The spring and summer are upon us, so one of the big things that we can note about this wonderful time of the year is people want to get outside and have parties and fun. Cookouts and Bar-B-Que are very popular because it's a fun social gathering of family and friends and offers great food and drinks for others to enjoy while having fun. Some people wonder which foods are the most popular for cookouts because they may do things differently but want to appeal to those who are attending their cookout or party, so I've listed the most popular dishes and food items that are sure to please anyone.
Cookouts comprise of main food items and sides, so here I'm going to talk about the main dishes you should be serving to your friends, family members, and guests for your summer cookout or party.
Burgers: Burgers are not only safe, but they are the king of flavor and popularity for cookouts and parties. While the vast majority of the burgers you will find being grilled and cooked out there are beef, turkey burgers are rising in popularity so find out which would be more preferable for your guests and go for it. Burgers are great because they are easy to grill and serve, and taste great. Consider splitting the mix of burgers in half so half are plain and the other half have cheese. People can use ketchup, mustard, onions, and other great toppings with their burgers so the variety is fantastic
Hot Dogs: Hot dogs are just like burgers in being both a safe and popular food choice for cookouts and parties. They are simple to grill up, serve nicely with buns, and are easy to eat so they won't cause a sloppy mess. People like their dogs in many ways so as long as you don't burn them to death they are sure to please. I have found that between burgers and hot dogs the burgers are more popular, but you can't go wrong with hot dogs either.
Brats: Brats (Bratwurst) are another great contender in a main dish to serve at cookouts because they are similar to hot dogs only they are sausage instead of all beef or turkey like hot dogs or burgers. Some people love the taste of some well grilled brats and slap some tomatoes, peppers and onions and you are good to go. This one won't be as popular as the burgers and hot dogs, but they will surely please some of those hearty appetites when people show up wanting to have fun and get some good food. Grill them just like you would burgers and hot dogs and serve them up nice and hot.
Steak: Steak is an interesting alternative to grill up for your guests, and it's something you would have to ask about first since it can be expensive and more demanding to make. However it's certainly something that is served up at nationwide cookouts throughout the spring and summer so I would suggest if you decide to make them to be sure and have some steak sauce or rub to spruce up the flavor. These will surely do well with people who want a nice slab of meat instead of a handheld bun type item.
Grilled Chicken: Grilled chicken is similar in nature to steak in that it's not as traditional but definitely a crowd pleaser. Grilled chicken is delicious and certainly going to satisfy those who aren't beef lovers. Have some marinades ready and touch up the grilled chicken with some added flavor and people will be gladly reaching their hands over to have a juicy slice.
A cookout isn't a cookout until you have laid out a bunch of delicious sides to enjoy. Most of these are common, and some are different but still amazing to have.
Potato / Macaroni salad: I've put these two in the same category because one is almost impossible to have without the other. People love their Potato and Macaroni salads to slap on their plate with a delicious hot food item so be sure to have a large container of both so everyone can dip their taste buds into some delicious salad goodness. Depending on the size of your cookout or party you may need multiple containers of these two items because they go fast and everyone wants them.
Deviled Eggs: Deviled Eggs are something that are huge at cookouts and if you haven't experienced tasting one of these then you are missing out. Most of my cookouts have these, but I'm sure that many people haven't had one before. They are a side dish that quickly disappears, it's almost like magic! Have a huge plate of these out with your other side items and watch as your guests grab them off the plate. They are easy to make and super delicious so anyone's taste buds are in for a treat.
Baked Beans: Who doesn't love baked beans? This beautiful and tasty side dish was born to be served at cookouts because they go so well with side salads and grilled food items. Having ones with bacon or with a more honey type glaze are great alternatives to the traditional BBQ style baked beans most cookouts serve. Be sure to have a huge pot of these ready to go and they will disappear fast as just about every plate will consist of baked beans.
Corn on the cob: Corn on the cob is great with some melted butter and works well with any cookout meal lineup. Be sure to have plenty of napkins handy for this one, as well as toothpicks! This food item can get things a little messy but with adequate napkins and cob holders it should be too big of a deal.
Fruit: Fruit is always a winner because it's sweet, easy to eat, and healthy for those who want to munch on something but don't want to have to build a plate with salads and breads. Have a big fruit bowl in the center of the table and put a variety of fruits on there like grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
Dessert is something that will be more difficult to talk about because cookouts have a wide variety when it comes to these. I will say that these options are going to be your best choice due to popularity and taste, but you really can't go wrong with a good sweet dessert to serve after a nice grilled meal.
Ice cream: Ice cream (and any variation involving it) is always going to reign supreme for your guests as it's easy to eat, delicious, and east to serve. Flavors range widely, so it's good to have some safe bets like vanilla and chocolate and then be sure to branch out with something more appealing for the crows like cookie dough or rocky road.
Pie: Pies of any type will do well because they are served hot just like the main course and work well with ice cream. Having apple pie is probably the most popular, but any flavor will do and your guests will love to slap a nice scoop of ice cream on top to make it a complete dessert.
Cookies: Cookies are simple and yet highly effective in serving your guests with a quick sweet taste and it takes almost no effort on your part. Just go to the store and buy a few packs of cookies and set them out. Bam!
Cupcakes: Cupcakes offer a sweet dessert taste for an inexpensive price and are easy to handle and enjoy. No need for cutting or scooping, just pull out and enjoy. Having such a huge variety out there I can't recommend anything, but vanilla frosting is my favorite so I'm biased towards cupcakes with vanilla frosting on top.
Enjoy your party!
There you have it! The most popular main meal choices, side dishes, and desserts for your party or cookout. There are literally thousands of other options available for you to serve; this is just a base for you to build upon. People love these items and they are the bestselling foods at deli markets nationwide, so be sure to grab some of these choices and enjoy your cookout especially since the warm weather is upon us. People want to get outside and have fun, so get a cookout going and grill it up!