Summertime comes with some guarantees. Chief among them (at least for Editor Brook) are the desire to avoid cooking anything that will heat up the kitchen and to eat meals that consist of more than just salads or cereal. Enter that bewitching thing of eternal beauty: the backyard barbecue.
Whether you’re throwing a socially distant celebration or you’re prepping a simple supper, grilling is a great way to cook a meal. And because it’s always good to have some expert pointers, today we’re highlighting tips from a bona fide BBQ master: Jeff Miller, owner of Luella’s Bar-B-Que.
Grill of choice There are a lot of options when it comes to grills, and each has its own perks. Jeff loves the classic Weber charcoal grill because “It’s perfect for cooking at home, and there are a lot of different ways you can cook with it.” Conversely, gas grills get high scores for efficiency + ease. “You can cook your entire meal on a gas grill,” he says. A true pitmaster with 13+ years in the game, Jeff says “cooking with live fire is the best, but it’s a lot harder.”
Tools “You have to have a good set of grill tongs to lift + flip your food, since you won’t be using your hands,” Jeff says, laughing. He also stresses the importance of a good meat thermometer, for both animal proteins and vegan meats like Beyond burgers + sausages. He says, “I only cook to the temperature it should be and no more, because I want to retain the moisture of the meat.” Protip: Jeff says bluetooth meat thermometers are a great option for real-time meat updates on your phone, so you don’t have to stand by the grill, sweating.
A frosty beverage When it comes to backyard grilling, “you need a really good fruity cocktail to sip on,” says Jeff. Grab your blender and toss in whatever floats your boat, or follow Jeff’s lead and go with the drink he’s been enjoying this summer: a refreshing mix of watermelon, peaches, coconut milk, fresh lime juice, and some fresh mint or basil from the garden. As is, it’s perfect for both kids and clean + sober cuties — but if you want to add some alcohol, Jeff suggests rum.
○ NC’s Department of Health and Human Services reported atotal of 105,001 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina as of Wednesday afternoon. 1,248 cases and 41 deaths have been reported in Buncombe County. Check stats for other counties, total tests, and more in NChere.
○ Governor Roy Cooper has called on Congress to extend federal unemployment benefits, which expire at the end of the month. Currently, up to $600 per week is available for people unemployed during the pandemic. NC has paid over $6 billion in unemployment to over 815,000 residents so far. (WLOS)
○ Although national park visits have been down because of the pandemic, loosening restrictions and people getting outdoors is priming parks for a rebound. Visitors to Great Smokies National Park were down 17% in May compared to last year, and down 30% between Jan. and May. Visitor spending was up 7.7% compared to 2018. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
○ Buncombe County announced that it will reduce COVID-19 testing capacity for community sites. Community sites are limited to East Buncombe(2217 US 70 Hwy.) + Central Buncombe (A-B Tech, Genevieve Circle) and will have a capacity of 300 tests per week each. COVID-19 testing is still available through urgent cares, pharmacies and medical providers. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
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Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Asheville’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
Like music + food, photos are one of those items that can instantly transport you back in time to a particular memory. That’s what this pic did for Melinda J., a member of the Facebook group “You know you grew up in Asheville, North Carolina if…” who came across it and recalled weekends spent exploring it with her grandparents.
Located where the Lowe’s Home Improvement by the Asheville Mall is now, the flea market (which also housed a drive-in movie theater) drew countless visitors annually until it closed in the mid-1990s. We still miss you, Dreamland.
#DYK that your photo could be featured in our newsletter? Just use #AVLtoday on social media.
Weather ○ 85º | Thunderstorms | 80% chance of rain
Civic ○ Buncombe County Commissioners passed a$10.3 million solar project. 46 institutions will install solar panels courtesy ofMB Haynes. The project is estimated to save taxpayers $27 million in utility bill costs within 30 years. ☀️ (WLOS) ○ A trial date has been set for former Buncombe County Commissioner Ellen Frostafter her motion to have the federal charges against her dismissed was denied. Her federal trial will be on Aug. 17. Frost was accused by investigators of conspiring with former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene to misapply Buncombe County Economic Development Incentive funds. (WLOS)
Listen ○ Asheville-based activist + motivational speaker Valerie Smith-Jackson — aka Priestess Supervixen — has a new weekly podcast out. The series, Enchanting Asheville, debuted July 21 and the first episode features BeLoved Asheville’s co-director Amy Cantrell. Each episode features local people of color, including activists, artists, politicians, and faith and business leaders. Find it on all major podcast services. 🎧 (Mountain Xpress)
Outdoors ○ Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash has launched the Smokies Hikes for Healing initiative. Up to 10 people can join him on eight hikes led by facilitators who will facilitate an open conversation about diversity + racism. The guided hikes will be held Aug.-Dec. in different locations across the park in Tennessee + NC. 🥾
TryThis ○ TheBooks and Bites Author Series is returning Aug. 5. Author Susan Zurenda will discuss her new book, Bells for Eli, at the Lake Lure Inn (2771 Memorial Hwy., Lake Lure). The event will take place outside on the Veranda Terrace + attendance is limited to 32 people. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased either by prepaying at the Mountains Branch Library(150 Bill’s Creek Rd.) or mailing the library a check made out to Friends of the Library. 📚
Drink ○ Looking for a new vineyard? You’re in luck.Stone Ashe Vineyard (736 Green Mountain Rd., Hendersonville) opened July 17. Patterned after the vineyards of Bordeaux, France,the vineyard features five wines + 13 acres of vines surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as a 3,100-square-foot tasting room. They are open Thurs.-Sun. and offer three white wines, one rosé + one red. 🍷
Cause ○ In addition to discrimination, Black LGBTQ+ community members experience high rates of poverty + hunger. To combat this and build sustainable, community controlled futures for Black LGBTQ+ folks, activists Tay Lawrence and Rome Atkins want to buy a mini farm in Asheville to grow their own food and increase their own self-reliance + agency. Wanna help out? Donate here. 🌱
Stat ○ 66.8%. The percentage of NC households that have responded to the Census in high internet access areas. This is 8.5% higher than the state average. (NC Demography)
State ○Greensboro City Council unanimously approved adding Juneteenth as a paid holiday for city employees. Greensboro employees currently have 12 paid holidays.Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 and commemorates the date when enslaved people in Texas learned that the Civil War had ended and Emancipation had been passed.(Winston-Salem Journal)
Arts ○ JAWBREAKINGspoke with LEAF Global Arts founder Jennifer Pickering for the latest installment of Our Town, a series in partnership with AVLtoday. In the interview, Jennifer gets real about the effects of the pandemic, her past as a photographer, favorite moments at LEAF, Black Lives Matter + more. 🌎
DealOfTheDay ○ Here’s your chance to update your wardrobe (with awesome AVL-inspired apparel) + give back to the community. Buy any t-shirt through Scout AVL’s online shop and $5 of your purchase will be donated directly to The United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County. Offer expires 7/31. Ⓟ
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