5 Barbecue Ideas That Will Turn Your Summer Dinners Up a Notch

If your grill worked overtime last summer, you are probably eager to spark it up this season but are craving some new BBQ dinner ideas. (Yes, we too tested the limit on how many hamburgers one person could eat over the course of a summer.) The good news is, if you can grill one thing, you can grill pretty much anything. Success often boils down to the quality of your ingredients—and it’s almost guaranteed, at least when it comes to meat, if you marinate long enough. Of course Big Barbecue Energy—the confidence you exude when working that grill—is critical.

To help you take your meal prep out of the kitchen and into the great outdoors, we tapped two beyond-burgers-and-dogs grill masters: a Korean cookbook author and a vegan blogger. Try one of their BBQ dinner ideas below.


Dakgalbi, spicy Korean chicken, is an aromatic dish packed with spicy flavors. For Sue Pressey, the author, cook, and photographer behind My Korean Kitchen, the dish holds a special place in her heart. “I ate dakgalbi almost every week growing up in Korea,” says Pressey. “My parents owned a dakgalbi restaurant for more than a decade. It reminds me of my hometown, Chuncheon, where the dish originated.”

Pressey’s recipe includes chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, perilla, and rice cakes—plus, gochujang chili paste, gochugaru chili flakes, and curry powder. The dish might not be for you if you’re sensitive to spice; if you can handle the heat, you’ll find it addictive. Consider yourself warned.

Beef Bulgogi

If you want a milder dish, check out Pressey’s bulgogi recipe. Pressey says that while there’s a common misconception that all Korean food is spicy, this smoky-sweet beef dish isn’t. It hinges on the quality of the meat, so ask your local butcher for the best cuts. “Bulgogi features prime cuts of beef,” says Pressey.

Make the most of your meat by marinating it well. The technique is simple, but you want to check all the boxes. The cut and quality of the meat and marinade itself “all affect the final flavor of Korean barbecue,” says Pressey. “Marinate it overnight to deepen the flavor and also tenderize the meat. I use nashi pear or apple in my marinade to help with this process.”

La Galbi

Also consider a tasty serve of la galbi, tender and sweet Korean barbecue short ribs. “I recommend this to people who are novices in Korean food because it’s very easy to prepare and the ingredients aren’t too hard to find,” says Pressey. The flavors work for most people’s palates, in her experience. 

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