Summer is made for grilling. Recipes are generally simple and quick—and let’s face it, firing up the coals is really code for spending time outside, sipping a cool drink, and catching up with family and friends. Here are some of our staff’s tips for making the most of the alfresco cooking season:

“One of my favorite grill things is to marinate mushroom caps in a bowl of your standard Italian salad dressing and then put them directly onto the grill. I don’t even like mushrooms that much, but I love these! Also, these vanilla-orange cakes can be done on the grill.” —Dana Pritts, Art Director of 5280 Home, 5280 Traveler, and 5280 Health

“I love pineapple on the grill for dessert. I don’t have a super precise recipe, but it’s simple: Cut up a pineapple (I do circle slices but wedges would probably work too). Mix brown sugar with a bit of cinnamon, coat the pineapple slices in the mixture, and throw them on the grill until they caramelize.” —Amanda Croy, Associate Art Director

“We almost exclusively cook burgers. Simple. Easy. Straightforward. Every once in a while we’ll mix up the patties ourselves with some onions and seasoning, but my fail-safe is to go to Sprouts or Whole Foods and get a couple of their premade burgers. They usually do one with blue cheese and bacon bits mixed in with the meat. That’s pretty good. Sometimes we add a slice of cheddar. Other than that, we cook them medium well and always toast the bun on the grill. Always. My dad did that when I was a kid, and so now I do too.” —Chris Outcalt, Assistant Editor

“I just bought my first gas grill and will be looking for every way possible to mimic charcoal.” —Luc Hatlestad, Articles Editor

“My favorite is this beer can chicken.” —Natasha Gardner, Senior Editor/Digital Editor

“I’ll be honest, the grill is my husband’s domain. He got a heavy duty, hand-made grill a couple years ago, and ever since he’s been experimenting with smoking. You can’t go wrong with a great piece of meat, a dry rub, and many hours over low heat. One of our favorite recipes is this one for lamb barbacoa (except we smoke the meat instead of cooking it in the oven).” —Amanda M. Faison, Food Editor

“Failsafe: Asparagus, olive oil, pepper, salt (or a little garlic salt if that’s your thing). Couple minutes on each side and mmmmmm. I could make a meal out of just this. In fact, I often have.” —Kasey Cordell, Senior Editor

“Portobello mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinegar, then grilled. Plus, grilled corn in the husks.” —Lindsey McKissick, Editorial Assistant

And then we got this: “My wife turned on the gas once and left the grill cover on. I clicked on the flame, and the cover blew open. It sounded like a mini bomb. Needless to say, I peed my pants a little.” —Robert Sanchez, Senior Staff Writer

—Image courtesy Shutterstock

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.