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What to Do with Barbeque Leftovers

Nothing drums up excitement for a barbeque like food shopping. Aisles of tantalizing meat, shelves of fluffy buns and rows of swoon worthy pastries can make anyone overbuy. To make matters worse, guests usually arrive with enough food to feed an army. Don’t throw away your perfectly cooked (or somewhat burnt) hotdogs, hamburgers and pork. Transform your barbeque leftovers into noteworthy meals. Who knows? You might host your next barbeque just for the leftovers. 


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Hotdogs are a barbeque staple, and they also work well in a variety of dishes. Store hotdogs in an airtight container. You can keep uncooked and cooked hotdogs for up to seven days in the refrigerator or four to six months in the freezer. While it is easy to throw hotdog slices in meals such as mac and cheese or a bean dish, you can take the humble hotdog to the next level by making a Vietnamese sandwich called a Banh Mi. A Banh Mi Dog consists of a fresh French roll, slices of cucumber, shredded carrot, mint leaves, hot sauce and mayonnaise. Add more or less of any of the ingredients to satisfy your personal palette. You can also take this American classic to Italy by adding sliced hotdogs to your next pizza. Rather than using pizza sauce, spread chili on top of dough. Disperse a layer of chopped hotdogs, cheddar cheese and onions then bake. Your brain will tell you it is a pizza, but your taste buds will scream, “Yay chili dog!”




Perfectly cooked burgers are always the highlight of the barbeque, but what do you do with leftovers or slightly overcooked meat? First, store any uncooked meat in the refrigerator for up to two days and cooked meat for three to four days. Meat that has gone bad will appear gray and smell bad. One of the most difficult things about reinventing cooked hamburger meat is that it will dry out when you recook it, so break it up into little chunks first. Toss in taco seasonings or Sloppy Joe mix. If the meat looks like it is drying out, add some tomato sauce. A unique way of reserving hamburger meat is making a soup. To make this dish, sauté an onion with a couple of carrots and potatoes. Add a can of tomatoes, a cup of water, a bouillon cube and the hamburger meat. If you have any leftover grilled veggies, throw those in. The result is an incredibly satisfying meal that wouldn’t leave anyone guessing that the hamburger meat was a leftover.



Pulled pork is usually the belle of the ball at any barbeque. In fact, it is hard to imagine a time where there would be any leftovers. If you happen to have extra, wrap the meat in foil and keep in a zip lock bag. This will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days or in the freezer for several months. Warm up your pulled pork in an oven set at 325 degrees. A low temp will prevent it from drying out. While leftover pulled pork tastes great in stews, chili and tacos, this southern staple really shines in tamales. Making your own tamales is not as difficult as you might think. Basically, you want to make a masa dough, which you will spread out on a corn husk. Pack the center with your pulled pork and the cheese of your choosing and wrap. You cook tamales by steaming them for 45 minutes. To eat, unwrap the tamale from the cornhusk. The great part about tamales is that they store really well in the freezer.  

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Barbeque leftovers can be a jumping off point for creating imaginative dishes. As long as you store them properly, you can enjoy exploring a whole new culinary world.