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Food Matters

All about fresh, flavorful food


10 Quick and Easy Back-to-School BBQ Recipes for the Whole Family

It’s hard to believe it, but summer is drawing to a close once again. Back-to-school sales are in every store, and kids are antsy to start checking much-needed items off their school supply lists. You’re also probably trying to find time to take the family to the pool one last time, or maybe hit the beach for a long weekend before the leaves start turning.

One thing that doesn’t have to end with summer is the joy of eating great meals with your family, especially those cooked on the grill. Eating food off the grill can extend well into autumn. As long as it’s warm enough outside, you can use your grill to make any food you like!

During this back-to-school season, try out some of these quick and easy recipes that are sure to become instant family favorites. You’ll spend less time planning for each meal and more time enjoying the last bit of warm weather summer has to offer.

fall family barbecue on patio
Photo by Adobe Stock/Monkey Business.

1. Hot Dogs on a Stick

Anyone who has young kids in the family knows hot dogs can be a lifesaver. You can fry them, boil them, microwave them or even grill them. To add a fun twist, grill your hot dogs with breadstick dough wrapped around them. When they’re skewered, they’ll make for a fun, easy-to-dip dinner with little cleanup.

2. Spicy Chicken Skewers

Hot dogs not your thing? Treat yourself and your family to some spicy skewered chicken. Your taste buds will go crazy for this recipe, and you can cool off the spice with a simple cucumber side salad. Or, just put the cucumber slices on the skewers.

3. Smoky Sweet Potato Wedges

A recent food fad had everyone buying their own fryers so they could deep-fry whatever was in their kitchen. To get that savory feel to your homemade fries without the grease, grill some potato wedges instead. Making a mix of sweet and regular potato wedges will make everyone happy, especially when they taste the kick from the pork rub seasoning that’s sprinkled on top. 

4. Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus is another one of those foods that can be made a million different ways, so make sure you try grilling it, too. The vegetable will cook fast and have a warm, crunchy taste that’ll leave your family coming back for seconds. And, to make it even better, this recipe has Parmesan cheese as a topping.

5. Cheerwine Ribs

Do your kids know you as the parent who limits soda in the house? Surprise them with some Cheerwine ribs fresh off the grill. The tangy sweetness of the barbecue sauce, mixed with the sugary goodness of the Cheerwine, will make even the pickiest eater happy. Just make sure you have an oven handy for part of this recipe.

6. Double Chocolate S’mores

When it comes to raising a family, the food goal is always to try to serve the healthiest meals you can. That doesn’t always mean dessert isn’t an option! After eating some ribs or chicken skewers, have the kids grab some marshmallow sticks and grill up some double chocolate s’mores. By using chocolate graham crackers and Nutella, everyone’s chocolate cravings will be satisfied in minutes.

7. Miso-Glazed Chicken Burgers

For those moments when you find yourself craving some takeout, you don’t have to skip the grill and dish out your cash. Instead, bring the takeout flavor to your backyard by glazing chicken burgers with miso. It’ll only take a couple of minutes to grill these patties, which will go great alongside a cucumber salad.

8. Flattened Chicken and Grilled Romaine

Maybe you’re looking for something wildly different to throw on the grill. Chances are, you haven’t grilled a whole chicken or a head of lettuce before. This recipe only requires a few ingredients to make a complete meal, so don’t be intimidated! Grab a chicken on sale at your local grocery store and try it out.

9. Grilled Caesar Salad

When you picture yourself grilling foods, salad probably isn’t what comes to mind, but it’s a quick way to make a lot of food in one go! Grill up some Romaine hearts and put all the ingredients in a baguette. You can even toast the bread to give the entire dish a crispy bite.

10. Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Corn on the Cob

Say goodbye to summer with one of the most beloved summer foods of all: corn on the cob. Most of the time, you’ve probably made corn on the cob by shucking and boiling the corn you get from the store or a local farmer, but you should really try grilled corn. Make corn on the cob a complete meal for your family by wrapping each ear in bacon and letting them cook together. Top with some barbecue sauce and serve alongside a chicken or steak salad.

When summer ends, you have to say goodbye to some things you love and replace them with school carpooling, homework routines and busy extracurricular schedules that may leave you feeling like there’s no time left in the day. However, you don’t have to shake up your entire summer routine just because the weather’s changing.

Your grill can keep churning out dinners for as long as the weather’s warm enough for you to stand outside. When your family sits down and wonders what’s for dinner next, you can tell them they’ll get to enjoy their favorite summer grill recipe again, or a new warm dish for fall. Ultimately, there’s always a way to please your family when you’ve got a grill to use, so don’t feel confined to a single crockpot or the stove.

When you and your family all sit down together for dinner, get suggestions from them about their favorite grilled meals. They’ll love that they don’t have to say goodbye to the grill so soon, and you’ll love the happy memories that come from tasty food and full bellies.