What to Cook on Charcoal Grills: Expand Your Barbequing Recipes

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When it comes to cooking on the old charcoal grill, there aren’t many ways you can go wrong. Almost every food group can be cooked on a grill, leaving you with endless options to choose from.

Cook up some fresh cuts of beef, poultry, or fish with a combination of fruits and vegetables. If you’re still worried about what to cook on charcoal grills for the summer season, we can help give you a few ideas on what to do.

What to Cook on Charcoal Grills

Any meal on the grill isn’t complete without meats. Classics include sizzling steaks, brisket, burgers, and hot dogs. However, you can opt for lean cuts of meats such as turkey, poultry, or fish. Either way, the key is to know exactly how to cook these delicious delicacies while locking in all the flavor.

1. Beef Dishes

If you want to go classic with your grilling session, then pile on those juicy hamburgers, sizzling steaks, and shredded beef barbeque dishes. The key to getting that classic flame-broiled taste is to choose your charcoal well. This helps enhance the flavor of the beef and enables you to cook it with minimal seasoning.

Popular add ons to these delicious meals are the classic dry rubs or marinades. But why bother with the extra effort?

Even a plain fatty beef ends up tasting amazing on a grill as long as you last it beforehand. If you’re looking for a minimalistic meal, then these are the way to go as beef requires less cooking time and prep work than other types of meats.

2. Pork Dishes

The next popular type of dish other than beef is probably pork. These include your brisket, bacon wrapped, and pork chops, which are full of flavor and truly complement the grilled charcoal flavor that gets placed into barbequed meat. If you’re not worried about prep time, then pork can be a fun food to barbeque.

You’ll likely find yourself spending at least an hour preparing the meats with dry rubs, marinades, and seasonings. Plus, once you throw a rack on the grill, then you’ll likely need to slow cook it for a few hours while checking on it and lathering it in a marinade. While this isn’t the quickest meal, the results yield a mouth watering tender piece of pork that pairs well with sliders, roasted potatoes, and picnic foods.

3. Poultry Dishes

For those looking to be a bit more health conscious, then poultry is the best alternative to the other two. Barbeque chicken, wings, or even stuffed chicken breasts are excellent summer food that cooks with minimal ingredients and time.

Although you will also find a barbequed turkey to be one of the best poultry dishes, you’ve seen those massive legs at the state fairs and carnivals. If you’re looking to wow your guests and please your stomach, there’s no better poultry than barbequed turkey marinated in a deep smokey sauce.

4. Fish Dishes

Now we’ve moved into the territory of seafood. Grilling seafood can be the most tricky of barbequing because you need to make sure that the fish or shellfish are cooked adequately without getting tough. While it doesn’t require much cook time, it does require a lot of skill.

Some of the popular choices for quick meals include grilled shrimp, teriyaki grilled salmon, and mild white fishes. You can pair these dishes with roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, and even skewers.

5. Vegetables

Lastly, if you’re not in the mood for meat, vegetarian, or are just looking to add a side to your meal, there are plenty of vegetable dishes that work well on the grill. Bacon wrapped asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, and potatoes are just a few that work well with any other grilled meat.  Other popular grilled vegetables are eggplants, scallions, onions, and roasted corn.

What to Cook on Charcoal Grills

6. Vegetarian Dishes

You don’t have to limit yourself on barbequed food just because you choose to practice a vegetarian diet. There is still plenty of popular grilled food that tastes just as good as their meat counterparts. Some favorite dishes you may want to try that are vegetarian are grilled black bean burgers, cheese portobello burgers, grilled carrot hot dogs, veggie burgers, and most meat substitutes.

7. Vegan Dishes

Lastly, the most challenging type of barbeque but still yielding amazing results is vegan food. With a new increase in vegan options, you’ll have plenty of substitutes to choose from. Make tofu skewers, bean-based patties, and the infamous vegan impossible burgers. Other options include grilled vegetable medleys, baked stuffed potatoes, and even cooked seitan.


As you can see, there are so many different barbeque dishes to try. The smokey charcoal flavor enhances each one of them and becomes infused with that fresh grilled taste.

If you’re looking to experiment this upcoming summer, don’t hesitate and try one of the recommended dishes today. There are plenty of other types of recipes out there, so be sure to search for the newest barbequing trends of 2020.

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