Hellooooo, cookout season! Gear up for summer cooking with these easy, delicious, must-try grill recipes. Bonus: these recipes are coming in hot, but they won't heat up your kitchen!

family grilling food, from Shelf Cooking

We can't think of one thing we don't love about grilling. The smells, the flavors, the fun, and the memories all bring a smile to our faces. And did we mention that grilling your food is healthier?! And it involves less cleanup. Yeah…sign. Us. Up!

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We've got recipes for meat, veggies, and even desserts that will get you fired up for grill season! Excited doesn't even begin to describe how we feel about this post, so why wait any longer? Sun's out, buns out! We're about to get all up in your grill.


grilling chicken and meats, from Shelf Cooking

Wondering what to do with that chicken that's nearing its shelf life? Those pork chops you don't really love? Well, meats taste amazing when you grill them! Try one of these main dish ideas:

  • Hamburgers – Sure, we bet you already thought about grilling burgers but check out this tip! Use your thumb to make an indentation in each patty, drop an ice cube in that little spot, cover it with meat, and then carry on. Your burgers will come out nice and JUICY!
  • Sausage – You can grill any kind of sausage! Throw some breakfast sausage on the grill and have breakfast for supper, or toss on some brats, grab your leftover hotdog buns, and go to town! You can even grill sausage to serve in pasta or soup.
  • Steak – If you find a killer deal on steaks, snag that meat and make it a steakhouse dinner night! Need to save some cash? Make several meals by dividing up that meat for fajitas, quesadillas, nachos, salads, burrito bowls, and more. A little steak goes a long way!
  • Pork Chops – Need advice for seasoning or cooking your chops? We wrote a love letter to perfect pork chops in this blog post!
  • Chicken Legs – Let's get saucy for a minute! Chicken legs are usually one of the cheapest cuts of meat you can buy. With a little bit of your favorite barbecue or buffalo sauce, they come out so tasty and crispy on the grill.
  • Chicken Tenders – Here's a healthier take on your kid's favorite dinner. Slice your chicken breasts or thighs into tenders, then marinade in Italian dressing for 4-6 hours. Grill for about 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Hot Dogs – Stock up when those dogs go on sale! Many grocery stores offer BOGO deals on hot dogs around summer holiday weekends. When you see them, rack up those deals and save some for later.

That just about covers the meat, but we'll mention one more thing! If you have leftover Thanksgiving turkey in the freezer, grilled turkey legs are everything! #JustSaying


grilled salmon with fresh herbs, from Shelf Cooking

Looking for a main dish that's on the lighter side? Try one of these foolproof seafood grill recipes:

  • Salmon – If you happen to have a cedar wood plank available, cook your salmon on it! If not, no worries. Just season that fish with a little oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, then pop it on the grill for around 12-15 minutes. Perfection!
  • Shrimp – Season your shrimp with some lemon, garlic, and butter (all to taste), then skewer them and cook on medium heat for around 5-8 minutes. Watch those shrimp, though! They cook quickly.
  • Whitefish – Whether you've got flounder, trout, tilapia, haddock, or mahi-mahi, you can grill it! We think grilled fish is the best fish. Keep the seasoning simple, and sprinkle on some citrus or soy sauce if you have it. Wrap it up in foil and grill for 10-15 minutes, depending on the fish's size.
  • Crab Legs – We know what you're thinking. Crab legs are out of the budget! Au contraire. Head to your local Farmer's market or fishery and look for the deals on the imperfect crabs. The ones missing a leg or two are often 50% off or more! Just place them on the grill as is and cook for around 15-minutes. That's it!
  • Oysters – Yes, you can grill oysters! It's way cheaper to make them at home than buy them at a fancy restaurant. If you're lucky enough to live near the coast, you can find them for super cheap! If not, you can order them online in season for as little as $1 each. Not bad for a little treat now and then! Just scrub them, then place them on the grill. They only take about 2-3 minutes to cook!

You can always serve up a seafood platter or seafood kabobs, too. Go ahead and mix and match whatever you've got! Pair cheaper fish with small amounts of the pricier stuff, and no one will even notice.


grilled Mexican street corn, from Shelf Cooking

The smoky flavor from a grill just makes vegetables taste better! (#Facts) There are probably a million and one grill recipes for veggies, but here are a few of our favorite go-to side dishes:

  • Mexican Street Corn – Shuck eight ears of corn, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine one cup of mayo with one cup of cheese (preferably cotija, but use what you have). Add in cilantro, lime juice, and zest, and chili pepper to taste. Roll the corn in the mixture, then grill for 10 minutes or until charred.
  • Squash Medley – Chop your squash or zucchini into rounds, season, then place in foil packets or a disposable baking tin. We like to add sliced onions to ours! Cook on the grill for around 15 minutes.
  • Veggie Kabobs – Gather up all those veggies you need to use and start skewering! There's no wrong way to build a veggie kabob. Tomatoes, peppers, and onions make great fillers. Place your kabobs directly on the grill or on top of some foil, then cook for around 15 minutes. Keep the lid closed!
  • Mushrooms – We LOVE marinated, grilled mushrooms. Slice them up and marinate them for an hour in a mixture of balsamic vinegar (1/4 cup), soy sauce (2 tablespoons), and a little salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. Pop them on the grill for around 5-10 minutes, and enjoy!
  • Grilled Carrots – If you've tried our roasted carrots recipe, you'll love grilled carrots! Just toss your carrots in melted butter, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Place directly on the grill and turn often, cooking for 7-8 minutes or until charred on all sides. YUM!

There are SO many other veggies you can grill up, too! Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus are all amazing on the grill. Just season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, or fresh herbs and let the grill do the rest.


grilled peaches with ice cream, from Shelf Cooking

What's a family meal without dessert?! Satisfy your sweet tooth with one of these grilled treats:

  • S'Mores Quesadillas – This is just how it sounds! Fill a tortilla with all the usual S'more's ingredients. Fold it up like a crunchwrap, then wrap it up in foil. Grill over medium heat for about eight minutes, and enjoy!
  • Fruit Kabobs – You know what to do! Instead of skewering veggies, reach from some sliced fruit. We suggest berries, pineapple, pears, or apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add some fresh herbs if you'd like. Grill over medium heat for just about 5-8 minutes.
  • Grilled Peaches – Make a batch of our creamy, dreamy homemade ice cream, and then slice some peaches in half and toss them on the grill for a few minutes! It's like a healthier take on the peach cobbler. By the way, those grilled peaches taste great in salads or drinks, too. Try making your sweet tea a little bit sweeter with a few grilled peaches!
  • Banana Boats – It doesn't get much easier than this! Split a banana lengthwise, then stuff it with your favorite sweet treats. We suggest peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, marshmallows, coconut, or a little caramel drizzle. When you're done stuffing it, wrap it foil and drop it on the grill over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. That's it!

So fun, right?! You'll be the talk of the town if you serve any of these sweet treats at your next cookout.

Well, there you go. You've got dozens of easy, yummy ideas to try, so you know what to do now. Fire up that girl!

What's your go-to grill recipe? Share the love and leave a comment below!

grilled fish and peaches, from Shelf Cooking

Looking for some sides to serve at that summer cookout?

Until we meat again — you go, grill!