As the climate changes, often so does your palette. With warmer temperatures certain foods just seem to taste even more delicious — like ripe, juicy stone fruit, crisp green salad, and pretty much anything kissed by the grill. As for the latter, it also makes for a great excuse to get outside for an al fresco dining experience (which is especially nice if you've been cooped up indoors). Need some easy outdoor grilling ideas for your next barbecue? Turns out you don't have to be a master chef to tackle some pretty impressive dishes.
Maybe you're planning a socially distant outdoor dinner party or celebrating upcoming Father's Day by relaxing on the patio or gathering around the grill. But no matter the occasion (dinner for one included) there's no reason to stick to basic barbecue staples like ribs and potato salad if you're craving something different for a change. The beauty of barbecuing is that the grill offers plenty of flavor, so you can keep dishes relatively simple while still getting creative. And if you're not sure where to start, just check out some suggestions by industry pros. Ahead, find seven foolproof grilled dishes that you can totally tackle — even if you're far from a grill master.
Easy Outdoor Grilling Ideas: Grilled Pork & Peaches
According to Chef Daniel Cutler of Los Angeles' Ronan, you can't beat the pairing of grilled pork and peaches. “By grilling stone fruit like peaches, you’ll release the sweetness and caramelize the fruit which pairs perfectly with a charred pork chop," he says. "We serve ours with a salsa verde to complement the flavors."
Easy Outdoor Grilling Ideas: Grilled Carrots With Spiced Yogurt
Culter also adds a little oomph to side dishes with a little char and the right accompaniments, as is the case with his grilled carrots. “We have a dish on the menu that people love which pairs carrots with honeycomb and a spiced yoghurt," he explains. "It’s easy to recreate at home and by grilling your carrots you’ll get an elevated flavor to balance the dish."
Easy Outdoor Grilling Ideas: Grilled Squid With Pesto & Potatoes
Want to feel transported to the Amalfi coast? Try this simple but totally satisfying combination. “Summer just lends itself to the grill and there’s nothing I love more than grilled squid, cuttlefish or octopus and giving it a good char," says chef Stephen Kalt of Spartina in Los Angeles. "By pairing the dish with a bright pesto and fingerling potatoes (also grilled) you get a delicious combination that will feel like you’re on the Mediterranean coast."
Easy Outdoor Grilling Ideas: Grilled Avocado With Ricotta Salata
Kalt also adds the kiss of the grill for an extra layer of flavor in an unexpected veggie dish: Grilled avocado filled with salty cheese and topped with lemon and Calabrian chilies. "The combination of flavors is everything you want on your palate," he says. "A surefire win everyone will love!"
Easy Outdoor Grilling Ideas: Grilled Flatbread
Chef Brian Bornemann of Employees Only loves to grill flatbread, which can be customized with any number of veggies, meats, and sauces. "At EO we serve a similar dish in the form of a pita with our roast chicken and an agradolce and fermented chili sauce to allow guests to create their own ‘shawarma’," he says.
Easy Outdoor Grilling Ideas: Grilled Seafood Platter
A grilled seafood platter always feels indulgent and celebratory, but it's also relatively simple to put together. And Chef Dennis Berardo of Bourbon Steak offers a twist to make yours extra special. "Instead of serving them cold as you usually see, we serve a platter of grilled oysters, shrimp, crab and lobster with grilled citrus," he says. "It's perfect for a big group."
Easy Outdoor Grilling Ideas: Veggie BBQ
Don't eat meat? No problem. Follow the lead of Chef Sonya Cote of Austin's Eden East and create your own "FarmBQ." The restaurant's version combines smoked and fresh vegetables (beets, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, fennel, and romanesco, but you can use whatever's seasonal and available) with chèvre, molasses, and a pecan romesco sauce.