Though they could be served year-round, some dishes are usually only made after the temperature rises.

Potato salad is one of those side dishes that most people only make after the snow melts. The reason may be that potato salad compliments any grilled meat, whether that be beef, pork, chicken or fish.

And potato salad is like banana bread; there are dozens of recipes for this simple salad. This creamy potato salad recipe is a combination of three recipes - a handwritten recipe, one from an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and one from an online site that suggested adding Old Bay Seasoning.

The end result was a creamy salad with a lot of flavor.

Although they require a long and slow cooking time, smoked meats, which are another popular summer dish, are packed full of flavor and are always a crowd pleaser.

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Expand your horizons by going beyond the typical dish of ribs; instead, smoke up a juicy and flavorful chuck roast. The same steps apply - putting a dry rub on the meat, letting the meat absorb the rub for a few hours, and then cooking it long and slow in a smoker.

Smoke a roast on the grill for a great summer meal. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent
Smoke a roast on the grill for a great summer meal. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

Don’t have a smoker? Don’t let that hold you back. All you need are wood chips and a grill. Wood chips come in a variety of flavors and are available in grocery and big box stores. For most meats, oak, maple, apple or cherry are good options for the wood. Mesquite has a strong, intense flavor and is best used in small quantities, if you choose to use it.

To prep the chips, soak them in water for 30 minutes to 2 hours. When you are getting ready to smoke, place the chips on a large piece of aluminum foil and then put another sheet on top. Twist the ends together to form a foil packet. Poke a few holes for venting so the smoke can escape.

Prepare your grill as normal, placing the charcoal on one side, and place the packet of chips on top of the charcoal.

The meat should be cooked over indirect heat. If cooked over direct heat, the meat can easily overcook and become tough.

Remember, low and slow are the rules of the game when it comes to smoking meat. Most meats will take between four and five hours to cook using this cooking method.

There is nothing better than sitting down with family and friends and enjoying a great “summer” meal. Smoking is a long, slow process, and not a quick, weeknight meal, but that rich and luscious taste of the meat is worth the wait. Happy Eating!

Fresh, creamy potato salad with a lot of flavor. Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.
Fresh, creamy potato salad with a lot of flavor. Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

Creamy Potato Salad

  • 3 pounds of red or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or use paprika)
  • ¼ cup sweet or bread and butter pickles, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 5 to 6 green onions, diced using white and green parts
  • ½ small cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 hard boiled eggs

Peel and cut the potatoes into ½-inch chunks. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough water so the potatoes are covered by 1 inch. Cook over medium-high heat until the water reaches a boil. Reduce heat to medium to maintain the simmer, and continue cooking the potatoes for 5-8 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, but still have some firmness.

Drain the potatoes. Place in a bowl and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to cool, or place in the refrigerator until ready to prepare the dressing.

In a large measuring cup or medium sized bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar, the Dijon mustard and spices. Taste; if it's too bitter, add sugar.

Once the potatoes are cooled, add the pickles, cucumber, celery and onions. Slice the eggs and add them to the mixture. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the potatoes and toss gently. Taste; if necessary, add additional salt and pepper. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve easy, homemade potato salad with a smoked roast for a summer picnic meal. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent
Serve easy, homemade potato salad with a smoked roast for a summer picnic meal. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

Smoked Chuck Roast

  • 5-pound boneless chuck roast
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Using paper towels, pat the roast to remove any liquids or moisture.

In a small bowl, combine all the spices and brown sugar and mix until well combined. Coat the roast evenly with the spice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Place your wood in the smoker and heat smoker to 250 degrees.

Place the chuck roast in the smoker. Close the lid (or door) and cook until the bark is fully developed (around 3 to 3 1/2 hours). The temperature of the meat should be about 165 degrees. Flip the roast about every hour while smoking.

Remove from the smoker and wrap the roast tightly in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the roast back on the smoker for about one more hour. The internal temperature should read 200 degrees.

Remove the roast from the smoker and let it sit in the foil on the countertop for another hour. Slice the meat and serve.