April 23, 2021
With spring in full command on the calendar now, people all over America are eager to get outdoors and enjoy the season of rebirth as all kinds of fun beckons us to step outside.
One of the most enjoyable ways to spend time in the outdoors is by getting out back, either in a roomy backyard or on a spacious deck – a place that promises good cooking and lots of smiles and laughter. Whether you have a gas or charcoal grill, a pellet-style smoker, or even a cooking grate over your backyard fire pit, now is the time to invite family and friends over to share a good meal.
Such gatherings are easy to plan, and with the right recipes and cooking gear, even easier to pull off. All you need is a few simple ideas and a few tools from Stanley, a longtime innovator, and leader in outdoor gear since William Stanley combined vacuum insulation and steel construction into a portable thermal bottle back in 1913.
In the past century-plus, Stanley hasn’t rested on its accomplishments, bringing numerous new items to people over the years. Many of these items are perfect for fishing trips, treks to hunting camp, camping and hiking vacations, and even family-friendly backyard brunches.
Interested in pulling off such a brunch for your family and friends? Well, to start, you’ll want to plan your menu, go shopping, and get all of your ingredients together. Once you do that, you can rely on Stanley’s 16-qt. Adventure Series Easy Carry Lunch Cooler to keep items chilled until it’s time to cook and serve your meal. Simply pre-pack the cooler the night before with some ice and then place your perishable ingredients into the cooler before turning in.
If a steaming cup of hot coffee is part of your usual morning routine, there’s no better way to serve it up hot and fresh at brunch than by using the 48-ounce Stanley Classic Stay Hot French Press. It's a big French press that uses a stainless-steel mesh filter to keep the grounds in place while delivering a full-flavored, robust cup of coffee with little effort. Plus, the 48-ounce size will keep serving up piping hot coffee all morning long, thanks to Stanley's legendary vacuum insulated construction. Serve the steaming brew up in a 12-ounce Stanley Classic Camp Mug—its double-wall vacuum insulation and press-fit lid will keep it hot all morning long.
Now, it’s on to the main course of your backyard brunch. One of these three easy-to-fix recipes is sure to fit the bill since they’re a little bit breakfast, a little bit lunch, and a whole lot of savory goodness. With simple ingredients and preparation, any one of these brunch meals will hit the spot and keep your guests smiling for weeks to come!
Brisket Breakfast Tacos
Austin is the state capital of Texas and home of the Longhorns, and it just might be the taco capital of the U.S. too! The town is well-known for its Tex-Mex places and hip food trucks, and especially known for its gourmet tacos—including those made for the first meal of the day. Add in another famous Austin food item—smoked brisket—and you’ve got the makings of a great brunch recipe.
To make Brisket Breakfast Tacos, you’ll need three to four pounds of leftover brisket, the kind you smoke yourself on a Traeger-style pellet grill or an off-set barrel smoker like the ones used by Franklin BBQ’s Aaron Franklin and other central Texas BBQ legends. If that’s too much effort, you can also use store-bought brisket or leftovers from the local BBQ house of your choice.
Take your Stanley Adventure Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook Set and begin to cook the various ingredients over medium heat.
First, heat up some flour tortillas in the fry pan. Set warmed tortillas aside in either a packet created with aluminum foil or inside an actual tortilla warmer. Next, heat up the leftover brisket in the stainless-steel pot. Set the warmed meat aside, either in a covered bowl or in a packet of foil.
Pour ½ teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil into the 3-ply fry pan and spread it around. Now take a pre-assembled and whisked mixture of 10 eggs, two diced bell peppers (one green and one yellow), ½ cup of milk, and maybe some chopped Hatch green chiles or diced jalapeños (with the seeds removed) and pour it into the pan. Go about the traditional method of scrambling the eggs, using a non-stick rubber or wooden spatula to stir it all up every minute or so. Depending on the size of your backyard crowd, you might have to do this a couple of times to create enough food, but the effort is well worth it!
Now all that’s left to do is add salt and pepper to taste, assemble the scrambled egg mixture into the warmed tortillas, and top it with a layer of shredded brisket. Add in guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheese, or even a little barbecue sauce depending on your taste buds and you can bet these tacos will get eagerly snatched off of the serving plates!
Shrimp and Grits
Growing up in Tennessee and Louisiana, shrimp and grits were two separate food items I was quite familiar with. But it wasn’t until I moved to Texas and began my own family that I experienced the soul-satisfying goodness of the two combined!
Standard fare in coastal Florida, the South Carolina low country, and many other parts of the South, shrimp and grits is now one of my favorite dishes for celebrating a good morning hunt or fishing trip, enjoying family trips to the Gulf Coast, or even at home when I’m wanting some hot, comfort-style food.
Some shrimp and grits recipes are more complex and take longer to cook—like when you’re using coarser, stone-ground grits from a specialty market or when you must rely on cream or milk to thicken everything up. I tend to like simpler recipes and have pulled together some of the best traits from the shrimp and grits I’ve sampled over time.
When making shrimp and grits for brunch, I recommend using the regular grits you’ll find at most grocery stores. In a pinch, I’ve even substituted the microwave version of grits. To the grits, mix in some crumbled bacon and spices, some sautéed shrimp, and some cheesy goodness to complete it all.
What are the ingredients you’ll need to cook this concoction in your Stanley Cook Set pot? You’ll need one cup of grits, four cups of water (or two cups of water and two cups of chicken broth), and one pound of shrimp (medium or large shrimp that is peeled, deveined, and has the tail removed). On the shrimp itself, you can use frozen bagged shrimp from the grocery store, but fresh Gulf shrimp is certainly better!
Other ingredients needed to prepare this dish include four slices of bacon that is chopped up coarsely, 1/3 cup diced onion, 1/3 cup diced green bell pepper, and some chopped up green chiles if desired (my advice is to go easy with the chiles unless your guests really like the spicy stuff!). You’ll also need ¼ cup butter and 1 to 1 ½ cups of shredded or grated cheese (Colby-Jack is my favorite choice but you can use cheddar if so desired). For spices, you’ll need a ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, either a teaspoon of Old Bay Seafood Seasoning or something like Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, and some chopped parsley. Some people like to add a little corn to their shrimp and grits, but I’ll leave that up to you.
Next, fry up the bacon in the Stanley Cook Set fry pan and reserve the grease that it leaves behind. Follow that up by cooking the mixture of onion, bell pepper, green chiles (optional), and garlic powder (you can substitute minced garlic here if you’d like) until it turns translucent.
At this point, use the leftover bacon grease and sauté your shrimp (with the Old Bay or Tony Chachere’s sprinkled on) until it is a light golden brown on each side.
After that, all that’s left to do is ladle the grits into serving bowls, spoon a layer of cooked veggies and bacon on top, and then complete the recipe with a layer of sautéed shrimp. If you’d like, you can sprinkle a little more cheese over the top and/or some parsley. Just be sure that you have plenty of this tasty dish prepared for your guests because most are going to ask for seconds to put it onto their plates!
Rob’s Tex-Mex Migas
Like most food items I enjoy, I was first introduced to migas—a Tex-Mex breakfast selection that uses eggs, peppers, and fried chunks of tortillas—while on a hunting or fishing trip.
My friend Rob Woodruff, an Ozark fly fishing guide who has run well-known lodges in Montana and Belize, grew up liking migas as a native Texan. As an easy-to-fix recipe that excels in a lodge or shore brunch setting, he’s tweaked the recipe over the years to make it his own.
For Rob’s version of migas, you’ll need eight eggs (beaten, or the equivalent in Egg Beaters), one Roma tomato (diced fine), one small onion (diced fine), one clove of garlic (crushed or minced), and ½ a bell pepper (diced fine). You’ll also need either crushed corn tortilla strips or tostadas (Rob says the baked Mission Tostadas Hornitos will help cut fat and cholesterol if that’s a concern).
Optional items to add on to the finished dish include sliced green onions, chopped peppers ranging from roasted green chiles to roasted poblano peppers or diced fresh jalapeno’s, some sort of cheese (Woodruff suggests Colby-Jack, Monterrey Jack, or crumbled Queso Fresco), and either red or green salsa.
To prepare the migas in the Stanley Cook Set fry pan, Woodruff says to: “Sauté the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and the optional pepper and/or green onions (if using) with a little oil (in the frying pan) over medium heat. You’ll want to do so until the onions and bell peppers have become translucent and soften.”
“Then add the diced tomatoes and sauté until the tomato pieces soften. Add in the eggs and stir to evenly distribute the vegetables, then let it all cook until the eggs begin to set on the edges and the bottom.”
“While the eggs are still soft, add in the crumbled tortilla chips and scramble until the eggs are done. Remove from the heat and top with your choice of cheese and serve with salsa. Or, if you’d like, you can make breakfast tacos with corn tortillas that have the migas mixture spooned in and then are topped with salsa.”
In addition to these three tasty and simple recipes, there are all kinds of other possibilities for backyard family brunch, ranging from pancakes to breakfast sausage sliders to biscuits and gravy. Whatever menu you decide on, the variety of innovative, rugged, easy-to-use, and easy-to-care-for products from Stanley will help you get it all done in quick order.
Brunch Beverages for Kids and Adults
About all that’s left to do at this point is to serve up something that’s fun and fulfilling to drink, and again, the folks at Stanley have you covered.
For the kids, there’s nothing like a fruity and light punch, something that can be prepared ahead of time and chilled before the festivities begin. For the perfect punch for your backyard get-together, there are several recipes out there that use a variety of fruit juices, maybe some citrus soda and/or club soda, and take only minutes to prepare.
An easy-to-prepare recipe I’ve found requires 3 cups of orange juice, 3 cups of pomegranate juice, 1 cup of pineapple juice, and half of a 2-liter bottle of ginger ale. Mix it all together and chill in the 2-gallon Stanley Adventure Fast Flow Water Jug and serve it up in either cups or mugs filled with crushed ice. There are certainly other punch recipes out there, so feel free to pick the recipe that works best for you and your crew!
If you want to add adult beverages to the backyard brunch mix, you can put together such beverages before everyone arrives, chilling and storing in the extra-large, 64-ounce Stanley Growler Gift Set. To serve your mixed drink recipes to your adult guests, there are few better ways than by utilizing the 12-ounce stacking steel tumblers that come in the set.
You can also use the 24-ounce Stanley Classic Bottle Opener Beer Stein if sunny mimosas or a bottle of brew is on the adult crowd’s breakfast beverage menu.
The bottom line here is that with the weather moderating and the spring season arriving in full bloom all across the country, families from one coast to the other are eager to get out, enjoy the sunshine and warmth, and have a memorable backyard meal.
Put these ideas and recipes to good use—and use these and other outdoor and cooking-friendly products from Stanley—and the odds are that you’ll have a weekend brunch in the backyard that will be talked about all spring and summer long!