8 Grilled Dishes Everyone Should Know How to Make, According to Chefs

You’ll never eat Caesar salad cold again.

Sweet gorgonzola butter
Photo: Victor Protasio

Nothing signals summer like the first barbecue of the season, but you don't have to wait for the weather to warm up before heating the grill. With these chef picks, you'll be on summer mode all year long—and have the grill master skills to prove it. From chicken skewers to Caesar salad, here are the best grilled recipes to add to your repertoire.


"A meatball—whether it's chicken, veal, pork, lamb, or whatever you choose as a base ingredient—is an amazing way to convey the flavors of your liking. The grilling process creates a wonderful crust and a juicy interior. At Le Rigmarole, we make a chicken meatball that combines dark and light meat, cartilage, panko, lemon zest, anchovies, garlic, and leeks—but nothing is stopping us from adding saffron, squid, or kimchi." — Robert Compagnon and Jessica Yang, chefs and co-owners of Michelin-starred Le Rigmarole in Paris

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

"These are always so fun and a definite crowd-pleaser. The grill gives the smoky bacon that charred, crispy touch you can't get in an oven. It also cooks them quickly from the outside, so they're cooked more evenly in the end. Stuff them with anything you can imagine; my go-tos are chèvre goat cheese, chorizo sausage, and ricotta. Since they are sweet and salty, add some acid or heat like vinegar reduction or harissa chili sauce."— Brad Kilgore, chef and restaurateur in Miami

Rib Eye

"Cajun-marinated rib eye is one of our guest-favorite steaks served in the summer, and it's been a staple steak dish at Smith & Wollensky for several years. It's easy to make at home for a BBQ, since the only prep is marinating the steak with Cajun seasoning, onions, and a little bit of oil for a lengthy amount of time (48 hours in advance). It's great when charbroiled or grilled. The rub and marinade create a really nice char and crust, with just a little bit of heat." Matthew King, national director of culinary development and corporate chef at Smith & Wollensky

Short Ribs

"Most may think of a huge T-bone or thick rib eye when thinking of outdoor grilling. As much as I do love these cuts, galbi (Korean-style short ribs) is the perfect outdoor grilling steak—and it's a Korean classic. This is probably one of the best cuts of beef for grilling, with sweet and charred burnt tips that melt in your mouth. It requires a bit of knife work, as well as some time to marinate, but once you get it right, you will be a star of the party."David Shim, executive chef of COTE Korean Steakhouse in NYC & Miami

Korean-Style Short Ribs
Abby Hocking

Whole Chicken

"This is a perfect summer dish that feeds a small party, and pairs well with any side. For the juiciest grilled chicken, first brine the bird and then give it a good herb and spice rub. Grilling over indirect heat will result in a juicy, evenly-cooked chicken." — Michael Beltran, chef of Ariete, Navé, and Chug's Diner in Miami

Caesar Salad

"One of my favorite things to grill is romaine and use that as a Caesar salad base. It elevates the dish by giving it a smoky, almost indulgent flavor profile, which makes it feel incredibly satisfying. Lightly brush romaine hearts cut in half with oil and grill cut-side down for 1 to 3 minutes, until the leaves are slightly charred. Top with all your favorite Caesar salad accoutrements, olive oil, lemon, and lots of black pepper." — Danny Grant, chef and partner at What If Syndicate

Any-Season Caesar salad
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Chicken Skewers

"Everybody should know how to cook kebabs, but the technique for skewering them is just as important. Our favorite is the Lebanese classic shish taouk, marinated chicken cooked on a skewer. The common technique is to skewer relatively large chunks of meat, but we found that slicing the meat a little thinner and threading it back and forth across the skewer is the way to go. Slicing the meat against the grain before you skewer makes the chicken more tender, and results in more surface area being exposed to the marinade, so it penetrates deeper and gives a lot more flavor." Michael Costa, concept chef at José Andrés's Zaytinya in Washington, D.C.


"One of the classic ways you'll find octopus in Mexico is octopus al ajillo (sautéed octopus in garlic), but I like to grill instead of making it in the griddle because it enriches the flavor. I love it as an appetizer on skewers, and it's great served with a mezcal cocktail, since the smoky flavor pairs really well." — Diego Moles, chef de cuisine at Acre Baja in Mexico

Pulpo a la Gallega (Grilled Octopus with Potatoes)
Christopher Testani
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