Step Up Your Grill Game

Easy + Elevated Meal Ideas for a Blue Sky BBQ

The stoke is high in Blue Sky. On the far outer edge of Vail Mountain, Blue Sky Basin’s Belle’s Camp embraces the energetic atmosphere of a ski town emerging from a long, cold winter. On a sunny spring day, the grills are fired up and filled with food, while the lawn is packed with people playing frisbee, beer ski or wiffle ball.

It’s BYO food, beverages and lawn games in this beautiful destination located seven-miles back and up on Vail Mountain. So, why plan a boring lunch in an epic location? Adam Weinberg-er, owner of Double Diamond Chefs, believes that a BBQ in Blue Sky is like nothing else in the world.

Weinberger is used to cooking his meals over an open fire. As a private caterer and chef on luxury overnight horse-back trips, he’s skilled at making great meals in unique destinations. When he’s off-duty, he’s either chasing deep snow to ski or cooking for a crowd. Grilling in Blue Sky Basin combines his two worlds and passions.

A meal is never a small affair with Weinberger. His favorite way to spend the day is serving up multiple courses with panoramic views. “The most important thing is to have the best-looking food on the mountain,” he explains. Over the years, he’s made a ridiculous culinary scene at Blue Sky with steak Oscar sandwiches topped with crab hollandaise, cheese fondue and grilled seafood such as scallops, whole fish and lobster.

So, what should you bring to BlueSky if you’re looking to step up your grill game? He shares a few tips to ensure you are the envy of every table around you.

Meat on grill

Photos by Jennifer Weintraub

Once you arrive at Belle’s Camp and claim your spot, dig a hole in the snow to keep beverages cold. Then, it’s time to assemble your first course — charcuterie. After a few morning runs, your guests will appreciate a table full of snacks. A large charcuterie board filled with pre-cut cheeses, meats, crackers and dips can be assembled quickly and eaten immediately.

Moving onto the second course, grilled crostini is an easy appetizer with endless possibilities. Top sliced bread with any combination of cheese, meat and/or fruit you have on-hand. A few of Weinberger’s favorite combinations are ricotta, prosciutto and arugula or brie, pear and honey.

Grilling in Blue Sky is a group affair, usually planned around a birthday or when friends or family are in town, so the main course should be easy to feed to a crowd. One of Weinberger’s go-to menu items is an enormous steak sandwich that is then cut into portions. As a main course, it’s easy to cook and share while eliminating the need for individual utensils.

Grill space is limited, so a larger cut of meat such as a tri-tip or flank steak works well. Not only does it take up less space, but it’s less to worry about when there’s a party all around you. Arrange sliced steak and toppings of your choice on a ciabatta loaf, preferably from Hovey & Harrison. Some of his past favorite sandwiches include steak topped with chimichurri, roasted pep-pers and mozzarella or a classic Philly cheesesteak with onions, peppers and melted American cheese.

Sandwich with grilled meat, cheese and garnish

 

For a vegetarian sandwich or side dish, toss vegetables such as asparagus, broccolini or zucchini in a foil packet on the grill with olive oil and seasonings.

Everything tastes better outside, especially dessert. Cookies, brownies or other sweets can be packed in Tupperware, so they don’t get crushed while skiing. The Tupperware can then be used to takeback leftovers (if there are any).

Preparing ahead of time is the key to pulling off such an elaborate affair. Slice cheese, cut vegetables and make dips and desserts the day before. Bring a large knife, cutting board, grilling tongs and olive oil. It’s a good idea to grab a frisbee for some lawn games and a small portable speaker to set the vibe.

A Blue Sky BBQ is an unforgettable lunch with unbeatable views. It’s worth the effort and planning to have an easy, yet elevated meal. So, what’s on your menu?

Platter of food

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