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Column: Grilling season is back in Minnesota

With the warmer April temperatures, our thoughts turn to barbecuing and outdoor cooking.

Texans claim the barbecue was born in Texas and spread to other states while other sources give credit to our pioneers, the cowboys, hunters and early Spanish explorers who out of necessity cooked over an open fire.

We know that in early history of the West, it became custom to give huge parties featuring roasts, briskets, steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs. The list has become longer as we added brats, chicken, ribs, pork chops, and turkey. To "barbecue" means to roast or cook on a spit or grill over coals, wood or gas.

Today the popularity has spread from coast to coast when temperatures warm up in the spring. The barbecue is a carefree meal. The menu is simple, where the meat is emphasized and should be ample for everyone. A crisp salad, vegetable or fruit tray, potato salad or potatoes cooked on the grill, corn on the cob, relishes, rolls and a simple dessert make for an easy relaxing family meal.

There are many sauces, rubs or marinades that can be used to give the meat that special touch you like. If you are using a sauce, baste the last 10 minutes of cooking. Meat takes on the sauce flavor when it's hot and the sauce will keep the meat moist. If you baste from start to finish, your meat will take on the flavor of the sauce and the meat flavor will be lost.

With spring fast approaching (we hope), plan a barbecue. It's a simple way to entertain and it give you time to enjoy the fresh air before yard work and summer schedules start after our long long winter.

Potatoes on the grill

4 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon pepper

2 pounds of small red potatoes, quartered

Combine ingredients in bowl and toss to coat. Spray heavy duty aluminum foil and bake over medium grill for 50 minutes or until potatoes are done. Yield: 4 servings