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A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.
When the days become longer and warmer, you’ll want to have your friends and family over to your house for some backyard grilling, drinks, and card games.
There are plenty of classic barbecue staples to delight your friends, from smoky ribs to chicken breasts and tender, juicy steaks. However, if you’re looking for some fresh inspiration for your outdoor summer parties, check out these simple and fun grilling ideas.
Whether you want to add some charred, smoky depth to a classic mojito or cook up some fresh shrimp with a citrusy, light sauce, you’ll find plenty of ideas here for turning your patio party into a bona fide culinary event.
Grilled Shrimp With Lemon and Herbs
The first of these summer grilling ideas is this light and tasty dish, which combines zesty flavors with fresh grilled shrimp’s juiciness. You can soak up the sauce with freshly baked bread. Try pairing this meal with a dry white wine like a Riesling or Pinot Gris.
- 8 snack-sized portions
- 2½ lbs. large shrimp
- 1 minced or finely chopped garlic clove
- ½ cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
- ½ cup salted capers, washed and drained, then finely chopped
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt and pepper
STEP 1 - First, make the sauce. Add the oregano, garlic, and salted capers to a small bowl, then combine them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the zest, and the juice of ½ a lemon. Sprinkle some ground pepper over the mixture to season it.
STEP 2 - Put your sauce to the side, then turn to the grill. Marinade the shrimp lightly by coating them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Skewer the shrimp on metal rods to ensure they cook properly, then put them on your grill rack. They should only take 3-4 minutes to cook.
STEP 3 - Once the shrimp are golden brown, with slight char marks, take the skewers off the grill, remove them from the skewers and place them on a large plate. Use a metal spoon to whisk your sauce together again, then pour it over the top of the cooked shrimp.
Fresh Tuna Tacos
Spice up your summer barbecue with this recipe for fresh tuna tacos, with an accompanying fruity and citrusy salsa.
- 4 servings
- 2 red onions, finely sliced
- 1 tsp. chipotle powder or sweet paprika
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 lb. fresh tuna steak
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 8 corn tortilla wraps
- 1 whole mango, diced into ¼” pieces
- 1 cucumber, diced into ¼” pieces
- 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
STEP 1 - Turn on or light up your grill, then leave it for a few minutes so it can preheat. While you’re waiting, heat some oil in a cast-iron skillet over a high temperature. When the oil starts sizzling, add the onions and cook them for between 8-1o minutes or until they start to brown. Pour in your dried oregano, chipotle or paprika powder, and vinegar, and stir for a couple of minutes, coating your onions. Take the mixture off the heat and put it to the side for now.
STEP 2 - You could also use this time to make your fresh, fruity salsa. Mix all the salsa ingredients in a large bowl, then cover the dish with cling wrap and let it rest.
STEP 3 - At this point, drizzle some olive oil over the tuna steaks, then add them to the grill, cooking them until they’re slightly singed. Try grilling them for around 3-4 minutes on each side.
STEP 4 - Cut one steak open to make sure it’s still pink in the center: you don’t want to overcook this delicious fish. You can also heat your corn tortillas by putting them on the grill for a few seconds.
STEP 5 - Serve the fresh tuna tacos with sharp red onion pickle and a fruity, light salsa. This light and vibrant meal is ideal for a hot summer’s day.
Grilled Lemon and Lime Mojitos
Why not use your grill to add a smoky, rich undertone to your favorite summer cocktail? This recipe combines the traditional, distinctive mojito mix with a charred and intense citrus garnish.
- 4 drinks
- Crushed ice
- 2 tsp. granulated or table sugar
- ¾ cups of white rum (6 shots)
- Club soda
- 1½ cups of fresh mint leaves
- 2 limes, finely sliced
- 2 lemons, finely sliced
STEP 1 - Your friends will thank you for trying out this recipe, which is one of the most original summer grilling ideas you’ll find. The grilled garnish adds a potent earthy depth that complements the refreshing muddled mint flavor perfectly.
STEP 2 - Preheat your grill before adding your lemon and lime slices to the hot surface. You want to singe and cook your garnish before you make the drink so that you can put the charred slices in the bottom of your highball glasses. These smoky and citrusy wedges impart their flavor throughout the cocktail as they infuse with the liquid you add.
STEP 3 - After 3 minutes, turn each slice over to grill its other side. Remove them from the grill rack and split them up evenly between each of your 4 highballs, using a muddler to push them to the base of each glass. Try to divide the mint leaves and the table sugar between each glass as well before muddling all the ingredients together. If you’re worried about your sugar not dissolving when you add it to the drink, use simple syrup instead, which you can make by dissolving sugar in boiling water. Use ½ oz. of syrup for this recipe.
STEP 4 - Once you’ve muddled these ingredients together, add the rum and stir the drink lightly. Pour some crushed ice over the top of the alcohol, then top off the drink with some chilled club soda.
Take Your Backyard Party to the Next Level with These Simple Summer Grilling Ideas
When it’s sweltering out and you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or party for friends and family, try following these simple and fun summer grilling ideas to produce food that’s juicy, fresh, and light. You can even use the grill to create a delicious and refreshing mojito with a twist.
If you're not familiar with cooking fish then read our grilling fish guide. It will help you out.