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Beyond Burgers: Grilled and Barbecued Wedding Catering

Grilled foods creates an elegant, aromatic affair.

Barbecuing isn’t just about bermuda shorts and backyard cookouts anymore. With only a few months each year to savor outdoor traditions in Minnesota, more couples are opting for grilled and barbecued fare. “Grilling has become very popular for weddings, especially this past spring and summer,” says Lynn Guggemos, owner of We Cater to You, based in Plymouth. “All of the weddings that we catered were outdoors, in backyards or on a lake.”

While the thought of a barbecue might conjure up images of smoking Webers and everyday burgers and brats, couples who wish to host an upscale event needn’t shy away. Grilled kebabs, beef or pork tenderloin, marinated salmon filet and shrimp skewers, Portobello mushrooms, zucchini and sweet corn with chili lime butter–all are among the many gourmet options that satisfy discriminating palates and depart from conventional catered fare. One advantage of grilling is freshly prepared, delicious food that doesn’t sit in a steam tray. “Grilling on site provides guests with fresh, flavorful food that has just been prepared in front of them, giving the guests a better culinary experience with the sights of the food being prepared by the chefs,” says Guggemos.

Another plus of grilling: The tantalizing aromas of the spices and sauces will whet your guests’ appetites. The menu at the South Haven wedding created “wonderful aromas of Middle Eastern barbecue,” recalled Johnson. The chefs used spice rubs to season items like grilled tomatoes, zucchini, lamb shish kebabs, and shawayuh, a spiced, charcoal-grilled beef. Side dishes that take advantage of seasonal, local ingredients create a colorful array at the serving table. Guggemos serves up spring and summer dishes like a wild mixed-berry display, jicama salad with pineapple and cucumber, fresh asparagus and cous cous with roasted pistachio vinaigrette dressing, Caprese salad, garden rice pilaf, and desserts like mango or pineapple chocolate bars.   

As with any wedding, child-friendly and vegetarian-friendly options may need to be factored in to the menu. Guggemos uses all-vegetarian kebabs made with market vegetables, and companion dishes such as butternut squash ravioli or pasta with roasted vegetables for vegetarians. For young guests, she offers standard items like chicken fingers and mini-burgers.

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