Follow this easy outdoor party checklist to make sure your next cookout goes off without a hitch.
Backyard cookouts are a staple for summer, filled with cool drinks, big laughs and plenty of delicious food that just tastes better in the backyard. Leading up to your party, space out tasks and prep food ahead of time so you can take it easy on the day of! And if you’re worried about putting it together, we’ve got this handy outdoor party checklist so you’ll know if you’ve got everything covered.
Make the sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce a few days before your cookout so the flavors meld together. If you don’t have a basting brush, slather on the sauce with a few sprigs of rosemary. Go to Recipe
Made with brown sugar, ketchup and rosemary, the glaze is just right for these grilled pork chops. Make sure to let the meat stand for a few minutes after coming off the grill to let the juices redistribute.
You always want to cook a pork butt, also known as pork shoulder, low and slow so the meat has time to become fall-apart tender. While it doesn’t take too much time to prepare the pork, plan on a long cooking time. You won’t regret the results!
This spicy, deep-brown sauce clings to everything, from chicken legs to pork chops. Make extra and store it for later. Better yet: Give some to friends or as party favors when your guests leave the cookout.
When you don’t have time for a whole grill routine but crave the taste of barbecue, make these easy and quick sandwiches with pre-cooked chicken and a really great homemade sauce. Plus, you can make extra and freeze for another time.
Look for well-marbled country-style pork ribs at your grocery store or butcher; they stay beautifully moist during this long cook time. And make a big batch of the dry rub to keep handy for future grilling nights. It’s great on pork, beef and chicken!
Burgers are the quintessential cookout food, and these will be the hit of any backyard barbecue. The secret: A small amount of quick-cooking oats and an egg will help bulk up and keep those beef patties from crumbling on the grill. Baste them with barbecue sauce to take them to a whole new level.
This is one of those types of steak that’s sometimes overlooked. It's good for marinating—like with the tangy marinade in this recipe—and grills quickly over high heat. Make sure to slice against the grain!
There is nothing beer can’t do: Guinness stout and a few smoky chipotle peppers give this sauce some pop. Grill the ribs over indirect heat and then put them right over the fire for some caramelization.
North Carolina is known for its vinegar-based barbecue sauce. This recipe uses two different vinegars, and it doesn’t disappoint. Here’s everything you need to know about other regional barbecue sauces.
This dip is the perfect appetizer for cookouts, picnics and camping (even backyard camping). Layer cream cheese, chili and cheese in a disposable aluminum pan and slip on the grill for extra smoky flavor.
To make these tacos, grill flank, skirt or sirloin steak along with red onions, then toss in a delicious marinade after everything is sliced, and top with blue cheese. Wrap the tortillas in foil and steam on the grill while the steak rests.
When making skewers, keep the proteins and vegetables on separate sticks so they can cook more evenly. And reserve some of the light teriyaki marinade for drizzling after everything comes off the grill.
Everything for this meal can be made on the grill, making cleanup a breeze. The sausages have a good snap, and the vegetables have just enough char to match their natural sweetness. You can easily increase or decrease the ingredients according to how many people you’re feeding.
A true smoked brisket takes a few days to prepare and hours smoked over wood to perfect. But it’s always so worth it! The meat gets meltingly tender, just what you want for sandwiches and a side of coleslaw.
Made with pantry staples like ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar, you can have a sweet and spicy Texas-style barbecue sauce in minutes. It’s perfect for all proteins, including beef, pork and chicken.
Instead of the usual barbecue sauce, blend peaches, soy sauce, brown sugar and honey for this sweet and spicy glaze. Start basting when the ribs have started caramelizing over the fire, then really add it on right before serving.
Horseradish adds such a great peppery kick to barbecue sauce, and it’s a surprisingly good pairing with apricot preserves and honey. You can roast them ahead of time and finish on the grill to save time.
Coffee adds so much depth to this sauce, and harissa and cayenne bring the heat. It’s perfect for steak especially. If you don’t have adobo seasoning on hand, it’s easy to make with spices you have in your cupboard.
My family enjoys this dessert pizza recipe anytime of the year, but it's especially refreshing during the hot months. You can use whatever fruits are in season. —Ida Ruth Wenger, Harrisonburg, Virginia
I often create salads for summer using a variety of healthy, filling grains. This version with tender couscous is amped up by the bright flavors of oranges, cranberries, basil and a touch of fennel. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
This pulled pork is tender and has a fabulous spice rub on it. It is my sweetie's favorite meal, and I love that it is so easy. What a fantastic way to warm up a chilly afternoon. Add more or less salt to taste if you'd like. —Katie Citrowske, Bozeman, Montana
I learned how to make panzanella from my friend's grandmother. Once I discovered how to make the perfect vinaigrette, it became a dish I crave during the summer. It's also a great way to use day-old bread and your garden's bounty of zucchini. —Felicity Wolf, Kansas City, Missouri
These delicious ice pops can also be made with raspberries or blackberries. The rosemary sprig and lemon zest bring another layer of flavor. The pops are quick, easy, kid-friendly and freezable. —Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois
It's the combination of beef stew meat and tender pork that keeps friends and family asking for these tangy sandwiches. Add a little lettuce and tomato for a crisp contrast. —Corbin Detgen, Buchanan, Michigan
This Sunday dinner staple is first fried and then baked to a crispy golden brown. Well seasoned with oregano and sage, this classic is sure to satisfy diners at church potlucks or late-summer picnics. I love fixing it for family and friends. —Donna Kuhaupt, Slinger, Wisconsin
Nothing is better than having a sauce with the perfect slather consistency. Here's one that will ensure a lip-smacking feast. Go ahead and make the sauce up to a week ahead for an easier grilling experience. —Caitlin Hawes, Westwood, Massachusetts
My sister and I spent a week each summer with our Aunt Frances, who always had this thirst-quenching lemonade in a stoneware crock in her refrigerator. It makes a refreshing drink after a hot day of running around. —Debbie Reinhart, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
They’ll be standing in line for this saucy bean recipe full of campfire flavor. A variation on colorful calico beans, it'll make a delightful side dish with many of your favorite entrees. —Lynne German, Cumming, Georgia
Family and friends say this patriotic pie is better than a local favorite from one of our best neighborhood restaurants. Sometimes, I switch things up and use gooseberries for half of the blueberries. —Nancy Barker, Silverton, Oregon
I lived in Florida for a while and loved the pork I ate there, so I started making it for myself. The flavorful meat makes amazing Cuban sandwiches, but you can also use it in traditional pulled pork sandwiches or tacos. —Lacie Griffin, Austin, Texas
I was planning a party and thought it might be fun to try a different kind of avocado salsa. This recipe was an absolute success. Scoop it up with chips, spoon it over chicken or steak, or eat it on its own! —Susan Vandermeer, Ogden, Utah
These steak kabobs not only satisfy my love of outdoor cooking, they feature a mouthwatering marinade, too. It's terrific with chicken and pork, but I prefer it with beef because it tenderizes remarkably well. —Christi Ross, Guthrie, Texas
Bring on the red, white and blue with these creative cupcakes, perfect for the Fourth of July, Memorial Day or any favorite occasion. With some delicious and colorful frosting and a careful arrangement, your sweet display will be a patriotic nod to our great American flag. —Rebecca Wetherbee, Marion, Ohio
My famous chicken salad arrives at the party chilled in a plastic container. When it’s time to set out the food, I stir in the pecans and assemble the sandwiches. They’re a hit at buffet-style potlucks. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
A friend and I often visit a local restaurant for pie and coffee. When they stopped carrying our favorite lemon supreme pie, I got busy in the kitchen and created this version, which we think tastes even better! The combination of the cream cheese and tart lemon is wonderful. —Jana Beckman, Wamego, Kansas
Frozen raspberries lend fruity flavor and lovely color to this pretty iced tea that's good throughout the year. The recipe calls for just a few common ingredients and offers make-ahead convenience. —Lois McGrady, Hillsville, Virginia
These delectable wings are so easy to make, and they offer year-round versatility, from summer cookouts to autumn tailgates. My husband likes them so much he'll stand out in the snow to grill them! —Lisa Linville, Randolph, Nebraska
This recipe is my version of the peanut slaw I love at Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, a popular restaurant chain in California. I think it’s a pretty close match! —Elaine Hoffmann, Santa Ana, California
This big sandwich, inspired by one I tried at a New York deli, is a favorite with our football-watching crowd. Made ahead, it's easily carted to any gathering. Kids and adults alike say it's super. —Marion Lowery, Medford, Oregon
A healthy and refreshing appetizer, I enjoy bruschetta anytime of year. For serving guests, I like to slice the garlic instead of chopping it for both beauty and flavor infusion. This is also a simple make-ahead dish: You can mix it up, cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.—Gina Bergamino, Chanhassen, Minnesota
Is there a place better than Texas to find a fantastic barbecue sauce? That’s where this one is from—it’s my father-in-law’s own recipe. We have served it at many family reunions and think it’s the best! —Bobbie Morgan, Woodstock, Georgia
An American favorite, hot dogs, turn into a fun treat that's great for a laid-back party. They get three special treatments in this recipe: Chicago-style, Bavarian and south of the border. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
These juicy veggie patties have major flavor with cumin, garlic and a little chili powder. They hold their own against any veggie burger you‘d buy at the supermarket. —Marguerite Shaeffer, Sewell, New Jersey
I threw this dessert together when I needed something quick to take to my in-laws’. Because it’s beautiful, everyone thinks it requires a lot of effort. It’s easy. And the recipe makes a lot, making this perfect for potlucks and large gatherings. —Kristi Judkins, Morrison, Tennessee
I got this grilled chicken recipe from a friend while living in Hawaii. It sizzles with the flavors of brown sugar, ginger and soy sauce. Huli means "turn" in Hawaiian. This sweet and savory glaze is fantastic on pork chops, too. —Sharon Boling, San Diego, California
Shrimp, mango and pineapple on skewers make a sunny presentation at parties. To boost flavors, we use a coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro marinade. —Mary Marlowe Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina
I’m always looking for fun ways to use the fresh veggies that come in my Community Supported Agriculture box, and this summer orzo salad is one of my favorite creations. I like to improvise with whatever I have on hand, so feel free to do the same here! —Shayna Marmar, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania