“Aida big piece of watermelon!”
While parts of our nation are enjoying brisk 40, 50 and sweet 60-degree fall temps, Texas is, as usual, sweltering. We’re in the high 90’s, with cooler weather nowhere in sight, and chilled watermelon is the perfect treat.
Watermelon, that quintessential summer fruit, is available in Central Texas from May through November, according to this handy dandy produce availability chart from the folks at Go Texan. When I was mulling over side dishes for my father’s 82nd birthday barbecue, watermelon was on my mind. Not only would I have two picky eatin’ children
underfoot laughing and spreading joy and sweet chaos around the ranch, but adults who had possibly grown bored by the usual side dishes. Most of the US thinks of barbecues as a hot weather event. Our summers run roughly March through December, and a long time ago we collectively threw our hands in the air in surrender and declared that barbecue is in season all year long. It’s about the only time Texas willingly surrendered to anything.
I chose to make a watermelon, feta and mint salad, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It’s easy, quick, and intensely flavorful. I’ve always liked combinations of salty and sweet. For the littles, I cut triangles of watermelon, and sent them outdoors, as they were begging for food when lunch was still an hour away. “We’re staaaarving!”
My father made his inaugural brisket on his new Orion smoker, which delivers on its advertised claim of cutting down traditional smoking timeframes. I predict one will appear on my back porch, soon. I also kind of like that it looks like a still, not a smoker. Hmmm…a watermelon moonshine cocktail sounds delicious, doesn’t it? I know the clean, crisp ‘shine and sweet fruit would pair well with smoky, fatty brisket. And his brisket was divine, with its fork-tender lean portion, and succulent, juicy, fatty part.
It was a watermelon weekend, with brisket, birthday cake, target practice, dune buggy v. tractor races, a lot of love, laughter and fun. I hope your weekend was as good as mine.