A Summer Barbecue Menu You Can Put Together in Under 2 Hours

We’ve all been there: You come home from a perfect day at the beach and as soon as you’ve washed the sand off your feet…it’s time to start making dinner. Feeding a crowd is no easy task but it turns out, an authentic summer barbecue doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. In fact, whipping up a few summer favorites can be faster and easier than you think. Here’s how to do it in under two hours.

smirnoff ice zero sugar original

First Things First, Get The Drinks Cold

There’s something sacred about a frosty drink on a hot summer day, but finding one that’s refreshing and low-cal at the same time can be a challenge. Our new favorite is Smirnoff Ice Original Zero Sugar. It's a ready-to-drink crowd pleaser that has zero sugar, only 100 calories and tastes like a thirst-quenching blend of citrus and sweet. The best part? It has an effort level as low as its sugar content. It’s our go-to choice for a summer sipper and the perfect drink for a last-minute party.

grilled flank steak with lemon herb sauce recipe
Photo: Eric Moran/Styling: Emily McDowell

Next, Move On To The Marinades

Grilling steaks for dinner is a no-brainer, but sometimes the finished product can be, well, a little bland. Luckily, this Grilled Flank Steak with Lemon-Herb Sauce (paired with a Smirnoff Zero-Sugar Ice on hand to wash it all down) is the perfect entrée for your summer BBQ. For big, bold flavor, marinate your steak for one hour in a savory blend of Worcestershire sauce, malt vinegar, garlic, chile powder and herbs before it goes onto the grill. Get this step out of the way first and the rest is a breeze.

watermelon feta skewers recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Emily McDowell

Assemble The Appetizer

While your steak is marinating, corral a sous chef (or two) and have them help you assemble these Grilled Watermelon Feta Skewers. They look so much fancier than they actually are, and grilling them elevates the snack one step further. Sweet, salty and juicy and they make for an easy, no-fuss app.

grilled corn with spicy aioli recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Emily McDowell

Then Move On To The Entrée And Sides

Since you already have the grill hot, why not throw on everyone’s favorite summer vegetable? Corn is a staple at most summer dinner tables but this recipe for Grilled Corn with Spicy Aioli takes the classic a bit further. Creamy, flavorful and fiery, this is an upgrade you seriously shouldn’t skip. Once the corn is finished, toss on the steak and dinner is served.

chocolate chip cookie dough dip recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Emily McDowell

And Don’t Forget Dessert

We live by the mantra: “It’s not a party without dip,” and this Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Dip makes for a pretty special party. Not crazy about cookies (we’ll address that at another time)? Try this cake batter version. They both come together in 15 minutes flat, and are a serve-yourself dream. Just add graham crackers and vanilla wafers.

purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor