Our Best Grilling Recipes for July 4th
When it comes to grilling, there's no reason to stop at the main course. Protein isn't all that shines with a little char. Cook the entire meal on the grates if you want to. Grill your vegetables and fruits, your appetizers and desserts. Check out our best recipes for grilled everything—steaks, chicken, seafood, vegetables, fruit, and even a few sweets that will please the entire crowd.
Grilled Wings with Pineapple-Ginger Glaze
Not to brag, but these wings are incredible. The marinade is nice and the char from the grill is perfect. These wings have some heat to them, but not too much. Wings often come in one piece, but don’t fret: Cutting whole wings is easy, just make sure you cut through the joints.
Umami Grilled Leg of Lamb
This impressive main is very tender and loaded with dynamic flavor. The doneness of the lamb varies depending on what part of the meat you eat from, making it perfect for a crowd with different preferences. Most grocery stores carry deboned leg of lamb in spring, but you can also ask your butcher to cut the lamb bone out of the leg and to butterfly it. If the meat is thicker than 1 inch anywhere, cut it down to size or cook it longer. Know your grill and make sure to use a thermometer.
Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Dates with Brie
These yummy little bites are not your normal appetizer. Make sure to use large dates, which are much easier to handle and fill than small ones, and center cut bacon—thick cut bacon will take too long to cook. If a date splits while you’re filling it, just press it back together. These are best warm, right off the grill, but are still good at room temperature.
Grilled Radishes with Feta and Thyme
Cooked radish is often overlooked, but it works really well and combining it with fresh radish gives you the best of both worlds. These are easy to make and a little different than the normal grilled fare, which makes them fun., especially when paired with grilled meats You can use any type of radish, but the large ones will be easier to grill—for smaller radishes, use a grill basket. You’ll want the butter to be warm when you make the dressing, so don’t make it too early or warm it up again before drizzling it over the radishes.
Grilled Tofu with Peanut Sauce
This grilled tofu is super tasty and would satisfy vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Grilling tofu gives the exterior a nice char without altering the taste, while the sauce boasts some seriously good flavor. Dusting on a little brown sugar gives the perfect amount of sweetness. The peanut sauce can be made ahead of time and keeps in the fridge for a week.
Grilled Garlic Knots
You can’t beat a garlic and butter roll, especially one that has been grilled. The cheese and parsley give them a nice Fazoli’s feel, while the charred bread adds extra flavor. Plus, they’re a cinch to grill. Prepared pizza dough can easily be found in the deli section of major grocery stores, but you can even buy it directly from a pizza shop if you ask.
The Best Grilled Ribs
When you're in the mood to grill ribs, you're most likely looking for a magically meaty experience—and trust us, there's a reason we call these the best. The texture of these smokey beauties is everything you want. Grilling your ribs over an indirect heat gives them a crispy exterior bark, while the meat stays tender, but not completely falling-off-the-bone tender—you’re left with the perfect amount of chew. Baby back ribs are readily available at most any supermarket; when shopping, look for the smaller racks as these tend to have more tender meat.
Grilled Pizza with Summer Veggies and Smoked Chicken
Make a grilled pizza just once, and you will fall in love with the ease and versatility of this easy dinner choice. Whether you have leftover baked chicken, a little bit of last night’s shredded bbq pork, or a surplus of garden vegetables, with a little imagination you can create a fabulous grilled pizza. Think outside the box to combine your favorite herbs, cheeses and fresh fruit into a one-of-a-kind grilled pizza.
Spicy Grilled Corn Salad
Elote, Mexican-style street corn, inspired this tangy, smoky, slightly creamy side dish. Three jalapeños give this salad a real kick; make it milder by substituting mini sweet peppers. Serve this salad by itself at a cookout or alongside grilled flank steak and warm tortillas for an easy taco night.
Brined Grilled Chicken with Dipping Sauces
We love the smoky flavor of grilled wings, but we also like wings that are tender and juicy. The brine, made with herbs, garlic, brown sugar, and chiles, adds tons of flavor and keeps the wings from drying out on the grill. And the trio of sauces gives everyone plenty of options to choose from. We recommend using drumettes because they are nice and meaty and easier to pick up and eat.
Grilled Banana Split
This is a fun mashup between banana pudding and a sundae. You could even get the kids involved with this. Grilling the banana adds a little flavor, while charring the vanilla wafers makes for an interesting texture—together, it’s delicious. Banana pudding ice cream pulls everything together, so it’s definitely worth buying.
Basic Grilled Flank Steak
An easy marinade gives this flank steak a robust flavor--yet the seasonings are subtle enough that leftovers work in a variety of applications. Embellish with a cilantro sprig garnish.
Whole Grilled Fish
Grilling a whole fish is a lot less intimidating than it seems. The key to preparing this whole fish is scoring (making incisions through the skin and flesh to take out the guesswork) deep cuts for quick and even cooking.
Grilled Apple Pie a la Mode
Whether it’s in the backyard or around a campfire, this easy, on-the-spot recipe has all the elements of a perfect apple pie. Make sure to use apples that are the same size so they’ll cook at the same rate. The ice cream will melt quickly, so put it on the apples right as you serve them.
Grilled Pork Meatball Kebabs
Gochujang, a Korean chile sauce, adds heat and a touch of sweetness to these meatballs. Serve the cooked skewers atop small lettuce leaves for a pretty presentation that also doubles as a wrap. Gochujang can be found at many grocery stores (we recommend Bibigo Gochujang Sauce), but you can also substitute 2 Tbsp. sriracha chile sauce and increase the sugar to 2 tsp.
Harissa Grilled Chicken Skewers
These skewers get a nice, long marinating time due to the low amount of lemon juice. If your marinade is loaded with vinegar or citrus, go for 30 minutes to an hour at most to ensure the best texture.
Smoky Grilled Corn
Seasoned with classic bold barbecue flavor, this grilled corn will be a home run at your next backyard barbecue. Combined with the charred goodness from the grill, the trifecta of chili powder, cumin, and paprika create a spicy, smoky crust that makes this side irresistible. If you’ve never grilled corn before, don’t be alarmed by the pops. Just be sure to turn the ears occasionally to ensure nice, even cooking. Hit it with a squeeze of lime for extra flavor.
Grilled Hanger Steak with Zucchini Salsa
We love this low-cost cut for its big, beefy flavor, but feel free to substitute flank or skirt steak in a pinch. Slice medium-rare steak against the grain for melt-in-your-mouth bites. Tuck leftovers into a whole-wheat tortilla for a tasty lunch.
Perfect Grilled Burgers
Delightfully charred, juicy, and full of nuance, these burgers are the only ones you will ever want to make. That’s why we named them Perfect. Adding the seasoning into the ground beef makes a monumental different, so don't skip this step. You'll never want a plain patty ever again.
Grilled Steak and Elote Tacos
These tacos are a perfect blend of Mexican street corn (also called elote) and quick-cooking skirt steak. If you have frozen corn, blister the kernels in a skillet over high heat first. Gina Homolka is the founder of skinnytaste.com and @skinnytaste.
Grilled Caesar Salad With Sourdough Breadcrumbs
Greek yogurt and sourdough bread lend a natural dose of probiotics to our riff on Caesar salad. Alliums such as garlic offer prebiotic fuel to help the good bugs thrive. (This is the difference between pre- and probiotic foods.) Keep the sourdough croutons whole if you don’t want to dirty the food processor, or you can lightly crush them in a ziplock bag.
Grilled Rainbow Trout with Chimichurri
The trout has a nice smoky flavor that is cut by the freshness and acidity of the chimichurri. For a less smoky flavor, seek out thinner fillets (which will take less time to cook). Don't forget to let the seasoned fish rest while the grill preheats. It'll give the fish more structural integrity.
Grilled Spice-Rubbed Pork Chops with Scallion-Lime Rice
Liven up boneless pork chops with one of our fantastically flavorful spice rubs. Boneless pork chops make a great weeknight meal because they cook in minutes on the grill. (The spice rubs also work well with grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.) Add a hearty whole grain side dish and you’ve got a fast and filling summery meal for the whole family.
Grilled Octopus with Korean Barbecue Sauce and Baby Bok Choy Slaw
If you’ve ever ordered a delightfully meaty and tender, charred octopus dish at a restaurant and immediately thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish I could make this kind of thing at home,” well—you can. And this recipe is going to light the way. Whether you’re looking to dazzle your company at your next dinner party or wanting to make something extra special for a date night in, this grilled octopus dish is definitely worth stepping out of your cooking comfort zone for. As intimidating as it may seem, preparing octopus at home is easier than you’d think. Octopus can be found at specialty grocery stores (such as Whole Foods), fish markets, and Asian or international markets. The key to preparing this wow-worthy seafood at home is giving the meat a preliminary cook (no matter how you intend to proceed in preparing it) in order to tenderize the meat. In this recipe, we first simmer the octopus in a flavorful, aromatic-filled cooking liquid and finish then finish the cooking on the grill to develop bold, caramelized flavor and crispy char. We especially love how this preparation for octopus is so rich in flavor, but not at all heavy. Served alongside a vibrant Baby Bok Choy Slaw, this dish is as elegant as it is comforting.
Grilled Bone-In Chicken Thighs
How can such a simple recipe for grilled chicken thighs taste so flavorful and satisfying? Once you sink your teeth into the super-crispy skin and find rich, tasty dark meat waiting underneath, you’ll understand. This low and slow cooking method yields tender, succulent meat with carefully developed flavors. Make grilled chicken thighs the simple way, because juicy, decadent chicken doesn’t have to be so complicated.
Grilled Oysters with Garlic Butter
The briny flavors of the oysters are further enhanced with the super-savory compound butter used in this recipe. Throwing the element of smokiness from the grill, and you’ve got yourself a little bite of heaven. Oysters are incredibly quick cooking, so allowing them to warm gently as the butter melts over the meat is the way to go.
Grilled Salmon with Orange-Soy Glaze
While the grill is obviously the cooking method for casual, outdoor-centered meals and gatherings, don’t forget that you can still bring a touch of sit-down-dinner-type sophistication to the patio table too. This buttery, smoky, and gloriously glaze-y salmon does just that. We call for individual fillets in this recipe, but you could also opt for going with a whole side of salmon (of roughly equivalent weight) for a truly impressive presentation.
Herb-Grilled Summer Squash
Grilled vegetables are as essential a part of the outdoor, open-flame cooking experience as any cut of meat. And few vegetables say summer quite like zucchini and yellow summer squash. Dressed in olive oil and an abundance of fresh herbs, this versatile grilled vegetable recipe is perfect for just about any occasion.
Grilled New York Strip Steaks
For the absolute best of a classic, everything-you-expect grilled steak experience, you simply can’t beat the New York strip steak. Remember that no matter how you’re cooking a steak, success starts at the supermarket. When shopping, look for steaks that have a nice, even marbling of fat throughout, avoiding those that have a thick ribbon of fat going down the center. Even if it feels like an extraneous step, don’t skip out on making the garlic butter and tying up a bundle of herbs to serve as your basting brush. Trust us, the results are more than worth the minimal time doing both will require. Both will boost the flavor of your steak like you wouldn't believe.
Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon-Cherry BBQ Sauce
This fruity, boozy take on barbecue has all the characteristics of your favorite sauce--deep caramel notes, a savory backbone, and a pleasant vinegar tang. You can sub sweet cherries for sour, adjusting the amount of honey and vinegar to taste. For a shortcut, start with 1 cup purchased unsweetened cherry juice.
Hot-Sweet Grilled Watermelon
If you haven't tried it yet, go ahead and put some watermelon on the grill. The heat and char nicely highlight the fruit's juices, providing an explosion of flavor when partnered with seasoning. Tim Love likes to use guajillo chile powder here, which provides moderate heat. Cayenne or chipotle powder would also work.
Grilled Pound Cake with Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup
Pound cake chars up really nicely on the grill and gets even grill marks. Don’t skip the syrup, because it’s packed with flavor. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons will work just fine. The simple syrup will hold up for two weeks, so you can definitely make it ahead of time—or make extra and save it for later.
Grilled Pork Chops with Shallot Butter
This foolproof recipe for grilled pork chops is made all the more delicious with a rich and savory compound butter, loaded with shallots and fragrant lemon zest. If made ahead, allow the butter to come to room temperature before spreading it over the pork. You can also combine the oil and herbs used to coat the grilled pork chops a couple of hours in advance.
Grilled Lamb Chops with Plums and Hazelnut Gremolata
Consider this your invitation to pair lamb with grilled fruit. The sweetness of the plums offsets the fattiness and saltiness of the lamb, while the hazelnut gremolata brings in earthiness and a little brightness. This is a super easy way to cook lamb for a crowd, so don’t be intimidated. Wrap the bones in foil so they don’t char off during grilling. You can ask your butcher to go ahead and remove the fat cap and french the bones, but if you’d rather french the bones yourself, pull all the excess meat and fibers off them with butcher’s twine. Serve with a green like sautéed spinach, crusty bread, and rosé.
Spicy Grilled Watermelon
This bold and beautiful grilled watermelon recipe features a kick of heat, balanced with bright lime and salty cotija cheese. With a bit of cilantro for a pop of freshness and color, this summery side dish is ready for your next cookout. For a more dynamic spice experience, we love Tajin seasoning—which can be found at most grocery stores and pairs exceptionally well with melon. If you have trouble finding it at your local supermarket, try the nearest Mexican market or order it online. You can cut the watermelon away from the rind before or after grilling and chop it into a more composed salad if desired.
Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream
Need a delicious, last-minute dessert for your summer cookout? These grilled peaches a la mode can be thrown together while the grills still hot. This super-simple dessert is only five ingredients and compliments any summer meal. Starting with the freshest peaches will give you a soft, juicy, and flavorful dessert every time. After about 15 minutes on the grill, the cinnamon-sugar topping caramelizes and beautiful, deep-brown grill marks appear on the fruit. These grilled peaches have a rich and smoky-sweet flavor that you’ll crave all summer long.
Lemony-Herb Chicken with Grilled Garlic Scapes Salad
This grilled scape salad is crisp, light, and refreshing—in other words, it tastes like summertime. Tomatoes, corn, cucumber, and other summer veggies covered in lemon-parsley dressing and fresh mint perfectly combine with a charred, juicy chicken thigh. Garlic scapes are in season in late spring and early summer. If you can’t find them at your local farmers’ market or produce stand, try an international grocery. Round everything out with a crusty loaf of bread and a glass of white wine.
Grilled Mexican Corn Salad
This quick and easy grilled corn salad is a play on esquites, a wildly popular Mexican street food. Also known as corn in a cup, esquites are the cobless equivalent to elotes, grilled Mexican street corn topped with mayonnaise, various spices, and crumbled cojita cheese. A little brush of mayonnaise keeps the corn moist and golden, and squeezing lime juice over the final product adds a brightness that works spectacularly with the cheese and chives. If you can’t find cojita, use queso fresco, which is readily available in most supermarkets. Sprinkle on some chipotle powder for an added kick.
Grilled Chicken with Quick-Pickled Squash Salad
Instead of serving grilled chicken over your usual mixed greens, try this fresh and tangy squash salad. We like the mix of yellow and green squash in this salad, but you can use any kind that’s in season, from round pattypan to bicolored Zephyr. Just avoid large squash, which tend to be watery and have more seeds. You can serve this as a meal, or you can add 1 cup of any whole grain, such as farro or quinoa to make it more substantial.
Grilled Cajun Shrimp Kabobs with Sausage
This weeknight dinner comes together in under 20 minutes. Flat metal skewers work best for this quick, weeknight recipe because they keep the shrimp and vegetables from spinning around when flipped. Normally, wooden skewers should be soaked in water for 30 minutes before they go on a hot grill, but the cook time for these kebabs is so short—just two minutes per side—that you can use the skewers without soaking. Serve Grilled Cajun Shrimp Kabobs with Sausage over rice or grits for an authentic low-country meal.
Grilled Steak Salad with Potatoes and Pickled Red Onion
A grilled steak salad is a great option for dinner. A coffee-and-chile rub gives the meat bold flavor without adding extra calories. Hanger steak cooks quickly (4 to 5 minutes per side) and is best served medium-rare, so keep a close eye on it as it cooks. Remove the meat from the grill when it reaches 130°F to 135°F.