Summer is the perfect time for hosting barbeques and enjoying delicious grilled food with friends and family. However, it’s easy to fall into a routine of serving the same menu of burgers and hot dogs at every cookout. If you’re looking to switch up your summer BBQ menu and impress your guests with new and exciting dishes, we’ve got you covered! You can take your BBQ game to the next level using a variety of methods, from flavorful marinades to unique side dishes.
Experiment With New Ingredients
One of the best ways to switch up your summer BBQ menu is to try new ingredients and flavor combinations in your dishes. For example, try making a Korean-style marinade using soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger instead of using traditional BBQ sauce. You can also make your own BBQ sauce with honey, giving your dishes a subtle sweetness. Or try experimenting with different cuts of meat. Burgers, brats, and hot dogs are great, but tri-tip or flank steak can be a unique option to elevate your menu. You can also try grilling seafood like shrimp or scallops.
Elevate Classic Side Dishes
Classic BBQ sides like potato salad and coleslaw are always crowd-pleasers that deserve a spot on your picnic table. But you can take these dishes to the next level by adding unique twists. For instance, try adding grilled corn and cotija cheese to your potato salad, or adding fresh herbs and lemon juice to your coleslaw. You can also experiment with different grains like quinoa or farro to make hearty summer salads that serve as a nice deviation from the classic Cobb.
Try Out New Grilling Techniques
Try out new techniques like plank grilling or indirect heat cooking if you want to impress your guests with your grilling skills. Plank grilling involves placing a soaked wood plank on the grill and cooking your food on top for added smoky flavor. Indirect heat cooking involves only heating one side of the grill and cooking your food on the other side for a slower, more even cook.
Offer Vegetarian and Vegan Options
It’s important to have options for guests who don’t eat meat or animal products. You can marinate and grill certain vegetables, like eggplant, zucchini, and portobello mushrooms, just like meat. Use these ingredients to create an entree or add them to salads and sandwiches. Consider making vegetable skewers or serving plant-based burgers made from ingredients like black beans, chickpeas, or lentils for vegan guests. These dishes will be so delicious that even guests who don’t observe a vegetarian or vegan diet will enjoy you switching up your summer BBQ menu in this way.
Create Your Own Cocktails
Cracking open a cold beer is always enjoyable at a summer barbecue, but if you’re looking to quench a different type of thirst, consider creating signature cocktails. Use seasonal fruits like berries or watermelon and add fresh herbs like mint or basil to infuse the cocktails with even more flavor. You can also make large batches of drinks, like sangria or margaritas, and serve them in pitchers for easy refills. Don’t forget to offer non-alcoholic options like sparkling water or fruit-infused iced tea for guests who prefer not to drink.