Once you know the basics of grilling chicken, shrimp, and steak, you can change things up with kid-friendly marinades, basting and drizzling sauces, and grilled sides. Read on for nine easy and delicious recipes, plus a helping of tips and ideas to spice up your next cookout.
We used flavorful (and budget-friendly!) flank steak for our three steak recipes, which make great family meals. The steak needs tenderizing, though: pound it for a few seconds with a meat mallet (a job some kids will beg to do!), and marinate it for at least an hour. For maximum tenderness, slice the meat across the grain, holding your knife at a 45-degree angle to the cutting board.
This savory Argentinian steak recipe comes with a bold chimichurri sauce that highlights bright flavors like garlic and cilantro. Grilled red and yellow bell peppers make a great optional side.
Kids will love the sweet, salty, and tangy sauce in this Korean-inspired steak recipe. Steamed rice, grilled scallions, and kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage, available at Asian markets) really complement the dish.
A classic Mexican dish gets a fresh update with pineapple and lime juice. Serve with whatever fixings your family enjoys, such as sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.
When it comes to shrimp, these tender seafood morsels cook up quickly and soak up flavors beautifully. They also make a fun presentation threaded on skewers -- which also happens to be a great way to grill them. Use metal or bamboo skewers and space the shrimp well, so that they cook evenly. Shrimp can get mushy from a marinade; stick with basting or finishing sauces like the ones with the three shrimp recipes, and you'll have a winning dinner.
This Italian-inspired dish gets a crispy, salty bite from the prosciutto and savory goodness from the garlic-butter sauce. Serve the shrimp skewers with veggie skewers, like grilled cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.
Introduce kids to Greek flavors with these simple skewers topped with a lemon-herb basting sauce. Serve them with grilled skewers of grilled cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, then top the whole dish with crumbled feta and Kalamata olives.
Sweet, citrus-y, and slightly spicy, these Asian-inspired shrimp skewers go great with steamed rice and grilled pineapple skewers.
A marinade bath helps produce a tasty chicken dish, and a finishing drizzle or dipping sauce boosts the wow factor even more. We used bone-in thighs with the skin on (love that crispy skin!) for these three chicken recipes, but boneless, skinless thighs are also a great option -- they cook faster and are lower in fat.
Introduce your family to the flavors of the Mediterranean with this simple and comforting recipe. Serve the chicken with grilled zucchini and yellow squash slices, and top it all with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of grated Romano cheese.
Familiar kid-favorite ingredients like peanut butter make this sweet-and-sour Southeast Asian chicken dish an instant hit. Serve with grilled veggies, like sliced zucchini and yellow squash, and white rice.
Put a kid-friendly spin on bold Indian flavors with cooling yogurt, tangy lemon juice, and a zesty touch of ginger. Serve the dish with sliced cucumbers and extra curry yogurt sauce.
Tip: Basting adds extra flavor to any grilled dish. Pour a bit of the leftover marinade into a cup and, using a long-handled basting brush, carefully brush it on the meat as it cooks over direct heat. Let the meat cook for at least 3 minutes after the final basting.