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Turn Your Backyard into a Gourmet Restaurant

Image: herb garden Chefs Show You How to Grill and Spice Your Way to a Savory Summer Soiree
(ARA) - Seventy-six percent of Americans own grills, and hot dogs and hamburgers still remain the most frequently barbecued items. If you would like to do more than the standard backyard barbecue, the in-house chefs at VIVA! Herbs can show you how to become your neighborhood’s culinary expert with tips on seasoning for more flavorful food and growing herbs to spice up any dish.

Season, Smoke and Grill Like a Pro
To create a summer barbecue that will have your family and friends coming back for more, take inspiration and flavor cues from VIVA! chefs, Ray French and Chef Bob. They share their favorite tips for seasoning, smoking and grilling, and a recipe for The Home Depot Summer Spice Rub:

  • Create herb "rubs" with fresh spices to make food more flavorful without the addition of salt and/or heavy fats like oil and butter.
  • Apply herb "rubs" directly on the meats -- for maximum flavor slightly puncture the meat so the herb flavors penetrate.
  • Try smoking as a complement or alternative to traditional grilling.
  • Increase the flavor volume by laying fresh herbs on top of wood chips in your smoker. Don’t forget to pre-soak the chips for at least 30 minutes.
Timing is everything. For a flawless meal think through your menu and allow enough time to prep, preheat and thoroughly grill meats and vegetables -- try a grill that allows you to multitask like the Ducane Stainless Steel Gas Series -- it comes with a rotisserie, a tiered-cooking area, and side burners for sautéing vegetables.

"Do It Yourself" Seasoning -- Taking it Beyond the Burger
Both chefs recommend growing your own fresh herbs. "Creating your own herb garden is more cost effective, just $2.00 for 1-pint herbs, plus you’ll have them on hand in a pinch -- or dash," they say.

Eliminate the hassle of planting and labeling seedlings and try VIVA! Herbs now offered in six user-friendly, color-coded container pots.

The spice of life. Create variety with a living spice rack of all VIVA! Herbs including two new flavors -- oregano hot and spicy and rosemary barbecue..

Reap what you sow. All herb plants do best with lots of sunlight. When harvesting herbs minimize the stress placed on the plant by "cutting" rather than "picking."

The Home Depot Summer Spice Rub

This zesty rub will both tenderize and add intense flavor to beef, pork or poultry. For best results, use fresh VIVA! Herbs available exclusively at The Home Depot.

2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons chives
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons cilantro
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 large garlic cloves
1 big pinch black pepper
1 big pinch iodized salt

Place all ingredients into food processor or blender and finely chop. Makes four servings.


1. Score the meat so that the rub penetrates to infuse the most flavor.

2. Lightly coat meat in olive or canola oil to ensure that the rub adheres well.

3. To add some heat, throw in a few chopped jalapeño, serrano or habañero peppers.


1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.

2. Once grill is ready, place meat onto grill.

3. Turn occasionally until meat is cooked.

4. Grill times vary depending on the type of meat used. For chicken, be sure the internal temperature at the thickest point measures at least 160 degrees.

Grilling with Fresh VIVA! Herbs:

1. Remove the stems to ensure the best flavor.

2. Prepare the herbs for future use by rinsing them, then wrapping them in a paper towel.

3. Place the herbs inside a plastic bag to retain maximum freshness. They should remain fresh up to one week.

Courtesy of ARA Content

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information, contact Jen King at (770) 384-4390 or

The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association is the source for the following stat: seventy-six percent of Americans own grills, and hot dogs and hamburgers still remain the most frequently barbecued items.

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