Hosting a BBQ: Sizzling Summer Recipes

Apr 19, 2023

Summer is a great season to spend quality time with friends and family. The longer days allow for more outdoor time, which is great when the kids are out of school. The warmer weather also provides the perfect atmosphere for a BBQ, and the season conveniently gives you excuses to host for the holidays like Memorial Day and the 4th of July. You already know U-Haul fuels summertime adventures and parties with propane but maybe you need some recipe ideas! Get some inspiration below.

If you’re getting ready to host or attend a summer BBQ, we’ve covered you with delicious recipes from our favorite sources. These recipes range from main dishes to desserts, ensuring that your cookout will be a success. All you need to do is refill or exchange your propane tank; U-Haul can help. In fact, filling your tank will be the easiest part of the cookout! With over 1,000 centers across America, U-Haul makes it easy to prepare for your cookout. Plus, by doing business with U-Haul, you’re supporting a company committed to employing veterans and partnering with military-friendly organizations. And if you need recipe ideas or inspiration, here are just a few of our favorite recipes to get you started.

Main Dishes

When it comes to choosing main dishes for your BBQ, there are plenty of recipes to please everyone’s taste buds. When in doubt, go with some of the foolproof classic recipes below!

Classic Burger

  • 1 1/2 pounds 80% lean 20% fat ground beef or ground chuck
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: 4 slices of cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Optional: hamburger toppings – lettuce tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc.

Preheat the grill to 375 degrees F (medium-high). In a large bowl, add the beef. Sprinkle evenly with the Worcestershire sauce, seasoning salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until they are just combined. Divide the meat mixture into fourths. Take ¼ of the meat mixture and use your hands to press it into the shape of a hamburger patty that is about ¾ inch thick. Make an indention in the middle of the patty to prevent bulging in the center of the hamburger as it cooks. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture, making 4 hamburgers. Place the burgers on the grill. Cook 4-5 minutes on the first side. Flip the burgers over and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, until the burgers have reached the desired doneness.* If adding cheese, lay a slice of cheese on each burger patty about 1 minute before taking the burgers off the grill, so the cheese has a chance to melt. Serve the burgers on hamburger buns with optional hamburger toppings.


  • 4 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch-thick boneless rib-eye or New York strip steaks (about 12 ounces each) or filets mignons (8 to 10 ounces each), trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

About 20 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let sit, covered, at room temperature. Heat your grill to high. Brush the steaks on both sides with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare (an internal temperature of 135 degrees F), 5 to 7 minutes for medium (140 degrees F) or 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well (150 degrees F). Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Hot Dog

  • 8 hot dogs
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

With a small, sharp knife, make cuts at an angle in 2 rows down each hot dog, about ½ inch apart, cutting partway into the hot dog. The cuts should look like rounded half circles. Mix the ketchup with the Worcestershire sauce, oil and garlic. Pour into a large ziplock bag, add hot dogs and let marinate for 15-20 minutes. Light grill. Grill the hot dogs until nicely charred and the cuts open up, about 3-5 minutes total.

Recipes On the Side

There are endless options to choose from when it comes to complementing your BBQ spread. Since the weather is warm, guests may enjoy something light and cool to refresh their taste buds. Try out a mix of classic sides and some creative new recipes that complement the smoky flavors of the BBQ. Don’t be afraid to mix and match to create a unique and delicious tasting recipes that your guests will love!

Southern Potato Salad

  • 3 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onion, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 c. sweet pickle relish
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • Paprika, for garnish

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let them cool in a single layer on a sheet tray or plate. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Fold in the potatoes, celery, green onions, relish, and eggs until well combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and more green onions before serving, if you like.


  • 3 cups green cabbage finely shredded
  • 2 cups purple cabbage finely shredded
  • 1 cup carrot finely shredded
  • ½ cup mayonnaise/dressing
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl. Toss with cabbage & carrots. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Grilled Watermelon

  • Vegetable oil, for grilling
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1/4 large watermelon (about 5 lbs), cut into 1-inch thick wedges
  • Fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Heat a propane grill to high heat (about 450˚ to 500˚) and oil the grill grates with vegetable oil. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt, and lime zest. Pinch the mixture together with your fingertips to combine all of the ingredients. Lay the watermelon wedges in a single layer on a sheet tray. Reserve 1 teaspoon of the salt mixture; set aside. Sprinkle half of the remaining salt mixture all over the watermelon wedges. Flip and sprinkle the wedges with the other half of the salt mixture. Place on a cooling rack set over a sheet tray and let rest for 15 minutes. Using paper towels, press firmly on the slices to remove excess moisture. Place the wedges on the grill over direct heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until grill marks appear. Remove the watermelon from the grill and place on a sheet tray or serving platter. Sprinkle with the reserved salt mixture and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, if desired. 

Sweet Treat

No summer BBQ is complete without a mouthwatering dessert to cap off the meal. We’ve compiled a list of irresistible summer dessert recipe ideas that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and impress your guests. So sit back, relax, and get ready to indulge in some delicious desserts that are perfect for the season.

Fudgy Brownies on the Grill

  • 7 tablespoons 85 g dairy-free butter, cut into pieces, room temperature, divided
  • ⅓ cup 43 g cornstarch
  • ¼ cup 32 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 ½ cups 320 g semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • ¾ cup 96 g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup 128 g chopped toasted pecans (optional)

Preheat your grill or oven to 350-400F. Grease an 8-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon melted butter. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave 6 tablespoons butter and 1½ cups of chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in ¼ cups chocolate chips and the pecans. Pour the batter into the skillet and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips on the top. Grill, covered, until a tester pick inserted in the middle of the brownies comes out with a few crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Check every 5 minutes after 30 minutes. If baking in the oven, bake for 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in the skillet.

Apple Pie on the Grill

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 4 cups peeled, thinly sliced baking apples (about 4 apples)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup crushed ginger snaps
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 6 single-serving graham cracker tart shells

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. In a large cast iron or other heavy skillet with a heat-proof handle, melt butter and saute apple until almost tender. In a small bowl, combine both sugars, the crushed ginger snaps, cinnamon, and cornstarch; sprinkle mixture over apples. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring until a thick dark sauce forms. (Depending on the juiciness of the apples, 1 to 2 teaspoons of water may need to be stirred in to thin the sauce.) Remove mixture from heat and spoon into tart shells. Serve warm, or chill until ready to use.

Strawberry Popsicles

  • 4 cups of strawberries
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Add strawberries, yogurt, honey, and lemon juice into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Slowly pour the strawberry mixture into popsicle molds until it almost fills to the top, leaving about ¼-inch off the rim. Close the lid and add popsicle sticks. Transfer to the freezer until frozen completely, at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, run the popsicle mold under hot water for a few seconds to loosen the popsicles from the mold for easy release.

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