Cooking out in our backyard is one of our favorite ways to hang out as a family and entertain other families. The kids can run around blowing bubbles, kicking soccer balls around, and catching bugs while the grown-ups drink cocktails and prep dinner. My kiddos would be perfectly happy with hotdogs from the grill seven nights a week, but I grow tired of the hotdog routine pretty early in the season — like even before Memorial Day.
The trick to satisfying kids and grown-ups alike is to find a few meals that are either seasoned with mild flavors or can be adapted to have a slightly less heat. Here are 10 of my favorite grilling recipes for when entertaining both kids and adults.
This is my absolutely favorite way to prepare chicken on the grill, and it is super easy too. Soak chicken pieces in buttermilk bolstered with some brown sugar, garlic, and paprika. There's just a pinch of red pepper flake that you can skip for tiny diners. I love to serve this chicken with grilled Parmesan broccoli that kids will appreciate for its cheesiness and grown-ups will appreciate for its lemony zip.
Grill them right and pork chops can be as tasty as a steak. Plus, the mild flavor of pork is adored by kids of all ages. These chops get an additional kick from a tangy glaze that's equally sweet enough for the kids, but acidic enough for adults to enjoy too.
My 6-year-old is obsessed with burgers lately. While classic beef burgers are delicious in their own right, these turkey burgers will change your mind about ground turkey. The burger patties get a ton of moisture from Greek yogurt, while the mashed avocado adds even more flavor and moisture to the finished burgers.
These flatbreads are a really smart template for an easy way to make pizza for a crowd of varying tastes. Use naan or other store-bought flatbreads to jump-start dinner and put out a handful of toppings for each diner to build their own individual pizza. Kids flip over this hands-on pizza-building dinner.
These meatball kebabs have me all "Why haven't I made these for my family yet?" Here's the schtick with these sticks — buy frozen or fully cooked meatballs and thread them with veggies on a skewer, brush with barbecue sauce while you grill, and watch them disappear at dinner. You could customize these with different meatballs, fruits and vegetables, and your favorite sauce for endless variations.
This is one of my favorite entertaining dinners because nachos from the grill are just one step above "hobo packets" on the nostalgia scale for grown-ups, and kids can't get over the novelty. Each dinner gets their own package so you can range from plain chips and cheese (my 3-year-old) to fully loaded (my brother-in-law).
These grilled sausages are the sweet spot between my kids wanting hotdogs and me wanting something more interesting for dinner. There's beer for grown-up flavors, but also maple syrup to sweeten things up for the kids.
Fruit on grilled meat is one of those weird but wildly good flavors you can't miss this summer. My kids prefer to eat their grilled fruit separately, while we pile our burgers high with the grilled pineapple, whiskey glaze, and crisp jalapeños .
These ribs are marinated with pears, which should tell you everything you need to know about why kids will love their sweet, smoky flavor. Admittedly, this is the fanciest meal on this list, but it is ideal for when I get bored with my regular favorites and need something bright and bold in flavor (that kids will still eat).
Who doesn't love a mini burger, slider or otherwise? These pork cuties are served on mini pitas and make the prefect-sized patties for little eaters. Grown-ups will thank you for make a cooling, tangy yogurt sauce to pair with them.