15 Top Recipes for Cookouts

These Awesome Recipes Will Get You Grillin' All Summer Long

 Leah Maroney

When the temperature starts to rise, so do our cravings for cookout fare. These great grilling out recipes will make your backyard a BBQ destination

  • 01 of 15

    A Solid Hamburger

    Juicy Grilled Burgers

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    A great cookout starts with a solid hamburger, and for that, you've just got to make your own. Start with beef chuck with a little fat―you don't want anything higher than 85% lean―for juicy patties. If you can grind your own beef from chuck beef cubes, that will give you an even better texture.

  • 02 of 15

    Basic Coleslaw

    Classic Coleslaw

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    If you've never put a little coleslaw on your hot dog or hamburger at a cookout, your life's about to change. This basic coleslaw recipe makes an awesome side for any meat, as well as a topping for anything you toss on the grill. Feel free to add some julienned red pepper, purple cabbage, or more carrot for festive color.

  • 03 of 15

    Grilled Chicken Legs

    Grilled Chicken Legs

    The Spruce

    Most of us probably grew up thinking chicken breasts were the best cut, but the real flavor lies in the legs. Chicken thighs not only cost less at the grocery store but come out juicier, especially when grilled. This simple marinated grilled chicken legs recipe tastes great, but make sure you plan ahead. It needs four hours in the fridge, first.

  • 04 of 15

    Green Pea Salad

    Green Pea Salad With Easy Creamy Dressing

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

    You probably have a bag of frozen green peas in your freezer right now. From there, you're not far from pulling together this easy, green pea salad. Toss them with diced red onion, bell pepper, carrot, and celery dressed with a simple ranch and mayonnaise combination. This pretty salad goes great with grilled meats, too!

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  • 05 of 15

    Broccoli Salad With Raisins

    Broccoli Bacon Salad

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    If you only ever blanch broccoli in your kitchen, have we got a recipe for you. This easy and versatile broccoli salad with raisins has a sweet and savory twist. Add your favorite chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, julienned carrots, or use bacon bits for fun variations.

  • 06 of 15

    Tricolor Pasta Salad

    Garden Pesto Pasta Salad With Rotini

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

    This tricolor pasta salad is made with rotini that gives this garden vegetable meal its fun colorful vibe. You can use whatever vegetables you have in your garden, but cucumber, red pepper, tomato, and carrot work especially well. Canned black olives give it a little umami flavor, and prepared pesto with a hint of lemon juice adds zing. You can use whatever pasta you have on hand if you can't find rotini.

  • 07 of 15

    Beer Brats

    Quick and Easy Beer Bratwurst (With Variations)

    The Spruce 

    If you love ordering beer brats at your neighborhood pub, bring that flavor to your own backyard. This recipe also works with any link sausage. Choose a beer you like, since you won't need the entire bottle for the recipe. A darker beer gives the broth a richer flavor, but any style will do. Best of all, this recipe works on the stovetop if you get rained out.

  • 08 of 15

    Hot Dogs With Unique Toppings

     Leah Maroney

    Tired of the same old, same old cookout fare? These hot dogs with unique toppings are next-level ranging everywhere from Mexican street corn to Banh Mi-style and are guaranteed to perk up your party. You can adjust the heat of your toppings by adding more or fewer jalapeños or buy jarred sauce to save time. Your family will never think of hot dogs the same way again.

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  • 09 of 15

    Try Beer in the Butt Chicken


    You've had grilled chicken. You've had roast chicken. You've probably even had smoked chicken. But until you've tried beer in the butt chicken, you haven't had this juicy, steamed goodness. Use any can of beer you have around for this rosemary-scented chicken. Be careful when removing the can; it'll be hot.

  • 10 of 15

    Marinated Vegetable Kebabs

    Vegetable Kebabs

    Jonathan Kantor / The Image Bank / Getty Images

    Make the most of your garden's bounty this summer with these easy and delicious marinated vegetable kebabs. Zucchini, onion, and bell pepper all work great, but feel free to use whatever firm vegetable you have on hand. These make a great vegetarian main course over a bed of rice, or you can add chicken, beef, or pork if you prefer.

  • 11 of 15

    Fig and Arugula Pizza on the Grill


    Why should the hot dogs and hamburgers have all the fun? Grilling your pizza gives it a smoky, crispy crust and lets you take the pizza party outside. What's not to love? This easy fig and arugula pizza are topped off with balsamic vinegar with an assertive cheese for a classy flavor you won't forget.

  • 12 of 15

    Grilled Lemon Dill Salmon Fillets

    Salmon fillet garnished with dill, lime and lemon slices on baking parchment
    Dave King / Getty Images

    Lemon and dill are made for each other, and when you season salmon fillets that way, something magical happens. Grilling salmon gives the fish a slightly sweet caramelized flavor, which contrasts beautifully with the bright lemon. Serve these grilled lemon dill salmon fillets with a fresh spring salad for a lovely outdoor dinner.

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  • 13 of 15

    Spicy Pulled Pork

     Regarding BBQ, Inc.

    Once you try this slightly spicy pulled pork recipe, you'll never go back to prepared sauce again. This smoked pork shoulder recipe takes about eight hours on the grill, but the wait is well worth it. After smelling it all day, you won't be able to resist these succulent sandwiches.

  • 14 of 15

    Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

    Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

    This simple, no-bake ice cream sandwich cake will top off your cookout perfectly. Using just a few prepared ingredients, it also comes together in a snap. Get your favorite flavor of ice cream sandwich or use caramel or another flavored sauce instead of hot fudge, for a fun variation.

  • 15 of 15

    Homemade Agave Lemonade

    Homemade Agave Lemonade

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

    When slaving over a hot (outdoor) stove, you need something to cool your brow. This homemade agave lemonade is made with agave, for a slightly richer flavor than white sugar. Ginger and mint add a nice zing. For variation, use sparkling water, a few limes, or garnish with fresh raspberries or strawberries.