BBQ Recipes and Father’s Day Gift Ideas to Dial Up Dad’s Summer Grilling

I hate to generalize, but we all know how most dads feel about their grills. So why reinvent the wheel this Father’s Day? Give Dad what he wants: a reason to grill big. We’ve assembled some impressive BBQ recipes that will give him further bragging rights along with some related gift ideas that will dial up this Father’s Day — or any outdoor grilling experience.

Gift Ideas to Get Dad Grilling

Nothing says, “Happy Father’s Day!” like outstanding meat options delivered straight to your door. We checked out the Holy Grail Steak Co. and were blown away by the quality. We’re talking Kobe, American Wagyu, carrot-finished Santa Carota, and Upper Prime Black Angus beef and it’s pretty spectacular. One idea for a special Father’s Day: We did a side-by-side grilling of three different steaks, sliced and served on a platter, and served with chimichurri and homemade steak sauce. So much fun. You could really geek out and add scorecards.

Another on-theme gift idea is a box of goodies from the Zingerman’s Wood-Smoked Foods Pop-Up Shop, happening now. These are smoked foods sourced from around the world, untouched by Liquid Smoke. These foods are imbued with the flavor of real slow-smoking, from Puglian smoked orecchiette pasta to Icelandic birch-smoked sea salt, Spanish Idiazabal smoked cheese to Portuguese smoked trout. Opt for one of the gift collections (Camp Bacon, Wood-Smoked Foods) or pull a bespoke box together that’s just right for your Dad.

Grilled desserts tend to be along fruity lines, which is all good. What’s better than a grilled balsamic-glazed peach half filled with sweetened whipped goat cheese and topped with berry sauce and chopped pecans? But sometimes a big chocolate chip cookie is all that will hit the spot, and happily, NYC’s Levain Bakery is now selling their legendary version in boxes of eight, and available in your grocer’s freezer (we’ve found them at Whole Foods), or they will ship to you directly. They’re fully baked, so rather than warming them in an oven, try putting them in a cast-iron skillet and heating up on the grill instead. Truly scrumptious, and cheaper than a flight to LaGuardia.

Weber’s Char-Grilled Oysters with Bacon-Bourbon-Ginger Butter

Talk about a crowd pleaser: You’ve got bacon, bourbon, AND beautiful, briny oysters. It’s the trifecta of umami. First, you’ll make the bacon-bourbon-ginger butter, which comes together quickly and is a great compound butter to keep in your freezer to throw into sauteed veggies, or on top of a grilled steak. Toss a chunk of it onto a cleaned and prepared oyster, then grill over direct heat with the lid closed, about four minutes. Figure on four to six oysters per person as an appetizer. 

Girl Carnivore’s Savory Grilled Pizza with Fig and Pears

savory pizza with figs
Courtesy of Girl Carnivore

Another terrific grilled starter, this pizza pulls together the best of your charcuterie board — cheese, fruit, and prosciutto. You can make this with homemade dough if you are so inclined but refrigerated pizza dough from Trader Joe’s or elsewhere will work just as well. (Pro tip: if you have a local artisanal pizza place, you can sometimes buy balls of pizza dough directly from them. Worth a try, right? Don’t ask, don’t get.) And skip the bourbon whipped cream, unless you’re envisioning this as a dessert pizza.

Barbecue Bible’s Korean-Style Skirt Steak

barbecue bible skirt steak
Courtesy of Barbecue Bible

OMG. I made a version of this for dinner this past weekend and we were literally licking our fingers because it was So. Good. The punch of the grated ginger and gochujang in the marinade is balanced by brown sugar, and the outside of the steak caramelizes on the grill perfectly. If you have time to make some of chef Bill Kim’s insanely tasty Korean Pesto to accompany it, all the better. 

The Spruce Eats’ Grilled Tuna Steaks with Asian Sesame Crust

Courtesy of The Spruce Eats | Victoria Heydt

This is the kind of dish where you’ve had something similar in your favorite Asian restaurant and have wished you knew how to recreate it at home. Problem solved! To start, buy the freshest tuna available, because you’ll be cooking this tuna largely to get a nice crust on the outside, but the interior will remain rare to medium-rare. This is an easy marinade that you will turn to again and again, because it will work on just about any protein, from tofu to pork.

Aaron Franklin’s Barbecue Brisket

BBQ on Main
Courtesy of BBQ on Main

If you haven’t had the opportunity to head on down to Austin, Texas to enjoy what many consider to be in the pantheon of American BBQ Briskets, you are in for a treat. Aaron Franklin is nothing if not hospitable, and he has willingly shared his seminal brisket recipe with his devoted followers. It’s all about the technique, because with just five ingredients — kosher salt, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, water, and meat — he has elevated brisket to the stratosphere. Unspeakable goodness, plus two additional home-made BBQ sauce recipes to gild that lily.

The Online Grill’s Grilled Cauliflower Steaks

Courtesy of The Online Grill

Not everyone’s a meat eater, and so God created cauliflower as a hearty veggie stand-in. Here, it’s sliced into thick steaks, slicked with oil, and given a good spice rubbing with a mixture of salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, smoked paprika, ginger, and crushed red pepper. A grill mat is recommended, but you could also use a fish or veggie grill basket to keep that cauliflower together when it becomes more tender with the heat. A green and garlicky chimichurri sauce would complete the dish nicely.

Brad Leone’s Miso-y Grilled Potatoes

Courtesy of Bon Appetit

Talk about your umami! This side dish is rocking it. Parboil whole baby Yukon gold potatoes, then grill until lightly charred. Put a cast-iron skillet on the grill to melt butter and miso, then add in garlic and rice vinegar. Throw in the potatoes and give ‘em a good spin in the delectable miso butter, toss in some chopped parsley, and you’ve got a side dish people will talk about for MONTHS.

Food52’s Fully Grilled Caesar Salad

Courtesy of Food52

Everyone’s favorite salad indulgence hits the grill in this recipe from Food52 and Loves Food Loves to Eat. The dressing comes together with a whisk, and then the hearts of romaine are sliced in half lengthwise, brushed with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper, then thrown on the grill to char but not wilt. A split baguette, drizzled with olive oil and grilled, stands in for the croutons. My one quibble: she totally abandons the parmesan cheese, which is Caesar Salad heresy. I would HIGHLY recommend adding a healthy shower of freshly shaved (not grated) parm on top when serving. I mean, come on. It’s the reason you eat this salad.

More from Better:

Julie ChernoffBetter’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from Yale University with a degree in English — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy. She has worked for Boz Scaggs, Rick Bayless, and Wolfgang Puck (not all at the same time); and counts Northlight Theatre and Les Dames d’Escoffier International as two of her favorite nonprofits. She currently serves on the national board of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, an advocacy group addressing hunger issues in the U.S. and Israel for the nearly 46 million people — veterans, children, seniors, tribal nations, and more — who go to bed hungry every night.

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