It's summer and you're ready for the weekend: suns out, buns out (hot dog and otherwise). You've got the grill, you've got the beers, you've got the buds, but you don't have a clue about the food. Grabbing some packs of burgers and hot dogs would be one move, sure—but your taste in beer has evolved, so maybe your cookout food should, too. We might not have tricks for how to crush your friends in cornhole or keep all those freakin' mosquitos away, but when it comes to good grilling food, we've got your back.
We've got plenty of guides already—from the best grilled vegetables to our favorite recipes for grilled meat, to the best dips for a party, the crowd-friendly summer cocktails, our favorite non-alcoholic drinks, and even vegan cookout classics—but we've hand-picked some of our favorite recipes here and broken them down by course. Pick one or two from each category, and think of this as your template to the perfect summer party every single time, MUNCHIES style.
This cannabis-infused bruschetta pairs perfectly with all those Sublime songs on your party playlist.
Slow down on chugging that beer—you'll want to save some for this party-friendly shrimp.
If a zucchini plant blossoms and the flower doesn't get stuffed with cheese and fried, then is it even summer?
Sweet corn, crab, and beer are great on their own, but they're even better in a crispy fritter.
A side of homemade, grown-up honey mustard makes these easy grilled artichokes pop.
It's easy to fill up on these chorizo-stuffed clams, so don't forget to save room for all that grilled meat.
A mix of feta and yogurt turns boring toast into a fresh and summery treat.
This dump salad is basically dessert but you get to call it salad, and it tastes better than the name makes it sound, we promise.
Chunks of halloumi turn nice, ripe melons into a sweet and savory salad that's best served poolside.
It's time to shake up your ramen habit. This quick salad is also a great way to unload any extra cabbage from making coleslaw.
Your vegan friends deserve some good options, but they won't be the only ones at the party who can't get enough of our vegan Caesar.
This tomato salad tastes so good that you'll barely believe it only took 10 minutes—perfect for the low-stress party host.
Panzanella is technically a salad, but it's basically just a bunch of bread. Can't say no to that.
Matty Matheson's go-to tabbouleh is simple, fresh, and filling.
Instead of serving bratwurst with potato salad on the side, put it all together in one tasty, tangy salad.
You've already got the grill going, so put some char on those greens for extra flavor.
You might never own a home anyway, so might as well get some more avocados. Summer's all about living in the moment.
A vegetarian side so filling that you won't even wonder about the meat.
When your old school potato salad gets boring, put those potatoes on the grill and mix in a generous amount of mustard.
This pasta is so summery that you might even feel like you're by the beach, not your backyard.
These perfectly crispy fritters pair best with a cold beer.
When you've had too much buttered sweet corn, this creamy, cheesy version will get you stoked on corn all over again.
Thanks to Matty Matheson, you can have your favorite egg salad and your classic potato salad all in one.
Brie and honey make this way more indulgent than your average sweet potato.
Did we mention that this is dressed in bacon vinaigrette? Heck yeah, it is.
Now, even your vegetarian friends can have a fun, rib-like finger food to nibble on.
This isn't your average potato salad; a light honey mustard vinaigrette keeps it fresh.
Sometimes, the best burgers are the simplest ones.
Some crab cakes have too much filler. This one doesn't—just a lot of crab.
Not feeling the effort of making a crab cake? Just fry the whole darn crab.
There's plenty of ways to get beer in your gullet that aren't chugging it, and this crispy batter is one of them.
Oh, you thought you'd already mastered the burger? Think again.
Save this one for the extra special summer gatherings, or when you really want to flex on all your friends.
When you want something lighter than your average beef burgers, consider these shawarma-inspired chicken burgers.
Trends come and go, but you can't go wrong with a classic club sandwich.
Even if you're new to grilling, you can pull off this easy chicken recipe.
There's a simple joy in getting your hands dirty while eating with a bunch of friends, so you've gotta pencil in at least one clambake this summer.
This quick sauce of coconut water and hibiscus is worth adding to your repertoire.
Bring a little bit of the ballpark home with you. Homemade chili makes your standard hot dogs feel a little more fun.
Grilling a steak might be basic, but this marinade of fish sauce and lime tastes like anything but that.
At some point, you might tap out on burgers, steaks, and hot dogs, so switch it up with charred scallops.
A big sandwich looks impressive, but really, it's just the simplest way to feed a crowd.
We love this version of the New England classic, dressed lightly in cool, refreshing mayo.
These flavorful grilled prawns take some cues from Nigeria, with a mix of ginger, garlic, and Suya spice.
Nothing but steak, salt, and scallions, because sometimes, you just want to savor a big hunk of meat.
Perfectly grilled steak gets even more craveable with this beer and soy sauce glaze.
These tender ribs go down so easy that you should absolutely make a double batch.
This recipe for BBQ brisket comes from none other than Guy Fieri, so you know it's going to take you to Flavortown.
Spicy food might be even better in hot weather, but we're sure this spicy grilled squid is really, really good all the time.
If you've got the carne asada, there's no need to leave your vegetarian buddies hanging. These tacos with beer-marinated seitan will get them stoked.
Black beans make these simple avocado tostadas even more satisfying.
Stuff homemade focaccia with as much crispy, tahini-covered greens as possible, and nobody will miss the meat.
We all know that the best time to eat a BLT is outside, in the summer, with the ripest summer tomatoes. Marinated tempeh means that your veggie friends don't have to miss out on that either.
When you want something a little more homemade than those high-tech veggie burgers, make these hefty patties with mushrooms, beets, and black beans.
Like the classic fast food sandwich you know and love—just a little more fish-friendly
You can make this easy gnocchi anytime of year, but it's at its peak during tomato season.
This frozen dessert takes all the flavors from your favorite chocolate spread, but in a refreshing summer-friendly format. And when it comes to dessert, you can trust Natasha Pickowicz.
You love avocados on everything else—why not put them in dessert?
The easiest homemade ice cream is possible without an ice cream maker.
Just a hint of dried lavender takes ripe summer blueberries to the next level.
Proof that you can make the entire meal on the grill—even dessert.
Sweet, a little salty, and so simple that you don't even have to turn on the oven.
A secret for bad bakers everywhere: galettes are even cuter when they're a little uneven.
Anyone can slice a watermelon, but not everyone's going to step it up with some homemade Tajín.
Few things taste more like summer than custard and all the best summer berries, with just a hint of booze.
Think of it like a cheesecake but a little more summery.
You love that summertime rosé, so don't just sip it: Turn it into dessert, too.
When a hot oven seems unbearable, turn the classic cocktail into a simple no-bake pie.