I am excited to welcome my blog twin Beth who writes at Structure In An Unstructured Life here today. Beth has some great recipes on her blog and shares her weekly menu faithfully on her blog.  Today she’s sharing some tips for barbecue season and giving us a summer bbq recipe round up.

Welcome Beth!

Summer time backyard barbecue season – one of my favorite times of the year! I love that summer get togethers are always so much more relaxed than their wintertime counterparts. You spend your time outdoors so there is less need for cleaning, paper plates are the accepted norm, and kids can run and play until they collapse from exhaustion. Somehow, conversation flows easier while sitting in lawn chairs and gathered around a bonfire.

I do a few things to ensure I can soak up this summer ritual and spend less time inside. My tips for spending more time with friends and less time in the kitchen include:

  • Prep early. Anything that can be made ahead of time, I do. Whether it is making a salad or preparing the burger patties, I try to do this before guests arrive.
  • Grill. While you still have to cook the food while guests are present, it is far easier to chat and have fun around the grill than it is around the oven. Especially when the temperatures get hot!
  • Use paper products. I know – all the environmentalists out there are going to frown at me. But for me, doing dishes is the last thing I want to think about when I’m having fun outside with friends. So we use paper plates and plastic silverware and the dishes are done the second you’ve finished eating and walked by the trash can!

So what do my summer cookout menus look like? Here’s a roundup of all my favorite backyard barbecue dishes, from pre-meal snacks to the main dish to sides to tasty treats!

Summer BBQ Recipe Round Up

Bruschetta. This is an easy and fresh appetizer for summertime. I often make it even when there’s no company coming over! With tomatoes, onions, and basil all available in abundance during the summer months, your ingredients can be gathered at the farmer’s market and tossed together before guests arrive.

Stuffed Jalapenos. I am a girl who likes some spice! These stuffed jalapenos can be prepped ahead of time (make sure to wear gloves when you slice and scoop the jalapenos – I learned this lesson the hard way!), then toss in the oven or on the grill shortly before company arrives! They are also yummy with a little bacon wrapped around them!

Burgers. Burgers are a staple on our summer menu plans and are great for weeknight dinners at home as well as a family and friends gathering. The classic summertime entrée, you can make them simple or gourmet, depending on how you dress them up!

Grilled Chicken. My top tip for grilling chicken is to avoid boneless cuts! Leaving the bone in helps the chicken to stay juicy. I also prefer to marinate my chicken at least a little, even if it just in a simple olive oil and garlic blend. The oil helps the chicken to stay moist through the grilling.

Pasta Salad. The boxed kinds are easy and unusually cheap during the summer, but I prefer to throw together my own. Besides the chopping, it is just as easy and, in my opinion, tastes way better with fresh veggies than the freeze dried kind!

Potato Salad. I’m still working on perfecting my recipe for potato salad; I’m trying to recreate my mom’s. Somehow, I think it will be a work in progress for quite some time, but really, you can’t go wrong with this simple side salad!

Baked Beans. I’m going to be honest – I serve the Bush’s Grillin’ Beans out of the can at my house. Call me a slacker, but that’s how I roll when it comes to baked beans. However, I did find a good looking recipe on Pinterest for those of you who want to make them from scratch!

Fruit Salsa. This was another Pinterest find. Perfect for summer time when fresh fruit is abundant. I serve with cinnamon pita chips, or often with graham crackers since we seem to always have those in the house during the summer months. Ya know, for…

Smores. The classic summer time dessert. Looking for a fancy twist? Try using a Reese’s Peanutbutter Cup or a Rolo instead of a chocolate bar. Looking for a shortcut? Try using fudge-striped cookies instead of grahams and chocolate bars – just smoosh your marshmallow between two of those and you still got your cookie and chocolate!

Blueberry Lemonade. We live in the home of the National Blueberry Festival, so you can find just about everything with a blueberry twist to it in our town. I had this drink at a local restaurant and loved it so much I had to create it at home. It’s easy to make your own blueberry-infused vodka, but it does require some planning ahead as it takes a few days to sit.

Thank you so much to NJ for asking me to guest post over here! I love hanging out at her place already, and am honored to get to share with all of you!

Happy Summertime and enjoy your backyard barbecues!

Thank you, Beth, for this amazing list!

What is your favorite summer bbq recipe? Let’s talk about it below!