50 Classic and Easy Cookout Recipes To Save Right Now
Grilling out in your backyard is one of the best ways to switch up your dinner routine and get a break from dish duty. Whether it is a random Wednesday night or you’re kicking off summer with a celebratory dinner, a classic summer cookout is always the perfect way to eat outside as a family.
With a little bit of prep work in the kitchen and the grill fired up, you can cook this classic summer cookout menu from start to finish in just two hours. Or break up the prep over a few 30-minute cooking sessions and finish up everything with just a few minutes at the grill. Dust off your patio table and break out the melamine plates for this quick and easy summer cookout menu.
Kitchn’s Guide to an Easy Summer Cookout
This backyard cookout menu has a bunch of classic recipes (think: burgers and dogs, potato chips, and corn on the cob). Some of the dishes are make-ahead so that you can enjoy the contrast of hot burgers and cold salads, but so that you can also limit your time sweltering over the grill. Each suggestion also includes alternatives if you need to switch things up based on dietary preferences or grocery delivery. We’ve included a handy timeline at the end to help you cook through everything with ease.
You can’t have a cookout without at least one bag of ruffled potato chips, so why not up the ante a little with a creamy dip that can be made ahead (and even slathered on the burgers if you like!)?
Burgers and Grilled Mains
From burgers to saucy ribs to crispy chicken wings and flaky fish, these meaty mains will be the best you’ve ever grilled and require minimal prep for max flavor reward.
Side salads that get even better when you give it time to sit and chill in the fridge.
Easy Grilled Sides
Take advantage of your hot grill and cook at least one other side on it.
After the burgers are devoured and the grill is cooled, finishing off the evening with something sweet makes a summer cookout feel special.
A Quick and Easy Summer Cookout Timeline
- In the kitchen (a few hours in advance): Make potato salad and give it at least an hour to chill. Assemble ice cream sandwiches. Make caramelized onion dip. Prepare your burger patties and any toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, and red onion. Trim the corn for the grill.
- Before heating the grill: Serve up the chips and bring condiments and potato salad to the table.
- At the grill: Start the corn on the cob first and move it over indirect heat to finish cooking while you grill the burgers. Everything else will be ready and waiting at the table while the burgers are hot.
- After dinner: Slice ice cream sandwiches and serve with plenty of napkins to catch all the cool drips.