Top 10 Best Fun and Simple Food Ideas for Your Next Cookout
Is there anything more fun than having a cookout with your friends and family in attendance?
Not only can you enjoy each other’s company and the great outdoors, but you can also enjoy some delicious food as well.
There are, of course, all of the cookout staples, like hamburgers and hotdogs, but you can also get a little more creative than that if you’re up for a challenge.
Here, we’ve got ten awesome ideas for delicious cookout foods that everyone is sure to enjoy!
Awesome Cookout Food #10: Bacon-Wrapped Anything
Is there anyone who doesn’t love bacon? Aside from the vegetarians and vegans of the world, most people find bacon to be truly delicious.
If this holds true for you and your guests, then we recommend making bacon-wrapped foods for your cookout. And trust us when we say that you can wrap anything in bacon.
You can try bacon-wrapped burgers on the grill, with or without cheese inside.
It’s a taste explosion.
However, bacon wrapped zucchini is a good, lighter treat. Grilled chicken also tastes great wrapped in bacon, and the same goes for shrimp.
No matter what you wrap in bacon and plop on the grill, you can rest assured that you’re in for a delicious treat.
And, even though we love this method, it’s not a full-out recipe, which is why we thought it only deserved the number 10 spot on our list.
Awesome Cookout Food #9: Pasta Salad from a Mix or from Scratch
Another great idea for a cookout dish is to make pasta salad. When you’re hot outside, this can be the perfect thing to cool you off. Plus, it can be super easy, depending on how you make it.
If you want something truly simple, just head to your local grocery store and look for the pasta salad mixes.
One that we highly recommend is the Simply Salad brand. You can make it as the box states, but it’s also great if you add chopped tomatoes, a little cheese, ham, and other goodies to the mix.
If you’re up for the challenge of making pasta salad from scratch, however, it’s really not all that hard. Boil pasta of your choice, mix in equal parts ranch seasoning mix and mayonnaise, add any veggies or extras you might like, and then chill and serve.
This simple dish will be a perfect side to whatever you serve.
Awesome Cookout Food #8: Grilled Veggies
Who says everything at a cookout has to be unhealthy and loaded with fat? You can enjoy the lighter side of life by serving up some grilled veggies. Not only are they healthy and delicious, but they’re incredibly easy to make too.
Simply spread foil over your grill, grease the foil, and then pile on thinly sliced veggies of your choice. Favorites of ours include mushrooms, onions, zucchini, squash, and peppers. However, you can use any veggies you like. Just slice them thin, or they’ll take forever to cook.
If you don’t want to eat your veggies with a fork, then you can also pop your favorite veggies onto skewers and grill. Serving your veggies up this way might take a little longer, but many people think it’s worth it for the presentation and easy eating.
Awesome Cookout Food #7: Grilled Salmon
Another easy dish that you can enjoy if you’re trying to keep your cookout relatively healthy is grilled salmon. It gets nice and crispy when you cook it on the grill, and it tastes absolutely delicious.
While you can enjoy your salmon plain, there are also a variety of glazes you can buy and make to change up the taste.
We recommend experimenting with different options until you find the one that works best for you.
Awesome Cookout Food #6: Grilled Corn on the Cob
We’ve already explained how you can easily make delicious vegetables on the grill. However, nothing is quite as delicious as grilled corn on the cob.
Sadly, a lot of people don’t know they can enjoy corn on the cob this way.
But, once you try it, you’ll never want it any other way.
This is the closest you can get to the taste of Mexican street corn.
Once it’s all grilled and crisp, you can add parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, butter, red pepper, or anything else you like for a true taste sensation.
Awesome Cookout Food #5: Pop Open Some Potato Salad
What’s a cookout if you don’t have a nice serving of potato salad to go with your main course?
If you don’t really like all the prep work involved in potato salad – and there’s a lot – then buy some pre-made at your local grocery store.
Almost all stores will have ready-to-eat potato salad in plastic containers. Some are even made in store and are very fresh.
Of course, there are potato salad recipes you can try if you’re up for the challenge of making it yourself, but we think the pre-made version is just so much simpler.
Plus, who wants to deal with a hot kitchen and boiling potatoes when you could be outside enjoying your cook out?
Awesome Cookout Food #4: Don’t Forget the Popsicles
We don’t even know if you can technically count popsicles as food. What we do know, however, is that a cookout isn’t a cookout without them.
Kids and kids-at-heart will likely eat popsicle after popsicle if you provide them.
Our favorites are the long, skinny ones since they freeze quickly. Often called freeze pops or ice pops, you can find these treats in a thousand different flavors. They typically come in big packages with plenty for sharing.
These quickly disappearing threats are wonderfully delicious.
And, as an added bonus, they’re actually good for staying hydrated.
Believe it or not, there are even alcoholic versions of these child-like popsicles on the market too. Just make sure you don’t get the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic ones mixed up.
Awesome Cookout Food #3: Who Wouldn’t Want a Watermelon?
Another cookout staple is the watermelon, and, honestly, it’s easy to see why. Just about everyone loves this delicious, low-calorie melon.
Serve a big one or at least buy two or three if you’re hosting a big event.
Chill the watermelon before serving to make it even tastier. And, when you do serve it, cut it into wedges, make melon balls, or serve it in cubes or chunks for easier eating.
Just make sure you save those watermelon seeds.
After all, what is more, traditional at a cookout than a watermelon seed spitting contest?
Awesome Cookout Food #2: Hardboiled Eggs Are Always a People-Pleaser
One commonly requested cookout dish is deviled eggs. However, those take a lot of work and prep time.
So, if you want your cookout to be all about relaxation and simplicity, we suggest an easier approach: hardboiled eggs.
These are incredibly easy to make and take just a few minutes of your time. You can even prepare them in the microwave if you like. Your guests can peel them, add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.
This dish is much simpler than deviled eggs and just as tasty
Awesome Cookout Food #1: Dips Galore
Our final suggestion for great cookout eating is to ask each of your guests to bring a dip. WE also happen to think this is our greatest idea too.
The dip brought can be a store-bought dip or a favorite homemade dip. Just try to coordinate it so that everyone is bringing something different.
You can provide the chips (make sure you get plenty). You’ll find that this is a really fun way to try a lot of different types of dips and maybe even to learn a little something about your guests.
You’d be shocked at the wide variety of dips people come up with, and everyone will have fun trying something new together.
How We Chose Our Ideas
Before we dive in and start telling you what you should make for your cookout, you probably want to know where we got our information from.
Rest assured that we did a lot of research. We put tons of time and effort into scouring recipes and event planning sites to bring you these awesome ideas.
Try them, tweak them, and do whatever you need to ensure that you have the most delicious and enjoyable event possible.
Tips for Getting Your Cookout in Gear
Now that you’ve got a headstart on some great dishes to prepare, we figured it was only fair to give you some planning tips for your cookout, as well as some advice from some seasoned cookout pros.
Check the Weather
One of the first tips to keep in mind is that you absolutely need to check the weather before planning your cookout.
Many a great cookout has been ruined or canceled completely because of rain, thunderstorms, or other inclement weather. Try and book your cookout for days with the lowest possible chance of rain or other bad weather.
Even then, it’s still a good idea to have some kind of “rain date” in mind just in case. After all, the weather is one thing that’s always outside of your control.
Pick a Location
Once you’ve picked a date when rain isn’t likely to spoil your fun, you’ll need to pick a perfect location. Most people just have their cookouts in their own backyards. If you don’t have that kind of space, however, rest assured that there are other great options available.
First, check out your local park or campground to see if they offer a grilling space. If so, try and reserve one for your desired date ahead of time.
Most parks and other public spaces will charge a very small fee to reserve your space, and it’s worth paying for the peace of mind of knowing that a spot will be available.
Many public pools, lakes, and other bodies of water will also have grills that you can rent if you like, so look into all options to find the best venue for your event.
Arrange Your Guest List
With all that in order, plan your guest list carefully. You need to know how many people you’re going to have at your event so that you can ensure you have enough food.
In fact, even once you’ve gotten a head count, you should probably over plan and make a little more food than you think you’ll need. This is because there’s always someone who eats a little more than expected, and there are always people who show up with extra guests in tow.
Prepare Your Supplies
In addition to gathering and preparing food, don’t forget to gather all of the supplies you will need.
Paper plates, utensils, aluminum foil, charcoal, and lighter fluid are just the start. Try to write down every single thing you will need and then go on one big shopping trip.
Hopefully, you’ll remember everything since there’s nothing worse than running out of your own cookout to pick up a forgotten item.
Remember, too, that it’s okay to ask your friends and guests to bring items. Some people think it’s rude, but your close friends are not going to mind springing for napkins, paper plates, or even bringing along a dish to share.
In fact, potlucks are a lot of fun if you want to take your cookout that route!
Start Planning Today
With all of this information now tucked away in your brain, you are more than ready to start planning for your big day.
So, what are you waiting for?
The sooner you start organizing your cookout, the sooner you can enjoy all that fun and delicious food!
Featured Image: CC0 Public Domain by Curtis Simmons via Flickr