast before guests arrive. The low and slow grilling method allows the roast to cook for hours, needing only occasional attention at the end.

Serve the succulent pork with your favorite potato salad and wedges of warm Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread to sop up the delicious sauce.

For dessert, old-fashioned sugar cookies and a bowl of refreshing rum-spiked Mojito Marinated Fruit are the perfect ending.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Barbecued Pork Shoulder

(Grill this succulent roast low and slow.)

1 (6- to 7-pound) pork shoulder roast

1 medium onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup catsup

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind

1 T. plus 1 1/2 tsps. lemon juice

1 tsp. hot sauce

1/2 tsp. chili powder

Directions: Insert a meat thermometer into thickest part of roast, making sure it doesn’t touch bone or fat. Set aside.

To prepare sauce, sautÈ onion and butter in medium saucepan till tender. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Prepare fire in a covered charcoal grill or preheat gas grill. Place roast on grill. Cover with lid (for charcoal, open vent.) Cook over low heat 3 hours, turning roast occasionally. Baste roast with sauce, cover and cook an additional hour or till thermometer registers 160 degrees (medium.) Baste frequently with remaining sauce. Let roast stand 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serves 10 to 12.

Skillet Jalapeno Corn Bread

6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

3 tsps. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 T. chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper

Directions: In 10-inch ovenproof skillet (cast iron works great,) cook bacon over medium heat till crisp. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels. Drain pan, reserving 1tablespoon drippings in skillet. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just till moistened. Fold in cheese, jalapeno and bacon.

Pour batter into skillet. Bake in preheated 425-degree F. oven 20 to 25 minutes or till golden brown. Cut into wedges; serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.

Mojito Marinated Fruit

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup light rum

2 T. lime juice

1 tsp. grated lime peel

2 cups each cantaloupe, honeydew and seedless watermelon, balls or cubed

2 cups cubed fresh pineapple

3 mint sprigs

Fresh mint leaves for serving, optional

Directions: In saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook and stir over medium heat till sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in rum, lime juice and peel. Cool completely.

In large bowl, combine melons, pineapple and mint sprigs. Add rum mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Discard mint sprigs before serving. Serves 8.