7 Summer Grill Recipes You Need in Your Life Right Now!

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If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Can I grill it?” I’m here to tell you that yes, you 100% can — whatever it is!

Now that summer is here and the grilling season is in full swing, you’re probably planning your next cookout with friends and family.

And if you’re wracking your brain, thinking of recipes to impress your guests, but are coming up blank, I’ve got some grilled delights to set your party on fire (figuratively speaking)!

From appetizers to desserts, here are my top seven grilled summer recipes that you have to add to your life RIGHT NOW!

1. Grilled Polenta Crackers With Roasted Pepper Salsa

Since you’re prepping for a whole three-course meal during a BBQ cookout, I know that you’ve got a lot on your plate. So, at the very least, the appetizers should be a breeze, right? 

That’s why one of my non-negotiable criteria when it comes to appetizers is that they have to be quick and easy. If possible, I want them to take me no more than 30 minutes to prepare. 

And this recipe definitely fits the bill. 

These polenta crackers with roasted pepper salsa are quick to make, taking just 16 minutes and only three steps. Let’s start.

First, collect all the ingredients: a tube of ready-made polenta crackers (such as Gourmais), a quarter cup of extra-virgin olive oil, three roasted red peppers, and half a cup of black olives without pits.

On top of those, you also need two tablespoons of capers, a three-fourths cup of flat-leaf parsley, half a white onion, a clove of garlic, and half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

Now, grab your polenta crackers and brush them lightly with your olive oil. Next, put the crackers on the grill and cook each side for two to three minutes.

Once your crackers are done, set them aside and make some space for your salsa.

To make the salsa, simply put the peppers, olives, capers, parsley, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse it a few times.

You don’t want to overdo it because you want to keep some chunks for added texture. And when you’re satisfied with your mixture, just add spoonfuls of it to your polenta before serving.

This recipe is a great start because it checks all the boxes for a BBQ party side dish: (1) it’s pretty simple to make, (2) it takes less than 30 minutes to prep, and (3) it’s bite-sized.

In other words, it’s the perfect appetizer recipe to set the tone for your cookout. 

2. Grilled Green Tomatoes

Because polenta crackers can be a little filling, I like to offer my guests some options. For those who prefer a lighter appetizer, these grilled green tomatoes are a perfect alternative.

You might be thinking that since green tomatoes are underripe, it would be better to use red tomatoes instead. But, I find that the green variety is firmer and, therefore, holds more structure while grilling. 

Plus, the slight tanginess from this veggie/fruit pairs incredibly well with the grill’s smoky char. 

If you want to make this dish, get four medium green tomatoes (sliced to rounds), two tablespoons of olive oil, four ounces of soft goat cheese, two tablespoons of thick cream, and the zest of one lemon.

There’s more. You also need to get half a teaspoon each of agave syrup or honey, hot red pepper flakes, and fresh basil leaves. 

For your garnish, prepare some flaky sea salt and a bit more crushed red pepper (if you like it with a kick).

First, coat both sides of the tomatoes with olive oil. Then season them with salt and pepper, and set them aside.

In the meantime, mix your cream, goat cheese, lemon peel, agave syrup or honey, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and the leftover oil in a bowl. 

Once they’re well combined, spread this cheese blend onto a serving plate — use as much or as little as you prefer; being a cheese lover myself, I usually add an extra layer of this mixture to my dish.

Leave your prepared plate to rest as you grill your tomatoes. After two to three minutes, flip them and do the same on the other side. 

Arrange your tomatoes over the goat cheese mixture, and top it off with your flaky salt, basil, and red pepper flakes. 

I know this is a pretty straightforward recipe, but don’t underestimate it. These grilled green tomatoes always leave a lasting impression.

3. Campfire Hot Dog Skewers

If you want to add some meat to your selection of appetizers, this is one of the recipes I make time and time again: campfire hot dog skewers. 

The whole process — including getting ready and cooking — only takes 30 minutes, and you only need 10 things. How convenient is that?

First, get your sauce ingredients ready. 

You’ll need a quarter cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, one and a half tablespoons of ketchup (or tomato sauce), a tablespoon of soy sauce (I prefer low-sodium), a teaspoon of rice wine vinegar, and chili powder.

Next, grab your ingredients for the skewers. 

These are a pack of quartered hot dogs, three cups of pineapple (canned or fresh), one red and one green bell pepper, and a small red onion, all cut into 1” pieces.

Before grilling, you need to prep your sauce. So, get a bowl and whisk all your sauce ingredients.

After that, get your skewers and thread your hot dogs, pineapple slices, peppers, and red onion in whatever order you want. 

Once your skewers are all set, brush your marinade over them, then put them on your preheated grill. 

Turn your skewers over every few minutes and brush them with the leftover sauce. Your appetizer should be done in around eight to 10 minutes’ time.

4. Grilled Lobster Tail Pasta

Moving on to the main course, we’re starting with the grilled lobster tail pasta.

I know, I know. In some contexts, pasta is considered a side dish, but I grouped this specific recipe along with the other main dishes because:

  1. It’s served in larger portions.
  2. It includes a main dish ingredient — which is lobster.
  3. It can be a standalone meal that gives you a well-balanced diet.

So, if we’re all on the same page, let’s get on with the recipe. For this dish, you need quite a few ingredients, including 12 oz. of mezze rigatoni, one zested lemon, and a three-fourths cup of olive oil.

On top of those, this main course also calls for 8 oz. of lobster tails (fresh or frozen), three ears of corn, three minced garlic cloves, one thinly sliced Fresno chile, one shallot, and two packs of cherry tomatoes.

For the seasoning, you need half a cup of dry white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc), a cup of fresh parsley (chopped), a fourth cup of fresh tarragon leaves (chopped), and some salt and pepper. 

To start things off, bring a big pot filled with salty water to a boil and cook your pasta until it’s al dente (which is not too soft, not too hard). After that, take your pot off the fire and let it cool down. 

While you have your pasta on the side, squeeze your lemon juice in a bowl with your lemon zest, red pepper flakes, a quarter cup of oil, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper to taste.

Now, time for the lobsters. Use a pair of kitchen shears and cut your tails lengthwise to make equal halves. Then, brush each side with your lemon oil mixture. Be sure to do the same with your corn.

With your corn seasoned nicely, grill it until it turns lightly charred. After 15 to 20 minutes, take it off the heat and set it aside. 

At this point, you can grill your lobster tails (meat-side down) until the shells turn a bright red. Five minutes later, turn them around and brush the other side with the remaining lemon oil.

Continue this process until you’re sure that the lobster meat is cooked through. When that happens, transfer your tails to a cutting board and cut them into smaller chunks. 

After that, get a cast-iron skillet and add your garlic, chile, shallot, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a sizzle (give or take three minutes) before adding your tomatoes and white wine. 

Continue stirring and cooking until your tomatoes soften and burst. This should take six minutes more. 

You’re almost finished with this dish. This last step involves cutting your corn kernels off the cobs and tossing them into the skillet along with your dried noodles. 

Fold the pasta with the rest of your ingredients and finish it off with your parsley, tarragon, salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice. 

This dish covers all the food groups, and I’m sure you and your guests will be full after one heaping serving. 

5. Grilled Baby Back Ribs

When you think of  BBQ, you’re probably thinking of baby back ribs, right? This is a quintessential main ingredient at any cookout. As such, we would be amiss if we left it out. 

What’s great about these grilled baby back ribs is that even though it takes an hour and a half to complete, most of the time, it’s just a waiting game. 

This means that after making the rub and preparing your meat, there’s nothing left to do but sit back and wait for the ribs to grill.

So, here’s how you can make the best baby back ribs with this foolproof recipe! 

Before anything else, you need three pounds of baby back pork ribs, a tablespoon each of ground cumin, chili powder, and paprika, a cup of BBQ sauce, and some salt and pepper to taste.

Once you have your ingredients, mix them together (minus the ribs and BBQ sauce) to create the rub.

Then, prep your meat by trimming the membrane sheath from the back of both racks. To do this, you need to run a small, sharp knife between the thin film and the bone.

Be sure to strip off as much membrane as possible.

After that, sprinkle your rub on both sides of the ribs. Fair warning, though, too much spice rub can lead to ribs that look too dark and taste too spicy. So, try not to overdo it. 

Now, place your racks on your hot grill and place an aluminum foil underneath the grates to capture any juices. Cook them for about an hour with the lid closed.

60 minutes later, open the lid and brush some of your tasty BBQ sauce on top. Leave it on the grill for another five minutes to marinate.

Finally, serve your ribs as entire racks, and cut in between each bone for better portion control. Without fail, this recipe gives me fall-of-the-bone meat that is packed full of flavor in every bite. 

6. Grilled Pineapple With Nutella

Even if the main course dishes are the main event at many BBQ parties, we shouldn’t overlook the grilled desserts, and I’ve got two options for you to choose from. You can serve either one or both!

The first dessert is this grilled pineapple with Nutella. It may sound simple, but we’re adding our spin to make it extraordinary. 

To begin, grab your ingredients: two peeled and cut pineapples, two-thirds cup of mascarpone cheese, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and two-thirds cup of Nutella (or any chocolate spread you want). 

On top of those, you need six tablespoons of whipping cream, some olive oil, and three tablespoons of chopped toasted hazelnuts for your topping.

Start by grilling your pineapple slices until they start to brown. In my experience, this typically takes about three minutes per side. 

Then, while your fruits are cooking, whisk your mascarpone and vanilla extract together. Set it aside for a while. 

Now, stir your cream and Nutella until they come together. Place the mixture in a microwave for two minutes, taking it out every 20 seconds to stir again. 

If you don’t have a microwave, you can heat your mixture in a saucepan over low heat for around five minutes. The consistency should be syrupy enough to easily pour over your pineapples.

By this time, your pineapples should be done grilling, so take them out of the heat and transfer them to a serving plate. Drizzle your chocolate cream sauce on top and add a dollop of your vanilla mascarpone.

Finally, sprinkle some toasted hazelnuts, and you’ve got a grilled dessert that everyone will want a piece of!

7. Grilled Rhubarb Brown Betty

The second dessert option is a twist on a beloved classic. 

Did you know that the origin of the Brown Betty dates back to colonial times? Not only that, but the dish was also traditionally served with fruits — like apples — and not a vegetable like rhubarb. 

Since we’re grilling this dessert, though, rhubarb is the perfect substitute because it enhances the natural sweetness of the dish and even gives it a slightly smoky flavor. 

So, if you’re ready to make this recipe, here’s what you need.

A cup of panko (which is Japanese breadcrumbs), a quarter cup and two tablespoons of brown sugar, and a cup of granulated sugar (not filled to the top).

For your spices, you need one and a half teaspoons of ground cinnamon, half a teaspoon of ground allspice, a quarter teaspoon of ground ginger, and a pinch of ground cloves.

Hold on, we’re not yet done. You also need five stalks of rhubarb (cut into smaller pieces), a teaspoon of lemon juice, half a cup of chopped almonds, and four tablespoons of cold unsalted butter (cut into cubes).

This last ingredient is optional, but if you want to make this dish extra special, get yourself some strawberry ice cream. 

After collecting your ingredients, whisk your panko brown sugar, a quarter cup of granulated sugar, and spices in a bowl. 

Then, grab another bowl and toss in your rhubarb with lemon juice and the rest of your granulated sugar. Give it a good stir, and set it aside for a few minutes. 

While that’s resting, get an ovenproof skillet or a flameproof baking dish and layer about three tablespoons of your sugary breadcrumbs on the bottom. 

Scoop your rhubarb mixture on top and add another layer of the remaining breadcrumbs and almonds. Dot with your cut-up butter and place your skillet in the dead center of the grill.

Close the lid and cook the dessert until it becomes bubbly and golden brown. On average, this should take you about 15 to 20 minutes. 

After 20 minutes, don’t eat it just yet! Let your grilled masterpiece rest for 10 minutes more before serving it with your strawberry ice cream. 

The warm rhubarb mixed with the cold ice cream just hits on a different level. And without a doubt, this is one of my favorite desserts to serve during a summer cookout!

A Fantastic BBQ Blowout With Smokin’ Hot Summer Recipes

Grilling during the summer is one of the highlights of my year. It’s something that I look forward to and plan for ahead of time.

But, if you don’t know what you’re bringing to the table just yet, don’t worry. This list has got you covered from appetizers to entrées to desserts. 

So, get your apron out and try these awesome summer grilling ideas. You definitely won’t regret it!

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