Grilling season is just around the corner and nothing screams summer more than a cookout with your buds. Don’t get me wrong, hotdogs and hamburgers are great, but forcing down an overcooked disc of meat for the third weekend in a row is bound to make anyone dread the sight of a grill.

Here are some killer items you can easily throw on a grill that are sure to kickstart the fire at your upcoming backyard bash.

1. Kabobs


Photo courtesy of

Store-bought or homemade — you can literally put ANYTHING on a stick and people will go crazy over it. Whether it’s chicken and peppers, or bacon and stuffed jalapeños, you can’t go wrong with fully-loaded layers of deliciousness.

2. Pizza


Photo by Sophie Maschinot

Grilling pizza gives it a distinct char-buffed flavor, which means it’s extra yummy. Plus, something about those grill marks make it look so much cooler. Have your guests top their individual pies to be prepared, or keep it simple with several generic options like the photo above. Either way, you become a gourmet chef, and these people will leave stealing an amazing idea from you.

3. Avocados


Photo courtesy of @stephaniegreenwood_foodstylist on Instagram

The trendiest of health foods, and an ingredient in pretty much anything imaginable, grilled avocados are an awesome appetizer or side dish. All it takes is a little seasoning and a splash of olive oil and these babies are good to go. The best part is that you can stuff them with whatever your heart desires. Feeling adventurous? Top them off with some pico de gallo, bacon bits, or shrimp to really wow the crowd.

4. Bagel Sandwiches


Photo by Rebecca Raben

Now we’re getting creative. These are great if you’re hosting a smaller group, or to cut into fourths and serve as appetizers. Choose toppings that match your theme — you can go anywhere from turkey and cheese to breakfast delights.

5. Quesadillas


Photo courtesy of @grillingmontana on Instagram

This is my absolute favorite thing to eat from the grill. The possibilities for toppings are endless. Whatever it is you choose to stuff inside, something about the smokiness and the added flavor that the grill brings out makes these guys super addicting. Shoutout to @grillingmontana on Instagram for their killer recipes like the one above. If you’re ever searching for more cool things to try on the grill, give this page a look; they definitely give a deeper meaning to the art of grilling.

6. Hobo Dinners


Photo courtesy of @joannasalem on Instagram

The name doesn’t sound as appetizing as these truly are, but it does a pretty good job of describing these fun and flavorful menu options perfect for a camp fire. So, basically a foil pack is where you cut up several different ingredients and wrap them up in aluminum foil, then stick ’em on the grill. My personal favorite is red potatoes, corn, and chicken, but the possibilities are endless with this one. I’ve seen pineapple, red peppers, and chicken, and even cajun-style with sausage and shrimp.

7. Pineapple


Photo by Sarah Silbiger

While this doesn’t stand as a full meal option, it can be a killer appetizer or topping to change up the average burger. Whether you cut the fruit into chunks (as shown in this photo) and grill those on a skewer, or slice it into discs and holds them back until the burgers are ready, pineapple is a key flavor factor when you’re looking to make things a bit more interesting.

8. Stuffed Mushrooms


Photo by Julia Benson

Another stellar side dish, stuffed mushrooms are changing the game when it comes to stuffed vegetables. I think the best way is with a mix of cream cheese, crab meat, jalapeño peppers, and a heavy sprinkling of cheddar cheese. You can find a variety of these bite-sized delights pre-made at your local grocery store, or make your own creation.

9. Shrimp Skewers


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Similar to the kabobs, shrimp skewers are super easy to make your backyard barbecue a lot fancier with very little effort. Season them with lemon juice, soy sauce, or basic seasoning and you just turned a Saturday afternoon cookout to black tie status.

The great thing about all of these options is that you can put your own twist on them and create your own version of each item. Fire up your grills and get to cookin’, folks.