Kick off this summer with our grill list

This summer is all about the cookouts, grilling get-togethers, and pool parties as we celebrate the beautiful weather and the abundance of human connection again.

Make sure you’re ready to host your next summer get-together with this savvy checklist. 

Appetizers:

Kick-off your summer cookout with some refreshing appetizers. Here’s a few that mix well with the summer heat as well as keep your guests’ wits about them while they get the drinks flowing. The best part is that these easy appetizers can be whipped up on your grill while you mingle with your guests in the beautiful outdoors. Here’s three super simple appetizers to make on your grill:

Grilled Shrimp:

Quick, light, and delicious, these grilled shrimps from Food Network take 10 minutes to cook up from start to finish and serve 4. 

What to Get:

  • 16 jumbo shrimp (deveined in shell, raw)
  • About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (for brushing)
  • Course salt and black pepper
  • 2 lemons (halved)

What to Do:

  1. Preheat the grill or grill pan over high heat.
  2. Butterfly the shrimp by slicing them almost through lengthwise, but leave the shell on the shrimp. (This keeps the shrimp tender while grilling it over such high heat.)
  3. Brush the shrimp with oil,  and season it with salt and pepper. 
  4. Grill it for 2 minutes on each side, until the shells are hot pink and the shrimp is opaque.
  5. Place the lemons on the grill at the last minute. (The heat will release the juice from the lemons.) 

To serve it, squeeze the grilled lemon wedges over the shrimp, and enjoy! 

Grilled Bruschetta:

This mouthwatering grilled bruschetta from Taste of Home embodies the fresh flavors of summer. It takes 30 minutes from start to finish and serves 16. 

What to Get:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 - 1/2 cups plum tomatoes (chopped and seeded)
  • 2 tablespoons shallot (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons plus 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 16 slices French baguette (1/2 inch thick)
  • Sea salt
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)

What to Do:

  1. Bring the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan, and cook it until the liquid is reduced to 3 tablespoons (8-10 minutes). Then, remove it from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, shallot, basil, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and garlic. Then, cover and refrigerate it until ready to serve. 
  3. Brush the remaining oil over both sides of the baguette slices.
  4. Grill them, uncovered, over medium heat, until they’re golden brown on brown on both sides. 

Top the toasts with the tomato mixture, drizzle them with the balsamic syrup, sprinkle them with sea salt and Parmesan, and enjoy! 

Grilled Mozzarella:

For all of the cheese lovers out there, try this two ingredient grilled mozzarella from Julie Blanner. It’s cheesy and easy, it’s divine, it takes 15 minutes from start to finish, and it serves 6. 

What to Get:

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 3 tablespoons preserves

What to Do:

  1. Soak a cedar plank in water for 30 minutes - 4 hours. (this will keep it from burning). 
  2. Preheat your grill to medium high.
  3. Place your cheese on the plank and add the preserves on top. Place the plank on top of the grate.
  4. Grill it for 10 minutes with the lid closed, or until it appears to almost burst at the sides.

Serve this delicious grilled cheese with crackers, flatbread, or thick tomato slices, and enjoy! 

Be Grill Ready:

Be on top of your game and grill-ready this summer. Here’s a reminder of everything from how to prep your grill and steaks to which kind of steaks are the best for your cookout. 

Picking out the Perfect Steak Tips:

Although there are many amazing, juicy, tender, and flavorful cuts of steak, when it comes to grilling, we recommend choosing a prime beef ribeye - a cut from the rib section of the cow and one of the most flavorsome pieces you can find (it’s also extremely marbled and tender). Check out our Gunslinger box which is 4 of our 22oz USDA Prime Bone-in Ribeyes.

Grilling and Steak Making Tips:

Sides:

When it’s hot out and you’re hungry, you need food and you need it fast. Checkout these sides that are grill-friendly, quick, and delicious. 

Beverage:

Keep things simple, but fun! Instead of over-complicating the menu, try having one specialty cocktail for your cookout. We recommend these watermelon mojitos from Maison de Cinq. Here’s how to make these superb summer cocktails in 5 minutes for 5-6 cocktails:

What to Get:

  • Roughly 10 sprigs of fresh mint (30-40 leaves)
  • 6 large slices of watermelon
  • 9 ounces of rum
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup*
  • Juice of 3 limes 
  • Watermelon spears and sprigs of mint (for garnishing)

*How to Make Simple Syrup:

In a small saucepan, boil equal parts sugar and water until the sugar dissolves (the suggested amount is 1 cup of each, leaving you with leftovers for future use). Be sure to let it cool before using it! 

What to Do:

  1. Chop the watermelon into large chunks, and remove any large seeds and the rind.
  2. Puree the fruit in a food processor until it’s smooth.
  3. Use a mortar and pestle to mash the mint leaves.
  4. Combine the mashed mint leaves, rum, simple syrup, 2 cups of pureed watermelon, and the lime juice, and stir to combine it.

Pour the mojito mix over glasses of ice, garnish each glass with a sprig of mint and a spear of watermelon, and enjoy!

Sweets:

To top it all off, try grilling a sweet summer treat. This easy-soaked rum grilled pineapple (with ice cream) from Gimme Some Oven is a must-try recipe. Light, fruity, grilled, and rum-filled - it doesn’t get better than this at a summer cookout. 20 minutes from start to finish, this baby makes 6-8 servings, depending on the hungry your guests are. 

What to Get:

  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus extra for dusting)
  • 1 pineapple, cored and cut into about 6-8 rings (choose desired thickness)
  • Cooking spray
  • Favorite vanilla ice cream 

What to Do:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the rum, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. 
  2. In a baking dish, lay out the pineapple rings and pour the rum mixture over them. Toss them to coat them, and let them soak for at least 15 minutes. (Flip the pineapple midway through.)
  3. When you’re ready to cook the pineapple, strain out the extra rum sauce from the pan of pineapple, and transfer it to a small saucepan. 
  4. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer it for 6-8 minutes (or until it’s reduced by half). Then, set it aside. 
  5. While the sauce is cooking, heat a grill pan or saute pan over medium heat until it’s hot. Lightly grease the pan with cooking spray, and add the pineapple slices in an even layer (you may need to do this in multiple batches). 
  6. Cook it for 1-2 minutes on each side until browned and grill marks appear. Transfer them to serving plates, and repeat this with the remaining pineapple.

Top each pineapple ring with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of rum sauce (dust the pineapple with extra cinnamon if desired). Enjoy! 

Conclusion:

Embrace your next cookout with the peace of mind that you’re now a pro at these.

If you’re planning your next cookout to be for the 4th of July, checkout Tips on Hosting an Epic Fourth of July Get Together.

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