17 Creative Main Dishes for a Crowd-Pleasing BBQ

17 Creative Main Dishes for a Crowd-Pleasing BBQ

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Meghan Splawn
Jun 20, 2016

Here's my secret for being a backyard BBQ baller: I keep my side, drinks, and desserts simple, but serve up on the biggest, most impressive main dishes I can muster. Ribs, whole artichokes, or even a big ol' turkey are sure to impress your guests.

Here are a few of our favorite show-stopping main dishes for your next BBQ that feed a crowd and then some.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

1. Fiona's Green Chicken

Grilled chicken is such a quintessential barbecue dish that you really can't go wrong with a whole platter of drumsticks. These are marinated in a quick blitz of herbs, garlic, and fish sauce for a super-savory sensation.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

2. How To Grill a Spatchcocked Turkey

Team turkey here. Why should this beautiful bird be enjoyed but once a year? Whole frozen turkeys are available year-round at most grocers and generally cheaper per pound in the summer than any other season.

(Image credit: Alice Choi)

3. Spicy Korean Grilled Chicken

If grilled chicken smothered in a sticky, spicy-sweet sauce is your thing, this recipe is for you. Serve this with some cooling cucumber noodles and a few cold beers.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

4. How To Cook a Crispy, Juicy Chicken on the Grill

Juicy, flavorful chicken with crispy skin (without having to crack open the oven during sweltering summer heat) sounds like a dream. Consider cooking two of these chickens side by side if you're feeding a crowd.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

5. If You Haven't Grilled Short Ribs Yet, You're Missing Out

No, really, you are. Short ribs are a great steak alternative at a much lower price. Plus there is something so primal about eating these meaty ribs right off the bone.

(Image credit: Nick Evans)

6. Korean Bulgogi-Style Grilled Steak

Don't reserve Korean BBQ for dining out — bulgogi is easy to recreate at home with flank or skirt steak. Pair this with grilled cabbage or kimchi and jasmine rice.

(Image credit: Karla Conrad)

7. Beef Kofta with Tzatziki

Consider the kofta a playful, flavorful riff on the hamburger. Technically it is a meatball, but one that is designed for the high heat of the grill. You can make the tzatziki and kofta the day before, which makes this dish easy to prepare for a crowd.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

8. How To Make Great Ribs in the Oven

There's no reason a big, impressive main dish for your backyard BBQ can't come from your oven. This popular recipe is easy to make for a really big crowd. Plus, you can make them a day ahead and reheat them on the grill if your "backyard" is more like the neighborhood park.

(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

9. Easy Rosemary-Rubbed Pork Chops

Here's a pork chop with a dead-simple rub that delivers deliciousness every single time. Rub the pork chops the night before for maximum flavor and serve with a simple salad, crusty bread, and wine.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

10. How To Grill Really Juicy Burgers

Every BBQ host needs a juicy burger recipe to pull off for impromptu backyard get-togethers. This recipe make eight quarter-pounders to top with all the cheese, mustard, and pickles your heart desires.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

11. Hawaiian Burgers with Grilled Pineapple

I'm such a sucker for grilled pineapple — the smoky, caramelized flavors get me every single time. Plus, this recipe has a whiskey glaze and is topped with just the right amount of spicy jalapeño.

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

12. Grilled Eggplant Burgers with Halloumi Cheese

Here is a veggie burger that does not require a food processor or blender. There are no cans of beans to open; no carrots to grate. You can save yourself a boatload of time by picking up some pesto for these burgers while you're at the store. Halloumi is a chewy, salty cheese that can be found in most gourmet markets.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

13. Bryant Terry's Grilled Vegetable and Tofu Kebabs

Kebabs present beautifully at the table, and you can enjoy a kebab in one hand with a cocktail in the other. These kebabs also have the distinction of being vegan and loaded with flavor. Prep the skewers in advance and serve with a simple couscous or this curried corn and coconut rice.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

14. Grilled Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower is truly a chameleon in the kitchen. It can become the stand-in for rice, potatoes, and even pizza crust, but with this recipe cauliflower is truly the star of the show. Smoked paprika and a bit of chipotle powder char delightfully on the grill. Serve these steaks with plenty of extra lime.

(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

15. Grilled Artichokes

These artichokes are destined for the kind of summer soirée where guest linger over crisp wine, a few delicious cheeses, and good conversation long after sunset. You can boil the artichokes in advance and finish them on the grill just as guests arrive.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

16. How To Make the Best Grilled Pizza

Pizza is the universal crowd-pleaser. I love doing grilled pizzas when my husband's family comes over for dinner during the summer. Adults and children can choose their own toppings, and guests are always impressed by the crispy charred crust.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

17. BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad

This Cobb salad is great for any occasion when you don't have immediate access to a grill and need a one-bowl entree. Cook the bacon, hard-boil a few eggs, grill the chicken in advance, and dress just before serving.

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