Grilling ideas for your summer barbecue

Hoai-Tran Bui, special to

WASHINGTON – Nothing says summer like a good, old-fashioned outdoor barbecue. But if you’re getting tired of the redundant burger and hot dog combination, D.C.’s most popular food bloggers recommend their favorite summer recipes to try out on a sunny day.

Panzanella Salad
From The Bitten Word

Panzanella Salad from The Bitten Word


Grilled bread, fresh tomatoes and grilled zucchini make this salad perfect for summer. (Courtesy Zach Patton, The Bitten Word)

For the salad:

  • 2 cups good-quality bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 small zucchini, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium to large tomatoes, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 10 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 parts olive oil (we used a smoked oil)
  • 1 part balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat grill over medium-high heat. Toss the bread with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Grill lightly on each side, until bread is nicely browned and has grill marks. Remove to a plate.

Toss zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes, onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place grill basket on the grill and transfer vegetables to the basket. Grill, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are nicely caramelized and slightly charred.

Meanwhile, make vinaigrette by combining vinegar, garlic and mustard in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer vegetables to a large bowl or serving dish. Toss with bread, basil and vinaigrette and serve.

Find the recipe on The Bitten Word’s website.

Mexican Corn (using a panini maker)
From Mango & Tomato

Mexican Corn


Don’t have an outdoor grill? No worries. You can still enjoy grilled corn using a panini maker. (Courtesy Mango & Tomato)


  • Corn on the cob
  • Olive oil
  • Bourbon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime juice, plus extra lime wedges
  • Feta cheese
  • Cilantro, chopped

Heat your panini maker. Rub the corn with olive oil and paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the corn in the panini maker, rotating occasionally until it has softened and you can see “grilled marks.”

Drizzle the corn with lime juice, and sprinkle with feta and cilantro. Serve with additional lime wedges.

Find the recipe on Mango & Tomato’s website.

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
From The Bitten Word

Grilled Pimento-Cheese Sandwiches


Entertaining with a vegetarian crowd? These homemade grilled pimento cheese sandwiches are a sure hit. (Courtesy The Bitten Word)


  • 1 pound good-quality, extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound white Vermont cheddar cheese
  • 6 large red roasted red peppers, packed in oil, drained
  • 4 scallions, with most of the green stems removed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Texas Pete (more or less to taste)
  • 3/4 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 slices good-quality white bread, such as country white olive oil

Using a food processor, shred cheeses until finely grated, and then pour cheese into a large bowl. Pulse peppers and scallions in the processor until diced; add them to the cheese. To the cheese mixture, add mayonnaise, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Mix to combine.

Brush one side of each piece of bread with olive oil. Assemble sandwiches: Place a scoop of pimento cheese between two slices of bread, oiled-sides out. Do not overfill, as the cheese can easily ooze out the sides while on the grill.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place sandwiches on grill, top with a baking sheet, and use a heavy object (such as a brick or a large canned good) to press them down. Grill 90 seconds on one side, remove can and baking sheet, flip sandwich and press again. Grill another 90 seconds, then remove sandwiches from grill.

Find the recipe on The Bitten Word’s website.

Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Party Wings
From Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen

Party Wings


If you’re grill’s too crowded (or if you are without), there chicken wings are a great option to offer at a summer party. (Thinkstock)


  • 6 pounds chicken wings
  • 1/4 cups black bean and chile sauce
  • 1/2 cups soy sauce
  • 1/4 cups toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cups maple syrup
  • 1/4 cups molasses
  • 2/3 cups hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cups horseradish
  • 1/4 cups dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup ketchup

Trim wings into three pieces. Reserve the wing tips for stock. In a large bowl or zip bag, combine all the other ingredients, stir well.

Add the chicken and marinate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the wings in a single layer.

Bake the wings, basting and flipping them halfway through. Cook a total of 40 minutes. Make sure to taste a wing when they come out of the oven.

Find the recipe on Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s website.

Grilled Peaches Topped with Mascarpone Cheese
From Capital Cooking

Grilled Peaches Topped with Mascarpone Cheese


Yes, you can even cook dessert on the grill. Impress your guests — and your taste buds — with this recipe. (Courtesy Emily Clack, Capital Cooking)

The peaches:

  • 6 large ripe peaches, halved and pits removed
  • Melted butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar

The mascarpone cheese topping:

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Powdered sugar
  • Mascarpone cheese

Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Mix together butter, cinnamon and a couple tablespoons of brown sugar. Brush over the cut side of the peach and place cut side down on the grill. Baste the top with more of the butter mixture and flip after 2-3 minutes. Cook another 2-3 minutes and transfer peaches cut side up onto a serving platter.

Whip together cream, a few tablespoons of sugar and a couple tablespoons of cheese until light and fluffy. Top the cream on the peaches.

Find the recipe on Capital Cooking’s website.

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