15 Summer BBQ Food Ideas That’ll Rock Your Cookout Menu

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Today, we’re sharing 15 BBQ food ideas that’ll rock your summer menu!! From gourmet burgers and steaks to bbq chicken and pork, these easy barbecue recipes are perfect for your Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day parties.

titled collage for 15 BBQ ideas


One of the best ways to get outdoors and celebrate is with a big cookout on the grill!

This list of recipes is perfect for a summer cookout and a great way to celebrate foods with friends.

You’ll find some classic recipe options here, and a little bit of everything to choose from.

When it comes to easy BBQ ideas, you can’t go wrong with this list of recipes. Home cooks will agree that these are perfect for family picnics, too! 

Below are some of my favorite ways to feed my belly during my own backyard BBQ’s. Each one is an easy way to get a great meal idea! 

BBQ Food Ideas

Do you love gourmet burgers but don’t like paying the big dollars restaurants charge? 

We joke that I have developed enough gourmet burger recipes to start my own restaurant!

If you aren’t into burgers, we have you covered with plenty of other backyard BBQ ideas, too. 

Pork chops, BBQ chicken, shish kabobs, chicken skewers and so many more! We’ve got you covered with plenty of recipes for delicious foods to cook on the grill.

Don’t forget the cocktails!

If you have a smoker, we encourage you to fire it up and make a few of our fantastic smoker recipes as well!

Whether you make these quick and easy barbecue recipes for your family or for a big get-together, they are all sure to receive RAVE reviews.

Browse through the recipe descriptions below. When you find something that you’d like to make, click on the title.

You’ll be taken right to the post, where you can print, save, bookmark, or Pin the recipe to make later.

Creative recipes are a fun way to make BBQ weeknight dinners for the entire family to love. Don’t forget to have some tasty sauces to pair with the meat main dish as a great option to add different flavor! 


BBQ Menu Ideas for the Burger Lovers

These summer BBQ ideas are honestly great for dinner any time of the year. 

Find a favorite recipe, then take a portable grill to your 4th of July picnic, or even tailgate game day burgers with your friends.

PRO TIP: For perfectly juicy burgers, use your thumb to make a slight indentation in the center on one side of the burger patties. 

This prevents them from doming up in the center. The indentation will rise as your burger cooks.

This is our #1 favorite grilled burger, hands down!! The juicy beef patties are piled high with smoky bacon, bbq sauce, AND a beer cheese sauce that you’ll flip your lid over!!


For the flavor of spicy buffalo wings without the mess, this recipe can’t be beat!! 

We recommend serving the burger on a soft homemade pretzel bun with a side of carrots, celery, and blue cheese.

bacon breakfast burger

These breakfast burgers are a fantastic barbecue idea for a weekend brunch — way better than a traditional bacon and eggs breakfast!!!


These burgers have thick slices of smoky bacon and bbq sauce, plus the addition of dark beer and caramelized onions. Truly one of the best summer BBQ ideas ever!!

wide shot of a muffaletta burger

Olive salad is piled high on a toasted Ciabatta bun, then topped with a scrumptious burger and layers of Italian meats and cheeses. 

What do you call it? Besides DELICIOUS…

Need a few side dish bbq menu ideas to serve with your burgers? Keep the grill burning for some roasted corn on the cobgrilled zucchini, or grilled sweet potato fries!

grilled pizza with veggies

Easy Barbecue Recipes for Lunch

If you don’t want a full blown dinner, but you have a craving to grill outdoors, make one of these light grilled bites.

Both tempting and tasty, grilled sandwiches, sliders, and grilled skewers are the perfect backyard bbq ideas for lunch or a weekend brunch!

bourbon bbq chicken, close up

BBQ chicken skewers are tender, juicy, and easy to throw together at the last minute. Create mouthwatering flavor with just a few ingredients!


Kabobs are such a simple way to serve your favorite grilled meats during the summer, and ranch marinated chicken is so flipping delicious with the addition of grilled flavor!!


One of many BBQ food ideas proving that grilled pineapple isn’t reserved solely as a pizza topping — it brings a tangy sweet flavor to grilled beef, too! 

These shish kabobs are even better with pineapple barbecue sauce for dipping!

Speaking of pizza, there is no better BBQ food than grilled pizza! This one features bits of juicy chicken and fantastic southwest flavors!

close up of summer sausage sliders

Sliders are the perfect grilling recipe to create a light bite for lunch or game day food. Even better, they are lightning quick to grill on the BBQ — no more waiting for lunch!

grilled chicken with limes

Summer BBQ Ideas for Dinner 

Whether you’ve been playing hard all day at the beach or just lounging around poolside, these BBQ food ideas will feed your family and friends well.

Even better, they’ll give you the fuel to go ahead and keep running for another couple of hours!

beef prime roast cooked rare

With a gorgeous crust and tender, melt-in-your-mouth bites, not too many dishes can compete with a prime rib that’s grilled to perfection! 

This grilled steak recipe is perfect for a Father’s Day meal or any Patriotic cookout!!

Don’t be intimidated about grilled steaks… they require little prep and a watchful eye. Other than that, they are one of the easiest barbecue recipes to make!

jack daniel's pork chops on a white plate

Bone-in pork chops marinated with a kicked up Jack Daniels marinade are the best of the best when it comes to easy and tasty BBQ menu ideas! Need we say more?

Tequila, lime, and orange all come together to create the best ever Margarita Chicken. This is one easy grilling recipe you have to try!

You know ribs are the ultimate BBQ food ideas, right? I mean, what could be better than juicy pork melting in your mouth? 

Maybe licking sticky sweet bourbon barbecue sauce from your fingers?

What are the best BBQ recipes for summer cooking?

There are so many options! Hot dogs, chicken recipes, veggie kabobs, BBQ ribs – you name it! Finding recipes for the whole family to love for summer barbecues isn’t hard to do!  

What are the most popular side dishes for BBQs?

You can’t go wrong with a classic potato salad. That being said, pasta salad is also an easy recipe – and a popular one!

If you want other options, macaroni salad, sweet potatoes, juicy ears of corn, broccoli salad, and any cold salads are always a hit as well. 

Any type of side dish that pairs with smoky flavor and meat dishes is always a hit.

The best part? You can make delicious sides for your next barbecue that feed larger groups and have some leftover to enjoy! 

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.

 Don’t miss a thing! Follow us on
Facebook | Twitter Pinterest | Instagram

Originally published October 2012, updated and republished April 2024

Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.

The Simple Kitchen cookbook affiliate linked banner

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *