7 Unique BBQ Ideas to Spice Up Your Summer Cookout

Everyone loves a good summer barbecue. Whether it’s BBQ chicken or ribs, pulled pork beef, there’s something about barbecue that signals it’s officially summer. Here’s the thing: BBQ can get a little stale if it’s just about chicken and ribs and some bottled sauce. If you’ve been feeling bored with your traditional summer barbecue fare, consider these outside the box BBQ options that will spice up your next get together.

Grilled Corn Three Ways

Banish the giant pot of boiled water and stop boiling the taste right out of your sweet corn. The secret to sweet corn is roasting it or grilling it. Grilling the corn caramelized the kernels to perfection.You can top your corn in many ways that will make it the center of attention.

  • For Mexican street corn, spread low-fat mayo on the corn, roll it in Cotija cheese (or feta as a substitute.) Then sprinkle with chili powder.
  • For Bacon Cheddar, use the low-fat mayo trick from above, but then roll the corn in shredded cheddar cheese and wrap the ear in two slices of bacon.
  • For Toasted Sesame Butter, stir four tablespoons of salted butter with 1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds. Then add in a ½ teaspoon of chopped cilantro and ¼ teaspoon of sesame oil. Top with additional sesame seeds to taste.

Mayo Basil Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers are a good alternative to fattier meats but that doesn’t mean they need to be bland. You can add flavor by using mayonnaise and basil. 


  • ¼ cup of mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 12 ounces ground turkey
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 1 large sliced tomato


  • Combine the mayo and 1 tablespoon of basil in a small bowl and refrigerate.
  • In another bowl, combine milk, onion, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and basil. Add in turkey ad mix well. Then make four patties.
  • Grill over medium heat for about 5 minute on each side.
  • Serve on buns with lettuce, tomato and basil mayo.

Flame Seared Beef Kebabs

Kebabs are a staple of summer barbecue menus, but they can get a little stale. Try drawing your inspiration from Asia by making these delicious small beef sates.


  • 1.5 pounds of rib eye steaks
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of ground tumeric
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Cucumber relish or fried garlic peanut sauce (or substitute your favorite sauce)


  • Cut steaks into cubes. Put in mixing bowl with brown sugar, coriander, turmeric, cumin fish sauce, pepper, and oil. Let marinate for a minimum of two hours.
  • Drain the cubes and throw out marinade. Put beef onto bamboo skewers.
  • Preheat grill to high. Lightly grease the grate. Grill until cooked to taste – about one or two minutes for medium rare.
  • Serve with relish or peanut sauce.

Grilled Asparagus and Ricotta Cheese Pizza

Martha Stewart came up with the idea of making this delectable pizza on the grill. Whether you make your own crust or purchase one, your guests will love this pizza.


  • 1 pizza crust (DiGiorno or Caulipower recommended)
  • ¼ cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • ½ bunch of asparagus grilled
  • Herb oil


  • Heat your grill to medium or medium hot and lightly grease grates with cooking spray.
  • Roll dough into an oval and lightly oil it with Herb oil or olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the dough for 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Top with ricotta cheese spread, asparagus and lemon zest. Cover grill and cook for 3-5 minutes, until cheese melts and vegetables are cooked through.
  • Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and serve.

Grilled Clams

If you live near the coasts, you probably love a good summer clambake. Consider shaking up your clam routine by grilling them with spiced paprika and butter.


  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
  • 1 and ¼ teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper


  • First, grill clams by putting clams on a medium-high heated grill. Place directly on grate and grill until they pop open. This takes 3-5 minutes, no need to turn or flip clams.
  • Mix butter, paprika, celery seeds and cayenne pepper in a  bowl until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss butter and grilled clams in a large bowl and coat thoroughly.

Grilled French Toast

Breakfast grilling? Sure, why not! We all sleep later in the summer, so why not amble out to the grill some summer morning and make french toast.


  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups half and half
  • One loaf of brioche bread (or challah or whatever you have on hand), lightly toasted
  • Vegetable oil or spray
  • Butter, maple, syrup, honey, jam, and your favorite toppings


  • Preheat your grill and lightly grease the grates.
  • In shallow baking dish, whisk eggs together with sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt. Then whisk in the 2 cups of half and half.
  • Add slices of bread into the egg mixture. Coat and let stand for a minute or two, enough for it to be soaked.
  • Grill the bread over medium high heat until it turns dark brown. Usually this takes about 2 minutes on each side.
  • Transfer to plates and serve with your favorite toppings.

Grilled Watermelon

Believe it or not, watermelon has a savory flavor when grilled. Don’t overlook the simple pleasures of grilling fruits.


  • 2 slices watermelon of watermelon, about 2 inches thick
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste


  • Cut watermelon into 4 pieces. There should be a total of 8. Brush each side of the melon with olive oil and lime juice, but reserve about half of lime juice.
  • Season each slice with salt.
  • Heat your grill to high and grill watermelon for 3-5 minutes per side.
  • Remove from grill and season with the rest of the lime juice. Sprinkle with cilantro. Don’t forget to salt, which really accentuates the flavor.
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