Summer’s finally here. The weather has finally caught up to the East coast and the homework and papers have finally faded away forever, or, at least until next semester. It’s time to kick back and enjoy yourself and your friends, and that means grilling. With that said, let’s get some tips on how to do it best.


1: Have Ambition


The grill is a playground to work with. It’s the easiest form of cooking and it’s celebrated in a way that, say, the stove isn’t. So get ambitious and experiment. What if you had cheese in the middle of some of the burgers? Give it a shot. How long would it take to grill one giant hamburger instead of a bunch of small ones? Now’s the time to figure it out. The grill is very forgiving: if it’s not cooked through, put it back. If it’s overcooked, who cares? Still a hamburger. It’s hard to go wrong, so you may as well see how far you can take it.


2: …But have a back-up


There’s nothing wrong with ambition but one of the grills best features is that it produces stability and good times. It’s comfort food and comfortable times that’s hard to screw up. So before you start messing around with salmon or talk about how roasting a pig shouldn’t be that hard, make sure you have some safety options around. Hamburgers and hotdogs are the solid backup. Don’t rely on fancy picks. Consider variety whenever you mix it up so you aren’t relying too heavily on one Googled dish working out perfectly.


3: Have a lot.


There’s never too much food. That’s a personal rule of thumb but it’s all the more true at a barbecue. You’re going to want a lot of food; might as well have a burger or two, and a hot dog, maybe a sausage, some corn, some chips, salsa, maybe another hamburger…it’s a ton of food and if you’re barbecue goes long (and it should) everyone is going to want “one more” of something or other. Plus maybe a friend comes late or comes with a friend of his, and they bring their girlfriend…whatever it is, you’re going to have mouths ready to eat. And if you have too much food somehow? You have leftover hamburgers already made for tomorrow. If your worst case scenario is having lunch made in advance, you’re doing it right.


4: Keep The “Must Haves”


Hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, ketchup, chips, salsa, corn, and a cold drink. Have all of those things, always. You can have any other things too, but those are the absolute standards. Include them with whatever you end up doing. They’re cheap, wholesome, delicious, and all-American. A cliche is a cliche for a reason sometimes.


5: Experiment


On top of those standards, mix it up. You can grill watermelon you know, and it’s absolutely fantastic. Likewise, pineapple and banana’s are great grilled and a great change of pace. Portobello mushrooms are also great and substitute much better than veggie burgers as a non-meat option for your poor, poor, vegetarian pals. They’re so good you’ll eat them too. Not to mention asparagus, that odd misfit, somehow tastes good grilled. See what I mean? Everything is good grilled. So give it a shot and see what happens. You might as well. If you got a few hamburgers around, play around and give your cookout a little flair.