Best Grilling Ideas and Recipes: What to Grill and How, All Summer Long - Backyard Boss
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Best Grilling Ideas and Recipes: What to Grill and How, All Summer Long

Barbecue season has arrived and you have big plans. Goodbye to only cracking open the old grill to produce a seemingly endless parade of burgers and hot dogs and hello to a season full of BBQ masterpieces. You want to smoke a turkey, grill vegetables wrapped in bacon, slow cook a brisket, and more.

To make sure that your plans don’t go up in flames, in this guide I have collected some of the best grilling ideas and recipes for you to use, and some tips on how to ensure that this BBQ season is your best yet!

What Can I Grill on the Grill?

red sweater on woman grilling bacon wrapped asparagus on gas grill outdoors

When it comes to food, the grilling possibilities are endless! Before deciding what you want to cook on your grill, consider how your grill type may affect your recipes.

What Can You Cook on a Gas Grill?

Gas grills are one of the most popular grills to own because they’re easy to use without any training, turning on with the switch of a knob and cooking food evenly and quickly.

They tend to not impart on food that same smoky flavor that charcoal grills and smokers do, however, their reliability makes them a great option for beginner grillers looking to take on challenging culinary projects. Because of the consistent medium-level, even heat that gas grills provide, they can be perfect for cooking a temperamental meat like salmon.

What Can I Cook on a Charcoal Grill?

Using charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal, charcoal grills slowly grill your food, adding an extra smoky flavor that cannot be beaten. They can be somewhat hard to get the hang of, but once you do, you will be able to make delicious flavor-infused meat, vegetables, and so on, quickly.

How To Turn Your Charcoal Grill Into a Smoker

Charcoal grills are a lot more versatile than most people assume them to be. No need to invest in a smoker, your inexpensive charcoal grill can actually, easily be turned onto one!

What You Will Need

  • Charcoal Grill
  • Aluminum foil
  • Charcoal Briquettes
  • Odorless Lighter Fluid
  • 1 Bag of Smoking Chips
  • Inexpensive Aluminum Pan
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Water/ Apple Juice
  • 2 Pounds of Meat
  • Meat Rub

bbq and potatoes in foil pan on table


  1. Allow your meat to thaw. Once it does, apply your rub, vigorously working it into the meat. Place the meat in a bag and let it sit for at least 5 hours in the fridge.
  2. The morning you plan to smoke your meat, soak your chips in water for at least 3 hours.
  3. Line your charcoal grill with aluminum foil, covering any air vents you can’t control, especially the ones on the bottom.
  4. Stack your charcoal briquettes on the bottom of the grill in a pyramid formation. Soak them with odorless lighter fluid.
  5. Light the charcoal on fire. Once you see that it is smoldering close the grill so it begins to burn down. Wait until grey ash is apparent on all the briquettes, which should take around 30 minutes.
  6. Add the water or apple juice to the pan. Place the pan at the bottom of the grill, with the briquettes spread around it. Layer your water-soaked chips on the charcoal and quickly place your meat above the pan.
  7. Keep your smoker around 250 F. Every 25 minutes check on your meat and add more chips, preferably using tongs through the front access so you don’t have to open the lid. If you don’t have front access, be quick about opening the grill and adding your chips.
  8. How long you have to cook your meat will depend on the type and thickness. Check with a thermometer to see if it’s cooked all the way through, and when it is, enjoy your delicious smoke-infused meat.

meat and veggie skewer kebab on electric grill indoors

What Can I Cook on an Electric Grill?

Electric grills are undeniably convenient, coming in easy-to-use compact forms that require nothing but a power outlet to function. They are great for food you want to cook indoors or outdoors, and are renowned for being hassle-free and mess-free. It should be noted that the food you cook on your electric grill will not have that smoky-grill-flavor, however, because of their design you have much more flexibility with what you can cook on them. You can cook anything from steak to pancakes on your electric grill, the only limit is your culinary creativity.

What Should a Beginner Smoke?

Smokers are excellent for foods that benefit from an infusion of smoky flavor, and slow, thorough cooking. Using indirect heat from smoke, they cook food at low temperatures. They are actually much easier to use than most people believe, so even for beginner smokers, there is an endless amount of recipes to try. Smoke chicken wings, a turkey, or even cheese!

How to Smoke Cheese

You haven’t lived if you haven’t tried smoked cheese. Using your smoker, you can easily smoke cheese, making it ten times more flavorful than it initially was.

Try this recipe if you dair-y!

What You Will Need

  • Quality Cheese
  • Smoking Wood
  • Smoker
  • Parchment Paper


  1. Smoke on a day with low temperatures, preferably in the evening so that the external climate does not elevate your smoker’s temperature too much.
  2. Add your wood to the firebox and allow it to burn down to embers.
  3. Add your cheese to the smoker when it reaches under 100 F, however, there is some wiggle room with that. Your cheese should be placed on the farthest side of the firebox, away from the heat. If the heat is too high, add a pan of ice water between the cheese and the firebox.
  4. Leave the cheese in the smoker for an hour or two, flipping it halfway through. It should keep its shape but sweat a little.
  5. Remove your cheese and place it on parchment paper allowing it to reach room temperature.
  6. Enjoy it immediately or wrap it loosely and store in the fridge for a couple of days. You can also vacuum seal it for storage over a long period of time.

What Are the Best Foods to Grill?

Some foods are just better grilled. Below are some recipes for great grilled grub you can easily make at home!


potatoes zucchini and corn on hot charcoal grill

Zucchini, eggplant, corn, onions—there are so many delicious vegetables you can roast on your grill. If you’re looking for a unique way to give veggies a smoky, char-grilled flavor, try cooking them in tinfoil on your grill.

Below is a recipe for Indian Spiced Potato and Egg Foil Packets that will change the way you think about cooking veggies.

What You Will Need

  • 4 cups of Golden Yellow Potatoes
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Curry Powder Seasoning with Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • Foil
  • 4 Eggs


  1. Preheat your grill to 400 F.
  2. Slice your potatoes.
  3. Add them to a bowl and toss with oil and seasonings. Once they are well mixed add them to a tinfoil packet, dividing the potatoes between 4.
  4. Grill for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes become tender.
  5. Crack an egg on top of them. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the yolks become firm.
  6. Place in a bowl and enjoy!

What Meats Are Good for Grilling?

grilled salmon on sauteed greens

All meats are good for grilling, you just need to know how to cook them! Below are some of our best grilled-meat recipes.


Fish can be tricky to grill because of how sensitive they are to uneven heating. Through using an electric grill, and following the instructions outlined below, you can grill a Perfect Salmon.

What You Will Need

  • Gas Grill
  • Propane
  • Salmon
  • Olive/ Grapeseed Oil
  • Seasoning of Choice
  • Cedar Plank


  1. Soak your cedar plank for at least an hour in warm water.
  2. Remove the salmon’s skin with a sharp fillet knife and peel it off the fish.
  3. Marinate your fish for 20 minutes before grilling it, using the oil and your seasoning of choice.
  4. In the meantime, preheat your grill to 450 F.
  5. Place your salmon on the plank close to the grill and cook for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Check regularly to make sure that the plank does not start burning on the edges.
  7. When your fish becomes flaky and slightly opaque, it’s done!


Don’t be a chicken, try this recipe for BBQ Chicken Drumsticks! They are extremely easy to make and absolutely delicious.

What You Will Need

  • Grill
  • Chicken
  • Olive Oil/ Grapeseed Oil
  • Seasoning/ BBQ Sauce


  1. Preheat your grill to 450 F.
  2. Rinse and pat your chicken dry.
  3. Season your chicken with dry seasonings.
  4. Before adding your chicken, brush oil onto the grill.
  5.  Place your chicken on the grill spacing it out and avoiding hotter cooking spots. You do not want your chicken to cook too fast.
  6. Cover the grill so it holds in heat.
  7. Monitor your chicken, turning it every 5 minutes and rotating its position on the grill. Always cover the grill again after flipping.
  8. Add BBQ sauce to one side and allow it to cook for 5 minutes. Then flip and coat the other side. In 20-30 minutes your heavenly BBQ chicken should be cooked.

hamburgers and lamb roast on hot charcoal grill on deck


You will not have beef with this incredible recipe for the Perfect, Juicy Burgers. Yes, of course, you have grilled burgers, but you have never grilled burgers like THESE.

What You Will Need

  • Grill
  • 2 Pounds of Ground Beef
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons of Bread Crumbs
  • Seasonings
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Toppings



  1. Preheat your grill to 400-450 F.
  2. Mix the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, and seasoning in a bowl, gently mixing them together, not overworking the meat.
  3. Once the seasoning is spread throughout add the Worcestershire sauce, mixing it evenly into the meat mixture.
  4.  Form the meat into patties, trying for 4 patties per pound, with patties that are an inch or so thick.
  5. Oil your grill and then place the patties on it, spacing them out.
  6. Flip the burgers halfway through cooking them. Do not press your burgers with the spatula. Ever.
  7. Add cheese and other toppings once you take them off the grill and enjoy!

What Can I Grill Aside From Burgers?

Spicy honey glazed chicken and sweet kebabs

Stuck in a burger rut? Moo-ve on, there is so much else you can use your grill for! Try an inventive recipe like Honey Sweet Potato Chicken Kebabs!

What You Will Need

  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • 1.5 lbs. of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • 7  12-inch Bamboo Skewers
Spice Mix:
  • 2 tsp. Garlic Salt
  • 2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • ¼ tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 6 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tsp. Cider Vinegar


  1. Add potato pieces to a saucepan filling it with enough water to cover their tops. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat and then cook for 5 minutes, partially covered until the potatoes are almost completely cooked
  2. Mix together the dry spice mix ingredients while in a different ball you mix together the wet ingredients.
  3. Add chicken to a bowl and add olive oil and half the spiced rub. Do the same thing to the potatoes and sweet onion chunks using olive oil and the rest of the spice rub.
  4. Add the chicken, potatoes, and onions to the skewers, which should be presoaked in water.
  5. Grill the skewers on medium/ high heat for 8 minutes turning them frequently. Brush with the honey glaze while turning.
  6. Remove from the heat and enjoy!

What Can I Grill for a Crowd?

The thing about being a grill master is that everyone is going to want to come to your BBQ’s which means you are going to be expected to cook A LOT of quality food.

Below is a recipe for a simple appetizer or side that will appease the masses. These Loaded Frozen Fries will change how you see frozen fries.

loaded fries with sour cream, bacon chives, cheese in a disposable box

What You Will Need

  • Bag of Frozen French Fries
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Chopped Green Onions
  • Sour Cream
  • Bacon Bits


  1. Place frozen fries in a large piece of tinfoil. Fold the edges so they are crumpled up around the sides.
  2. Cover the fries with another piece of tinfoil. Leave enough room at the top for steam.
  3. Grill on medium heat for 20-30 minutes with the lid down. Turn the foil packet halfway through grilling.
  4. Add cheese and grill for a few more minutes.
  5. Take off grill and add sour cream, onions, and bacon.
  6. Enjoy!

Grilling Tips

Always Keep Your Grill Clean

A clean grill is a happy grill, do not neglect taking care of your grill or it will come back to bite you through people not wanting to take bites of your food because they taste straight-up gross. Everything that you cook on your grill leaves behind residue which can impact the taste of the food that comes after, and how much time that food needs to cook. Not to mention, grills that are not cleaned regularly are more likely to breakdown. For the best-tasting food make sure you are using the best grill cleaners regularly, especially during barbecue season.

Cajun style grill foil packets

Use A Grill Cover

Another way to ensure that your grill stays safe is using a durable grill cover.

Most grills are for outdoor use and are therefore kept outside. However, they are not normally built to endure the elements. Buy a grill cover that is weather-resistant and easy to use. Not covering your grill is a costly mistake that will lead to you needing to replace parts of it, or even the whole grill, much more frequently.

Get Creative With Your Grilling

There are countless grilling recipes out there. Don’t just limit yourself to the normal hamburgers and hot dogs, go out of the ole firebox! Experiment with different fruits, veggies, meats, and cooking methods, using your grill as the versatile cooking machine it is.


With these pro tips and inventive recipes, you are now ready to take on this grilling season with your spatula held high and apron tied tightly. If you found this article helpful, be sure to share it, and let me know below what you decided to grill!