50 Delicious Grill Ideas for the Best Summer Barbecue
In honor of National Grilling Month, here are enough flame-kissed ideas to keep you well-fed all summer long.
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Get your grill on
Pizza, margaritas, donuts, and countless other tasty foods may each get their own dedicated food holiday, but grilling? That gets the entire month of July. And there really is no better time to celebrate National Grilling Month than when you’re spending as much time in your back yard as most of us have been.
“Think of your grill as similar to your stove,” says Palak Patel, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education. “You can cook many dishes at different temperatures and break out gear like cast-iron pans, oven stones, and grill baskets, too.” To help you celebrate, here are 50 recipes for the best barbecue of your life. Planning a backyard refresh? These 14 items from Wayfair will help turn your backyard into an oasis.
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The simplest (and best) steak you’ll ever make
When you really want to impress—or just treat yourself—a tomahawk steak is the way to go. This trendy cut refers to a beef ribeye with several inches of bone attached like the handle of an axe, which makes for a jaw-dropping presentation. Re-creating a restaurant-quality experience at home is as simple as seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper (three to four hours in advance if possible), then cooking over indirect heat until a meat thermometer registers 115 to 120 degrees F. Cover it with foil and let it rest 10 to 15 minutes, then sear about one minute per side to get a nice crust. Holy Grail Steak Co hand-selects their USDA prime steaks (available in 32 or 38 to 40 ounces) for maximum fat marbling, so they grill beautifully. When you’re cooking an expensive piece of steak, you’ll want to be extra sure to avoid these common steak-grilling mistakes.
Cowboy steak with whiskey butter
The ribeye or cowboy steak is a popular cut, and it’s tough to choose just one way to prepare it. Elizabeth Karmel, who goes by “Grill Girl” and wrote Steak & Cake, likes to serve hers with a delicious whiskey butter. And don’t forget the steak knives—French blade maker Opinel makes a great set.
Grilled tilapia with pineapple salsa
A flavorful salsa cools off this fiery grilled fish. For extra smoky notes, try adding some wood chips to the grill—no smoker needed.
Cedar planked salmon steaks
Seafood holds up just as well as other meats on the grill, especially salmon, which has plenty of natural fats to keep it from drying out. This simple preparation features a spicy-sweet rub and cooks on cedar planks to infuse extra flavor into the fish. You can purchase planks or even cedar grilling wraps to achieve the same savory flavor without a smoker.
Best in bun
All hot dogs are not created equal—not even close. Porter Road’s best selling doggies are made from beef that has been dry-aged 14 days with fresh garlic and spices blended in. They’re intentionally made extra-long so you get a delicious bite of hot dog on either side of the bun. No wonder they have such a loyal following. Try it Chicago-style: yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, and a dash of celery salt all on a poppyseed bun. Find out where to score the best hot dog in your state.
Grilled BBQ chicken pizza
Grilling your pie is the next best thing to firing it in a brick oven. This version, with saucy chicken and Monterey jack cheese, will make you forget all about delivery. This Cuisinart three-piece set includes a pizza stone, wheel, and peel so you can make it like a pro.
Picanha, a popular cut in South America is starting to catch on in the northern hemisphere—and with good reason. The cut, which also goes by the name coulotte or sirloin cap and used to be relegated to ground beef, is one of the best for the grill, according to Luis Mata, CEO of Meat n’ Bone. It is tender and juicy, a great value for its quality, and a forgiving piece of meat that is hard to ruin, especially if you know these grilling tips. Make sure you have a stainless steel fork on hand before getting started. Find out how to pick the best cut of meat and other secrets butchers won’t tell you.
Grilled Halloumi skewers
Yes, you can grill cheese. And it is heavenly. Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese with a high melting point, so it makes an amazing alternative to meat on kebabs. To minimize sticking, always start with clean grates. This wire grill brush will do the job. Follow these 10 tricks for a flawless backyard party.
Grilled lobster tails
Fire up some surf with that turf, with these easy, three-ingredient grilled lobster tails. Get the recipe. You can make it even easier on yourself by having grill-ready lobster delivered to your door. Find out the 11 seafood facts that will change how you eat fish forever.
Grilled pulled pork sandwiches
It’s not really a barbecue unless there’s some saucy, sloppy, falling-off-the-bone beef or pork. After slowly grilling the meat to infuse it with smoky flavor, use these Grilllight GrillClaws to shred it for sandwiches or tacos.
Keep your crowd cheering with these delectable chicken skewers. To really get authentic flavor, nothing beats a grill loaded up with all-natural hardwood lump charcoal.
Sticky apricot chicken
“If you’re tired of dry grilled chicken breasts, try using bone-in chicken instead,” says chef Katie Lee. She likes chicken legs and thighs because the meat is much juicier, and this super simple preparation mixes prepared salad dressing and fruit jam or preserves to make a sweet and tangy basting sauce. This basting pot and brush set from William-Sonoma will help you get started with this sticky apricot chicken recipe.
When you need a break from beef there are plenty of tasty alternatives. Game meats do especially well with some smokey flame broiling. Ariane Daguin, founder of D’Artagnan foods, likes bison, which is close in flavor to beef but leaner. She uses this recipe with these bison ribeye steaks.
Grilled greens are an underrated pleasure. Tossing hearty varieties like romaine or chard on the grill is a fast way to pump up the flavor of your favorite salad. Just add quality olive oil, like Lucini Olive Oil—same instructions apply to other grilled vegetables. Find out 21 other things you wouldn’t think to grill but totally should.
Grilled Jerk chicken wings
Spice lovers will get a kick out of these tasty wings, which get a base coating of jerk seasoning, then a layer of sweet sauce. If you’re daunted by cooking over charcoal, use a charcoal chimney to get the flames going. You may never go back to gas again.
Grilled shrimp on rosemary skewers
No skewers needed for these kabobs, which use rosemary springs for flavor and function. You can’t go wrong with this recipe, courtesy of the Institute for Culinary Education. Whisk together 3 tablespoons each lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 or 3 julienned basil leaves, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Add the shrimp and marinate for one to three hours. Strip the leaves from eight 6- to 8-inch rosemary sprigs and use them to skewer the shrimp, alternating with lemon wedges. Season to taste with salt and pepper and grill over direct high heat, one to two minutes per side. Squeeze the lemon wedges over the shrimp to serve. A rolling stainless steel grill basket keeps food like shrimp from slipping through the grates while also ensuring even cooking on all sides.
Grilled bacon onion appetizers
The small bites pack a ton of flavor, making them a great way to start off a barbecue. You can also opt for a bacon grilling rack to fire up perfectly crispy strips—bonus: it prevents all that bacon grease from dripping into your grill. Find out 14 things you need for a safe and fun summer BBQ.
Ginger, garlic, and honey grilled baby back ribs
Grillmaster Steve Raichlen uses a mix of Asian seasonings to give these ribs intense flavor. The recipe is excerpted from his cookbook Planet Barbecue! Applying mop sauce to your meat keeps them juicy and is easy when you have a heatproof silicone basting brush.
Pesto-corn grilled peppers
In this recipe, grilled red peppers are used as edible bowls. Thread them onto these stainless steel skewers which have a squared-off shape so your food doesn’t roll around on the grill. Try piping pesto mashed potatoes into them as an alternative. Adding these secret ingredients to your food will give it that enhanced, restaurant flavor.
Grilling doesn’t have to be all about meat. Grilled corn is a staple side dish, but Raichlen makes it the center of attention, in this recipe, excerpted from Raichlen’s cookbook Planet Barbecue! Or check out these 5 more mouthwatering toppings to put on grilled corn. However you dress your cob, these Tovolo corn picks, will help you eat it with ease, even with slippery, buttery fingers.
Portobello mushroom burgers
Quick and tasty, hearty portobello burgers are a great meatless menu option. Using Pompeian Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil spray on your grates first can help keep mushrooms and vegetables, which don’t have the same natural fats as meats, from sticking. Don’t miss these 20 delicious burger recipes you need to make ASAP.
Salt and pepper grilled shrimp
This simple but flavorful shrimp dish also comes from The Barbecue! Bible. As an alternative to skewers, you can also try serving in this Outset grill-safe cast iron shrimp pan.
Wild mushroom-cheddar burger
Bobby Flay gives a classic burger a flavorful twist by adding wild mushrooms. And if you’re a fan of a certain popular burger joint style, you can re-create it at home with this Smashed Burger Kit.
Raw corn, arugula, and Pecorino salad with grilled chicken breast
Sweet corn, bitter arugula, and salty Pecorino—Michael Chiarello’s simple combination from The Tra Vigne Cookbook is wonderfully satisfying. Always make sure your chicken is cooked perfectly by uisng a reliable meat thermometer, like the Thermapen. Check out these 8 quick grilled chicken recipes for when your usual recipe just won’t do.
Orange picante pork chops
A quick marinade spices up these chops. For more intense flavor, prepare them the night before and refrigerate until you’re ready to grill. This marinade set is perfectly designed to do exactly that.
The best beef satés in Singapore
These flame-seared beef kebabs from Planet Barbecue! are tender and spicy. For best results, soak your wood skewers—like this set from Weber—before threading the meat on them. Whatever you’re cooking, you’ll want to know the 13 grill mistakes that could make you sick.
Sweet-and-sour skewered shrimp
These delicious shrimp and pepper kebabs are sure to spice up your next barbecue. This stainless steel set makes cooking them easier by holding them in place. You’ll also want to give these 9 party appetizer kebabs a try, because food is just better when it’s on a stick.
Lemon and lime add tremendous flavor to this grilled chicken recipe. A good set of tongs is indispensable for a grillmaster, and one that locks, like this set from Sur la Table, can be extra convenient.
Eggplant and peppers with feta
Emeril Lagasse’s cookbook proves you don’t need meat for great grilling. This vegetarian dish is super satisfying. An easy way to keep vegetables from falling through the grates is to use a grill-safe tray like this porcelain-coated one from Char-Broil. Looking for more meatless dinner ideas? We rounded up 32 vegetarian meal ideas ready in under 30 minutes.
Basil turkey burgers
The turkey mayonnaise combo makes this a superb substitute for traditional beef burgers. The only thing better? Making them mini and serving them as appetizers. This slider grilling kit makes it effortless. Find out the surprising facts about grilling you haven’t heard before.
This fresh take on the burger will add a southwestern flair to your next barbecue. And you can get the exact shape and thickness of burger you want using this adjustable burger press.
Grilled beef gyros
A spicy marinade adds zip to these grilled beef slices tucked inside pita bread aka gyros. Make your meat extra tender by preparing it with a meat tenderizer first.
Zesty mustard chicken
Whether you’re grilling a broiler chicken—and for a super-easy way to do that, use the ultimate chicken roaster from William-Sonoma—or chicken breasts, consider this lip-smacking glaze. There are only four ingredients in the honey mustard sauce, so you can whip it up in minutes. Yum!
Oriental steak skewers
Served with a creamy mustard sauce, these colorful steak bundles are special enough for company when you’re running out of grill ideas. You don’t have to settle for traditional straight skewers, either. These flexible ones are extra long, fit inside marinade bags, and bend to free up space on your grill. Nice flex, huh?
Salmon with citrus salsa
Fire up the grill for this mouthwatering salmon topped with an orange and grapefruit salsa. Salmon (and fish in general) is a nutrition powerhouse! And a great way to grill it while adding some extra flavor is top one of a sturdy Himalayan salt block from Sur la Table.
Zesty steak fajitas
A zesty tomato and jalapeño relish and tender strips of steak make these traditional fajitas extra-special. This dish is easily multiplied to serve a group. These attractive stainless steel grill grids go from the grates to the table for serving so everyone can assemble and customize their own.
Even if it’s not meat, food always tastes better over a campfire. Case in point, these onion, cheddar, and Worcestershire sauce doused potatoes. Make them anywhere with the Wolf and Grizzly M1 Grill, which is lightweight, portable, and durable. Planning your inaugural camping trip? Avoid these 13 camping mistakes most first-timers make.
Fresh herbs make this juicy steak one of the most irresistible grill ideas. For extra flavor, prep your meat with Weber Chicago Steak Seasoning Rub.
Cool cucumber chicken
Nothing could be easier than this chicken topped with a tangy dill sauce. And to make sure you stay as cool as a cucumber too, suit up with these Rosle heat-resistant leather grill gloves.
Turkey kabobs with fennel and red-pepper relish
Simple, yet sophisticated, these kabobs are healthy too! And this handy easy kabob maker gadget lets you make ground-meat kabobs with ease—just inset a stick, put meat in, and squeeze. Find out 25 other kitchen gadgets you’ll wish you had years ago.
Orange-ginger pork chops
Basting chops with this tangy orange-ginger sauce makes them extremely tender and savory. And you can ensure they won’t dry out even if you’re not manning the grill 24/7 using this Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometer.
Apples and chicken may seem like an unusual combination, but they make a wonderful meal when grilled to perfection. The thyme marinade gives a boost of flavor and tenderizes the chicken nicely. No time to make marinade from scratch? This trio of premade marinades from Williams-Sonoma will produce equally mouthwatering results.
Grilled potato skins
These hors d’oeuvres start in the microwave and are finished on the grill, making them quick and crispy. And if you love potatoes on the grill, investing in a set of Char-Broil stainless steel potato nails is a good idea.
Grilled chicken and pear salad
Juicy chicken, creamy Camembert, and velvety pears combine for one outstanding salad. This all-purpose grill tool set has everything you need for delicious results. Here are 15 more healthy salad recipes that you can add protein to if you want to switch things up (while still being healthy).
Grilled apple crisp
Topped this grilled apple crisp with a scoop of ice cream and this warm dessert will earn you rave reviews. To keep the party going after dark, simply clip on this handy grill light.
Grilled peaches with berry sauce
Topped with brown sugar and cinnamon, the peaches come off the grill sweet and spicy. The raspberry sauce adds a refreshing touch. Use a reversible basting brush to get double the basting action. Find out the 15 foods you didn’t know you could grill.
Grilled caramelized pineapple
Grilled fruit may be the best-tasting thing to ever come off a grill because fire caramelizes the natural sugars and adds smokiness. This recipe, courtesy of the Institute for Culinary Education, is a favorite: Mix 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon each olive oil and lime juice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves. Core a pineapple and slice into wedges. Soak the wedges in the marinade before grilling over high heat about three to four minutes per side, basting with marinade occasionally. To serve, brush with 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional), sprinkle with 1 tablespoon grated lime zest, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Don’t have a grill—or a lot of space—consider this portable charcoal grill. It has retractable legs and a handle that stays cool so it’s easy to carry anywhere, and the blue hood is stunning.
Grilled waffle treats
S’mores are good and all, but have you ever had a flame-kissed waffle loaded with marshmallows and chocolate chips? Fans of the traditional version can make grill cleanup slightly easier with this S’mores making kit. Share these 13 funny campfire stories while you make them.
Grilled brownie sundaes
This dessert is a hybrid of a brownie sundae and banana split, with extra caramelization thrown in. And you’ll be equipped to make one anytime with this fully loaded grilling apron that comes with a pair of tongs and a spatula. After dessert, play one of these 11 best backyard games the whole family will enjoy.
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