Break Out the Grill: Clutch Foods to Kick Off Summer Cookouts This Memorial Day
Photo: Fabian Krause / EyeEm (Getty Images)
It’s finally warm enough to crank up the grill, throw down some meat, and stand behind it with a beer as we admire our domain (read: suburban yard or city fire escape).
Since grilling is such an essential summer activity, you can’t just toss anything on your grill and expect it to win a James Beard Award for taste and creativity. You’re more likely to win a Razzie. That’s why we came up with a handy-dandy ranking of the best foods to grill to impress your friends and family at your first cookout of the year.
Throwback brews: These Beers Pair Perfectly With Your Favorite ’80’s Movies
6. Grilled Pineapple
Pineapple might already be the best fruit. But, when you grill it, it only gets better. The only reason it’s so low on our list is because you’d end up with a stomach ache if you just ate caramelized, grilled pineapple as your main course. It’s easy to make and works perfectly as a side to steak and chicken skewers. Simply cut your pineapple into rings and place them around the grill. Cook them until they start to caramelize and if you don’t want them for dinner, pair them with vanilla ice cream for a tasty grilled dessert.
Photo: Wei Gu / EyeEm (Getty Images)
5. Grilled Pizza
If you’ve never had grilled pizza, then you’re in for a treat this summer. You can go the easy route and buy pre-made crust and load it up with your favorite ingredients or you can make your own dough (we prefer a white pizza with olive oil, fresh mozzarella, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes). If you go the homemade dough route, make sure it isn’t runny or else you’ll end up with a mess on your grill.
Photo: Brian Leatart (Getty Images)
4. Grilled Steak
Pick your favorite cut of meat. But please don’t just put it on your grill with a little salt and pepper unless you’re into that sort of thing. First, marinate it overnight in soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and any herbs you enjoy (or use your own marinade). Throw it on the grill and watch your friends and family "ooh" and "aah" as they cut into it.
Photo: Cavan Images (Getty Images)
3. Chicken Skewers
Everyone (except for vegetarians and vegans) loves grilled chicken. This is especially true when it’s marinated and skewered. You can use your own recipe, but our favorite is Greek chicken kebabs with tzatziki sauce (you don’t have to make the sauce, you can buy it). Before assembling the kebabs, cut chicken into pieces and marinate in a sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, coriander, salt, and pepper. Build your kebabs with the chicken, plus red peppers, red onions, and zucchini.
Photo: thelinke (Getty Images)
2. Grilled Corn
Corn is the unsung hero of the grill. No grilled meal is complete without the proper sides. Obviously, peppers and zucchini covered in olive oil and salt and pepper cooked in foil works well. But corn is the true grilled champion. The key is removing the husks and the silk and putting the corn into salted water for ten minutes. Make a spiced butter by mixing together butter, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Slather it on the corn and then wrap each ear in foil before grilling for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
Photo: Anton Eine / EyeEm (Getty Images)
1. Grilled Burgers
The burger is truly the king of the grill. You might enjoy chicken, steak, pork, or even portabello mushrooms more, but there’s still no disputing who the top dog (or cow) is. Burgers can be extremely simple to make, and we have no problem with grabbing a few burgers at our local grocery store, throwing them on the grill, adding cheese, putting them on a bun, and chowing down. But we also love burgers stuffed with cheese. To make them, you just need a pound or two of ground beef. Roll out a few smaller burgers and work them into patties. Take two, add a small amount of your favorite cheese, and combine them into one mega burger. You won’t be sorry you did that.
Photo: Ali Majdfar (Getty Images)