Now that the Summer holiday is finally in full swing, what could be better than a good cookout in the backyard? With the meat sizzling on the grill, a little beer on the side, some joyful music, and the whole family present, hosting a cookout is one of
the best ways to celebrate the warm and relaxing days.
If you’re not quite yet familiar with what a cookout is, it’s simply a time where your friends and family come together to enjoy cooked food and cold dishes outdoors. Enjoying a good bite to eat with those you love most can help you create memories that
last a lifetime. Whether you’re interested in hosting or attending a cookout, following some time-tested tips and tricks can help you avoid the hassle and spend more time doing what you love most.
Let’s hit the music, turn up the grill, and get started cooking!
Cookout Prep Work
When planning out the variety of delicious foods that you’ll prepare, consider the guests! Determine whether you want them to contribute their own dishes in a potluck style or if you’ll be doing all the prep work. Be sure to note if there are any dietary
restrictions as well!
Pre-Season the Meats Beforehand
Nothing could be worse than biting into a hard and dry piece of unflavored meat at a cookout. Since the protein is usually the shining star of any cookout, you’ll want every bite to be a juicy and tender experience for your guests. The best way of doing
so is cleaning and seasoning your meat the night before the big event. By marinating the meat in the spices, the flavors will come out in their full power the next day.
Prepare the Vegetables
When hosting a cookout, the veggies are the sidekick to the proteins that bring a well-rounded blast of flavor for any palette. The key to making sure this part goes off without a hitch is to slice, dice, and cut up your veggies before the cookout starts.
However, instead of doing it the night before, you should keep it as close to eating time as possible to ensure that the veggies are crisp and fresh. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed at this point on all the prep work, get some helping hands involved!
It can make the experience of a cookout even more memorable.
Don’t Forget the Non-Food Supplies
While eating a cookout menu with hands alone might suffice for some, it can quickly turn into a messy scene. If you’re also looking to avoid doing a bunch of dishes, you’ll need plenty of non-food supplies such as tablecloths, paper plates, paper cups,
and plastic utensils. Pay a visit to your local general or dollar store to get these items in bulk for cheap!
Plan With Variety
A cookout provides the perfect time to experiment with a variety of foods. That means you don’t only have to brainstorm meat dishes! Salads are also great palette cleansers and fruits can capture the essence of cooling down on a hot Summer day. Plus,
who doesn’t love gorging on sweets after the main courses are done? These are elements to hosting a cookout that your guests and kids will no doubt enjoy.
The Cookout Menu
To get the gears in your head spinning, here’s an example cookout menu with foods that can be enjoyed by the whole family!
The Grilled Garden Veggie Pizza
With a wonderful array of vibrant and fresh veggies, this pizza will look as delicious and tasty as it is healthy! It works as a great appetizer and side for any meat dish. Here’s what you’ll need:
• Red onion
• Red pepper
• Yellow Summer squash
• Olive oil
• Salt & pepper
• Pizza crust
• Minced garlic
• Shredded mozzarella cheese
• Fresh basil
Here’s how to prepare this dish in as little as 30 minutes!
• Brush your veggies up with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.
• Lay them onto the grill, cover, and cook over medium heat until tender for 4-5 minutes for the onion and pepper, and 3-4 minutes for each side for the zucchini and squash.
• Cut your peppers into strips and separate the rings of the onions. Lay them onto the crust with garlic and cheese.
• Grill your pizza with medium heat until the bottom is a nice golden brown and the cheese is melted. This should take 5-7 minutes. Garnish with basil!
Sausage Wonton Cups
These wonton cups are the cookout take on this traditionally Chinese food! With a blend of meat and cheese in every bite, this dish also serves as a tasty appetizer and snack. You’ll need:
• Italian sausage links
• Tomato sauce
• Garlic powder
• Dried basil
• Wonton wrappers
• Your favorite cheese blend
Here’s how to assemble this delectable dish together!
• Grab a skillet and cook your sausage links over medium heat until the pink color fades away. Drain and then add in your tomato sauce, garlic powder, and basil before giving it a good stir.
• Then, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat; simmer, uncovered, until thickened in about 8-10 minutes.
• As that process is going on, layer your wonton wrappers into mini muffin cups with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees until they have a light brown color. This should take 8-9 minutes.
• Add your sausage mixture into the cups and sprinkle your cheese mix on top. Slide those wonton cups into the oven and bake until the cheese forms a nice, melted layer after 5-7 minutes.
Here comes the main star of the show! An all-American hamburger will certainly fill up all your guests and satiate their hunger with ease. Here’s how to prepare this classic American dish:
• Ground beef
• Chopped onion
• Chili sauce
• Worcestershire sauce
• American cheese slices
• Toasted hamburger buns
• Lettuce, tomato, bacon, & add-ons
Now you’ll put together the layers of the burger for an impactful bite.
• Mix the first 5 ingredients together and create 4 compact patties. Set them on a covered grill with an oiled rack over medium direct heat until your thermometer reads 160 degrees. As soon as the juices are clear after about
6 minutes on each side, get ready to take them off!
• During the last cooking minute, add 2 slices of American cheese to the top. Then, set your patties on buns and add your desired toppings.
Lastly, what’s a great cookout without some juicy Summer fruit on the side? Perhaps as the simplest dish of them all, just combine some of your favorite fruits into one bowl and mix around!
Hosting a cookout in the backyard is one of the best ways to pass the lazy Summer days away. After all, there’s almost nothing better than great company and even greater food. By following these simple tips and recipes, you’ll be on your way to having
the best cookout yet!