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Summer BBQ: 11 Simple, Scrumptious, & Spectacular Recipes Ideas For The Grilling Season

By Jayme Muller

May 22, 2023

The summer BBQ season is the perfect time to get your cooking tools out, and let your grill skills shine.

And if you’re looking to spice up your cookouts with some sizzling summer grilling recipes…

You’re in the right place!

This article is packed with summer BBQ menu ideas that you won’t be able to get enough of. 

But before you fire up the grill for your top-tier cookout…

Let’s talk about how to host a summer BBQ, without a hitch.

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summer bbq featured image

What Do You Need To Do For a Summer BBQ?

A summer BBQ is all about enjoying the season to its fullest!

But if you’re not properly prepared… Your perfect party can quickly turn into a stress-fest.

So, what do you need to do to keep your cookout running smoothly?

First Things First, Decide Who’s On The Guest List

couple using their built in coyote pellet grill

The first step to planning a successful BBQ party is deciding who’s on the roster.

Will you be hosting a small, close-knit get-together, for friends and family?

Or, are you looking to branch out and invite everyone on your block?

Once you know who’ll be attending… You’ll be able to set a date, and start brainstorming summer BBQ recipe ideas!

Speaking of…

Want to bring your idea to life?

Use our free 3D design tool to bring the outdoor kitchen of your dreams to reality in just a few minutes.

What’s on the Menu?

close up of grill with popular grill food items being cooked on it

Once all your guests have RSVPed.. It’s time to decide what’s on the menu.

Creating a menu well in advance will help you make sure you have all the ingredients you need before the big day.

As you ponder your menu… Consider any potential food allergies, likes and dislikes, and your own cooking abilities.

You should also factor in how much time you want to spend cooking!

If you don’t want to shoulder all the responsibility, why not make your party potluck-style?

If your guests have enough heads-up, they could certainly help contribute to the summer BBQ menu.

But no matter how you divvy it up…

Food is the most important part of any party, and you definitely don’t want to disappoint!

Don’t Forget These Summer BBQ Essentials

set of bbq tools on a table

Though food is certainly the most crucial component for a successful cookout… It’s not the only thing to consider. 

So, what other summer BBQ essentials do you need?

Of course, having the right cooking utensils  on hand is an absolute must! That way, you can grill with ease (and keep the delicious dishes coming).

And don’t overlook your guests’ comfort! How are you going to keep everyone content and entertained?

At the very least, you’ll need a place for your guests to sit and eat…

You should have enough silverware, napkins, and plates to go around…

And a cooler full of cold beverages is a necessity!

As well as these, you should have a trash can in the vicinity to keep your yard clean…

And though it’s not vital… Having lawn or party games prepared is always a good idea!

Alright. Now that you have a better idea of how to plan for your cookout…

Some summer BBQ food ideas are in order!

11 Summer BBQ Menu Ideas To Impress Your Guests

Looking for some of the best summer BBQ recipes for your cookout?

These easy summer BBQ ideas are certainly worthy of a spot on your menu!

Get the Party Started with A Scrumptious Summer Appetizer

A party isn’t really a party until the appetizers hit the table.

So, what foods should set the mood for your summer BBQ?

If you’re looking for an appetizer that’ll have your guests coming back for more…

Let’s take a look at celebrity chef Jet Tila’s Korean spicy pork belly!

Jet Tila’s Pellet-Grilled Korean Spicy Pork Belly

This easy summer BBQ recipe can be whipped up in a pinch… And it proves that pellet grills can do so much more than low and slow roasting!

spicy pork belly

Recipe Author: Jet Tila

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Sugar
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Cup Ko Chu Jang (Hot Pepper Paste)
  • 2 Pounds Pork Belly, Sliced 1/4 Inch
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Green Onion, Sliced into 1/2 Inch Pieces (Optional)

Ingredients for Wraps (Optional):

  • Perilla
  • Boston or Red Lettuce
  • Kim Chi
  • Sliced Raw Garlic
  • Gochu Jang
  • Ssam Jang
  • Sliced Jalapeno

Directions:

  • Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and Ko Chu Jang to make the marinade.
  • Marinate pork in spicy soy sauce mixture (4 hours to overnight).

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat the pellet grill to medium high heat (375-400 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Grill meat until thoroughly cooked, about 10-20 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Garnish with green onion if desired, and enjoy on its own or as a wrap!

*Cooking Note: When cooking with fatty meats such as pork belly, it’s important to clean the heat shield to prevent flare-ups. Use a scraper to clean. If using a Coyote pellet grill, debris from the heat shield will fall into the drip tray, for easy cleanup!

Summer BBQ Dishes Your Guests Will Dream Of

Looking for some seriously delicious summer BBQ dinner ideas?

We’ve got options!

Flat Top Chipotle Smash Burgers

For a quick and easy summer BBQ recipe… Try out these chipotle smash burgers on the flat top!

smash burger

Recipe Author: RTA Outdoor Living

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Burger Buns

Chipotle Mayo Ingredients:

  • 1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Chipotle Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Watkins Organic Grilling Smoked Maple Rub

Directions:

Directions for the Chipotle Mayo:

    1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and stir until homogenous.

Directions for Cooking the Burgers:

  1. Preheat the flat top grill to medium high heat.
  2. Season ground beef with salt and pepper, and mix.
  3. Lightly press ground beef into 2 ounce rounds.
  4. When the grill is preheated, place the patties on the cooktop.
  5. Wait two minutes, then smash the burgers with the flat side of a spatula or a burger press until flat.
  6. Cook for 3 more minutes, then flip.
  7. Add 1 Tbsp of the chipotle mayo to the burgers (remaining mayo will be used on the buns). If desired, now’s the time to add cheese!
  8. Once burgers have been cooked to your desired done-ness, remove from the grill.
  9. If desired, lightly toast your burger buns on the flat top. Then spread remaining mayo on the buns, add the patties, and serve!

Charcoal-Grilled Jalapeno Maple Marinated Ribs

These charcoal smoked, jalapeno maple marinated ribs are a stellar addition to any summer BBQ menu!

maple jalapeno marinated ribs

Recipe Author: RTA Outdoor Living

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pounds Country Style Pork Ribs
  • 2/3 Cups soy Sauce
  • 6 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
  • 1 Jalapeno (Thinly Sliced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon Water

Directions:

Directions for the Marinade:

  1. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water to make a slurry.
  2. In a saucepan, combine soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, and cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil for one minute, then remove from heat.
  3. Mix in thinly sliced jalapenos.
  4. Remove any excess fat from country style ribs.
  5. Add marinade to an airtight bag, and place ribs in the bag. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to overnight.

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium low heat.
  2. Remove ribs from the marinade bag. Keep the leftover marinade.
  3. Place ribs on a preheated grill and grill on both sides (about 1-2 minutes each side).
  4. Remove ribs from cooktop, and place in a foil pan or aluminum foil on the grates (this will prevent the marinade from dripping into the grill, and lock in the juices).
  5. Cook ribs for about two hours, rotating every half hour and brushing remaining marinade over the ribs as they cook. When done, internal temp should read between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kamado Smoked Pork Butt

Looking for a summer recipe to make in your kamado smoker? This smoked pork butt is tender, juicy, and great for pulled pork!

Recipe Author: Mad Scientist BBQ

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pork Shoulder Roast (Bone-In Strongly Preferred!)
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat your smoker to 250° F.
  2. Now, prepare your pork butt. Gently score the fat layer at the top, as this will encourage rendering as the roast cooks. Mix the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder together in a bowl. Then, liberally rub this mixture on all sides of the roast.
  3. Once the smoker’s ready to go, put your roast in the smoker. Allow it to cook for about 3-4 hours, checking periodically.
  4. Then, you’ll spray the pork butt around every 30 minutes with the apple cider vinegar solution. Be sure to avoid the fat, as you don’t want to cool this down.
  5. When you spray, also check to see if the fat on top has rendered. If it springs back, the fat’s still not rendered. You want your finger to sink right through this layer. Another way to tell if it’s ready is if the internal temperature hits 170°F.
  6. When you’ve hit an internal temp of 170°F and the fat has rendered, it’s time to wrap your roast. Completely wrap the pork butt with aluminum foil.
  7. Now, you can continue cooking it on the smoker, or in your oven at the same temp of 250°F.
  8. Continue cooking for about 2 hours, or until the internal temperature hits about 200°F.
  9. At this point, remove your roast from the heat. Allow it to rest, still wrapped, for an hour.
  10. Pull out the bone (if bone-in), shred the pork, and enjoy!

*NOTE: Our written recipe is a slight adaptation of the Mad Scientist BBQ’s original recipe!

Crispy Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Coleslaw

For some Mexican flair, these crispy fish tacos bring just the right amount of spice… They’re the perfect weeknight dinner!

crispy fish taco

Recipe Author: RTA Outdoor Living

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Pound White Fish Filets (We Recommend Tilapia)
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Oil, for Frying

Coleslaw Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 4 Cups Thinly Shredded Red Cabbage
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Directions:

Directions for Fish:

  1. Preheat about 2 inches of oil on high in a frying pan (for cooking outside, a side burner, power burner, or deep fryer could be used!)
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  4. Dredge fish filets in the egg mixture, then in the flour mixture.
  5. Once oil is up to temperature, place fish filets in hot oil for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Directions For Coleslaw:

    1. Wash and chop red cabbage into small chunks.
    2. Add lime juice to cabbage and mix.
    3. Let sit for 2 minutes, then mix in the remaining coleslaw ingredients.
    4. Place fried fish and coleslaw in a taco shell, and serve with your sauces/garnishes of choice!

Host the best Summer BBQ

Pick your perfect layout and appliances so you can host a summer BBQ. Get started using our free 3D design tool.

Smoked Pickle Chicken

With both pickle flavors and mustard… This pellet smoked pickle chicken gives you all the best elements of a burger (minus the red meat).

Recipe Author: RTA Outdoor Living

Serves: Can Adjust Measurements as Needed To Serve All Your Guests!

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breast
  • Pickle Juice
  • Mustard
  • Dry Rub of Your Choice (Optional)
  • Burger Buns (Optional)

Directions:

  1. Marinate chicken breast in pickle juice for 24 hours prior to smoking
  2. When ready to smoke, set the pellet grill to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Rub marinated chicken with mustard.
  4. If desired, season with dry rub of choice.
  5. Smoke chicken until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Approximate smoke time is 4-6 hours, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.
  6. Serve on its own or with buns for a true chicken burger!

Don’t Overlook These Easy Summer Side Dishes!

You can’t have the perfect summer BBQ without side dishes…

And these summer BBQ salads are healthy, quick, (and most importantly) delicious!

Spicy Corn Salad

This veggie-filled corn salad recipe is a fantastic summer BBQ side dish… And it can be whipped up quickly on your side burner or flat top grill!

spicy corn salad

Recipe Author: RTA Outdoor Living

Serves: Can Adjust Measurements as Needed To Serve All Your Guests!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Corn
  • 1 Jalapeno (seeds removed)
  • 1 Can Diced Green Chiles
  • 1 Diced Medium Tomato
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Red Onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Green Ancho Chili Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika

Directions:

  1. Drizzle olive oil on the cooktop, and preheat to medium high heat.
  2. Add corn, onion, and jalapeno, and cook through (stirring frequently).
  3. Add tomato and green chiles, and cook for 5 minutes more or until cooked through.
  4. Add seasonings.
  5. For a smokier flavor, continue to cook until a slight char appears on the corn.
  6. Serve on its own or over a house salad with your favorite dressing.
  1. Drizzle olive oil on the cooktop, and preheat to medium high heat.
  2. Add corn, onion, and jalapeno, and cook through (stirring frequently).
  3. Add tomato and green chiles, and cook for 5 minutes more or until cooked through.
  4. Add seasonings.
  5. For a smokier flavor, continue to cook until a slight char appears on the corn.
  6. Serve on its own or over a house salad with your favorite dressing.

Zucchini Pasta Salad

Add some flair to traditional pasta salad with this zucchini and feta side dish!

zuchinni pasta salad

Recipe Author: RTA Outdoor Living

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 16 Ounces Pasta Of Your Choice
  • 2 Zucchinis, Diced
  • 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, Halved
  • 1 Red or Orange Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Pitted Olives
  • 1/2 Cup Feta Cheese, Cubed
  • 1/3 Cup Red Onion, Diced

Salad Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (From 2-3 Lemons)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper

Directions:

    1. Boil water, add pasta, and cook until done (about 10 minutes).
    2. Dice zucchini and place on a grill mat (or aluminum foil) over a hot flame to caramelize.
    3. When the zucchini is golden brown, remove from heat.
    4. Prepare other veggies.
    5. Combine pasta, zucchini, and other veggies in a large bowl.
    6. Top it off with pitted olives and feta cheese.

    Directions for Dressing:

    1. Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk until homogenous.
    2. Add salt and pepper to your preferred taste.

Save Room for Delectable Summer BBQ Desserts

We hope you still have room for these easy summer BBQ desserts!

Juicy Pellet-Smoked Fruit Kebabs

Who said summer barbecue desserts had to be unhealthy?

These juicy pellet-smoked fruit kebabs are sweet and smokey. Plus, they’re easy to make!

Recipe Author: RTA Outdoor Living

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Watermelon, cut into cubes
  • 1 Pineapple, cut into cubes
  • 2 Mangoes, cut into cubes
  • Any Other Fruit You Desire!
  • BBQ Skewers

Directions:

  1. Preheat the pellet grill to medium high heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Cut fruit into chunks, and place in alternating order on BBQ skewers.
  3. Place skewers on the preheated grill for about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Remove from the grill and enjoy! (Or, serve with vanilla ice cream!)

Pineapple Upside Down Cake on the Pellet Grill

Ever thought you’d bake a cake in the great outdoors?

Well, this super simple pineapple upside down cake on the pellet grill is a great place to start!

Recipe Author: Coyote Outdoor Living

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Topping Ingredients:

  • 565g / 20 oz Canned Pineapple Slices in Juice
  • 12-18+ Maraschino Cherries
  • 60g / 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Melted)
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda (Sub 1 Tsp Baking Powder)
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Milk (Full Fat)
  • 1/4 Cup Pineapple Juice (Reserved From Can)
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream (Full Fat)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 115g / 1 Stick Unsalted Butter (Softened)
  • 3/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs (Room Temperature)
  • Any Leftover Pineapple, Chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat pellet grill (lid closed) to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (About 10-15 minutes)
  2. Position the Versa Rack above the grill grates.

Directions for the Decorative Top:

  1. Line a tray with paper towels, then place pineapples and cherries on it.
  2. Pat fruits dry with paper towels.
  3. Pour melted butter in a 9” cast iron pan.
  4. Brush butter up the sides of the pan.
  5. Sprinkle brown sugar over the base, roughly spreading it out using a brush.
  6. Arrange pineapple: place one pineapple ring in the center, and surround with either halved pineapple rings or whole ones.
  7. Decorate with cherries as desired. Most people place them in the center of the pineapple rings.
  8. Press cherries and pineapples down firmly, so they are in direct contact with the base of the cake pan. This will give you vibrant red and yellow color pops once done cooking.

Directions for the Cake Mixture:

  1. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk milk, sour cream, pineapple juice, and vanilla.
  3. In a third (and final!) bowl, whisk flour, beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes on speed 7 (handheld mixer) until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 20 seconds in between.
  5. Add flour mixture, then milk mixture, alternating: Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then mix in using a rubber spatula. Add 1/2 of the milk mixture, mix in. Add half the remaining flour mixture, mix. Add all the remaining milk mixture, mix. Then, mix in the last of the flour mixture.
  6. Stir in leftover pineapple pieces.
  7. Spread batter over pineapple layer, and smooth out the surface.

Baking Instructions:

  1. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan a half turn to ensure it cooks evenly.
  2. Cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Remove cake from pellet grill and immediately run butter knife around the side of the pan to loosen the cake.
  4. Put a heatproof plate or serving platter over the cake; turn the plate and pan over.
  5. Leave the pan over the cake for 5 minutes so the brown sugar topping can drizzle over the cake.
  6. Cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Top it Off With a Drink at the Outdoor Bar (You Deserve It!)

After a long (rewarding) day of grilling in the hot sun… It’s time to kick back, put your feet up, and relax with a refreshing summertime beverage.

Watermelon Margarita

This juicy watermelon margarita is sweet, refreshing, and the perfect way to celebrate after a successful summer BBQ party!

watermelon margarita

Recipe Author: RTA Outdoor Living

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Ounces of Your Preferred Tequila
  • 1 Ounce of Triple Sec
  • 1 Ounce of Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3 Ounces of Fresh Watermelon Juice
  • Salt or Sugar for Rim (Optional)
  • Ice (To Your Preference)

Directions:

  1. Put ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 1 minute to combine.
  2. Prepare margarita glasses with a salt sugar rim, and fill with ice.
  3. Pour into prepared margarita glasses, and enjoy!

Bring on the BBQ with a Summer Kitchen

Alright, hopefully we’ve given you some summer menu inspiration!

But, here’s the thing…

You might have what it takes to whip up these summer BBQ favorites…

But does your backyard?

If you don’t have the right outdoor cooking setup… Your summer BBQ may quickly become more than you can handle (even with proper planning)!

Luckily, there’s a great solution for staying calm, cool, and collected at your next cookout…

And that’s with a summer kitchen!

An outdoor kitchen brings unmatched cooking convenience to your back patio… So you don’t have to work up a sweat running back and forth from your indoor kitchen to your backyard.

So, whether you need more counter space and storage room for easy food prep…

More appliances for increased outdoor cooking versatility…

A refreshment center and bar to keep your guests at ease (complete with an outdoor refrigerator, kegerator, or drop-in cooler)

Or an outdoor sink or slide out trash bins for convenient cleanup…

An outdoor kitchen could meet all of your wildest summer BBQ dreams!

So, if this streamlined summer BBQ experience sounds good to you… What’s the next step?

Well, to paint a full picture of what’s possible… Check out our Learning Hub! If you have any questions about outdoor kitchens, this is the best place to pin down answers.

And if you’re eager to get a jumpstart on your grill station… Our free online design tool makes it easy as ever to start planning!

When you’re ready to host superior summer BBQ parties… Reach out, and we’ll be here to help make it happen.

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

FAQ

There are so many great foods to make at the height of grilling season!

It’s largely agreed upon that steak, hot dogs, and hamburgers are must-have BBQ foods… With pork chop and BBQ chicken recipes also quite popular (You also can’t go wrong with ribs with BBQ sauce, or really any type of kabobs!)

And of course, you can’t go without the classic sides… Potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, grilled corn on the cob, and baked beans are backyard BBQ staples!

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