Summertime barbecue classic recipes [kicked up a notch]

Summertime is just about upon us and what better way to welcome in those hot lazy days? With a great backyard (or other locations like parks, beaches, etc.) barbecue!

I have taken a few of the classic grilled/barbecued dishes & side dishes and altered them a bit to kick them up a notch — or two. Other recipes in this article that are already kicked up enough I have left them alone. Why mess with perfection, right? So fire up that grill, crack open a cold one and enjoy the flavors of summer!


Mega Crunchy Burger (inspired by Bobby Flay’s Crunchburger)


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean) or ground turkey (90 percent lean)
  • PAM Organic Canola Oil spray
  • 8 slices of Boar’s Head (or your favorite) American cheese
  • 4 Wonder® Classic White Hamburger Buns; toasted on the grill
  • 4 slices of fresh Ugly tomato (optional)
  • 8 leaves iceberg lettuce (optional)
  • 4 thin slices of sweet Vidalia onion (optional)
  • Mega BBQ’s Easy Pickly Remoulade Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 4 handfuls of Cape Cod Kettle potato chips
  • McCormick Grill Mates® Hamburger Seasoning

Yields: 4 Mega Crunchy Burgers


Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion into approximately a 3/4-inch-thick burger. Season both sides of each burger lightly with McCormick Grill Mates® Hamburger Seasoning (or your favorite burger seasoning). Spray the burgers with PAM on one side, place sprayed side down on a clean grill, cook burgers to your temperature preference, top each one with 2 slices of cheese. Put a basting cover during the last minute of cooking to melt cheese through. Place the burgers on the toasted and Easy Pickly Remoulade Sauce dressed bun bottoms and, if desired, top with tomato, lettuce, onion. Pile on the potato chips, top with the bun tops, and serve immediately.

Mega BBQ’s Easy Pickly Remoulade Sauce


  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. drained, finely chopped dill cucumber pickle
  • 1 tsp. French’s mustard
  • 2 tbsp. Ketchup
  • salt to taste
  • pinch or so of black pepper (freshly ground if possible)

Yields: 1 1/4 cups

When creating the Mega Crunch Burger, I tried to keep in mind what the backyard griller will most likely be taking on the road with them to the park, beach or wherever. Most folks are probably going to be making hamburgers anyway. I just took the burger to a new level of flavor and texture!

The “Works” Chicago Style Hot Dog

What’s a barbecue without hot dogs? Here we’re kicking up your summertime cookout with Chi town’s famous Chicago style Hot Dogs!


  • Vienna Beef Hot Dogs
  • Poppy Seed Buns (if you cannot find them, use fresh soft regular hot dog buns)
  • French’s Yellow Mustard
  • Bright “Neon” Green Relish (use sweet pickle relish if no “Neon” relish)
  • Fresh Chopped Vidalia Onions
  • Tomato Wedges
  • Sport Peppers
  • Kosher Dill Pickle Spears
  • Celery Salt


If you have the means to steam your Vienna beef hot dogs, do so. If not, lightly grill your dogs until hot.

Place hot dog in a poppy seed hot dog bun (if poppy seed buns are available at your local bakery, if not, use a fresh soft hot dog bun), top with the “Works” — yellow mustard, bright green relish, onions, 2 tomato wedges (per dog), 1 pickle spear (per dog), 2 sport peppers (per dog) and a dash of celery salt.

Good ‘Ole Fashioned MegaBBQ Drumsticks

A barbecue favorite of kids and adults alike! There are many ways to make BBQ chicken. I have even read recipes calling for grape jelly and hot sauce. My theory is to keep it simple seein’ you’ve got enough to deal with when entertaining.


Set up for indirect cooking on your charcoal grill (put charcoal briquettes under 1/2 of your total cooking area). Add a few soaked mesquite or oak chips over your hot coals if you would like. For gas grill users, crank up the grill, clean when hot, then back down the heat to low on 1/2 the area where the drumsticks will get indirect heat. Keep the other 1/2 of the grill on high to medium high or around 325 degrees.

Sprinkle BBQ rub liberally onto all sides of your drumsticks and rub the rub in (they call it “rub” for a reason!). Rub a small amount of cooking oil onto your grill grates to prevent sticking and place your drumsticks on the side where you do have fire (not the indirect heat side). Turn drumsticks to brown all sides. If you are getting a lot of flare-ups, keep rotating your chicken legs off to the side where there is no fire. When drumsticks are nice and browned up, move them over to the indirect heat side (you may pile them onto one another if you have to). The temperature of the inside of your grill should not be over 350 degrees. Close lid and cook for about 20 minutes or when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Slather on your favorite barbecue sauce to finish off your little masterpieces and serve! The sweet and spicy-ness of the 3 Eyz BBQ rub definitely kicks the drumsticks up a notch or two, while the sweet and tanginess of the Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce balances out the flavors.

Side Dishes

Bacon and Bourbon Baked Beans from Jim Beam Recipes


  • 2 16-oz cans pork & beans
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 4-oz can mushrooms bits & pieces, drained
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Jim Beam® Bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Jim Beam® Barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Cook bacon until crisp. Crumble. In a large pot, combine the beans and remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Drink a shot of Jim Beam. Chase with cold beer. Repeat.

Serves 8-12. (

Classic American-Style Potato Salad

  • 2 pounds red boiling potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs
  • 1 small celery stalk
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet pickle (not relish)
  • 3 scallions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • Sprinkle of Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning (optional)


Place potatoes in a pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer, stirring to ensure even cooking, until a thin-bladed paring knife or a metal skewer inserted into a potato can be removed with no resistance, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Cool slightly.

Cut warm potatoes into 3/4-inch dice with a serrated knife. Layer them in a bowl, seasoning with vinegar, salt and pepper as you go. Cut eggs, celery and pickle in 1/4-inch dice and thinly slice scallions. Add to potatoes, along with parsley. Stir in mayonnaise and mustard until everything is combined. Chill, covered, before serving.

Kick it up a notch and sprinkle a little Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning! TIP: If having kids at your barbecue, sprinkle it on the potato salad that is on your plate (not the whole batch of potato salad).

Summertime is in my opinion the best time to enjoy outdoor barbecuing. I hope you enjoy making and eating the recipes listed above. Stay tuned for more classic summertime recipes as well as desserts (grilled and not grilled).

About A.J.

Owner and creator of Worked in the BBQ industry since 1987. No longer in the restaurant business, however I am enjoying experimenting at home smoking, grilling, barbecuing and writing about my experiences here on!
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