BBQ Recipes That Are Sure To Impress Your Guests

Few things taste more like summer than good old-fashioned BBQ. Because regardless of whether you’re enjoying BBQ wings, chicken, burgers, or pork, you’ll be eating good when your meat comes straight from the grill and is smothered in BBQ sauce. Take advantage of the season and whip up a summery BBQ dressing of your choice next time you’re gearing up to entertain. We’re highlighting six BBQ recipes that are easy to make, messy to eat, and filled with delicious flavors. And while all of these food formulas might not necessarily appease the vegetarians at your next backyard bash, we’ve got a recipe here that will please them too.

1. BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

BBQ recipes

Pulled pork sandwiches | iStock.com

Our first recipe found on Food Network serves up a classic summer lunch or dinner sandwich — BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, to be exact. Is there anything more delectable than sweet and tangy BBQ pork packed between two thick layers of bread? We think not, and after sinking your teeth into one of these sandwiches, we know you won’t either. Whip up your own BBQ sauce via this Food Network recipe and get ready to indulge in BBQ bliss.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds pork shoulder roast
  • 5 to 6 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons Smokey BBQ Rub
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 16 ounces barbeque sauce

Smokey BBQ Rub

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions: Stud the roast with the cloves and rub with the Smokey BBQ Rub. Place the roast in a slow cooker and top with the onions. Cover the roast with 2 cups of water and slow cook for 8 to 10 hours. Remove the pork, discard the cloves and layer of fat, as well as any water and grease remaining in the pot. When the pork is cool enough to handle, use a fork or your hands to shred and pull the meat apart. Return the meat to the slow cooker along with the barbecue sauce. Heat for 1 to 2 hours.

For Smokey BBQ Rub: Combine the granulated and brown sugars, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, salt, mustard, and cayenne in a bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container.

2. BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs

barbecue spareribs with honey garlic glaze

Ribs | iStock.com

Are you craving your baby back? Follow this recipe from Chow for easy BBQ baby back pork ribs and get your fix. ‘Tis the season for meaty ribs and sticky fingers, and now you can master your favorite dish at home. Plan ahead and give yourself time to marinate your meat, and then it’s time to preheat the grill.

Ingredients:

Ribs

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 full racks baby back pork ribs (about 5 to 6 pounds)

BBQ Sauce

  • 1½ cups ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup light or dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika

Directions: Place all of the ingredients except the ribs in a medium bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

Cut 4 (24-by-12-inch) pieces of aluminum foil; set aside.

Pat the ribs dry with paper towels. Remove the thin membrane attached to the underside of the ribs by doing the following: Flip the ribs over so they’re bone-side up. Starting at the end of 1 rack, slide the tip of a paring knife between the membrane and the bone, then lift and cut through the membrane. Grasping the membrane with a paper towel, pull it toward the other end of the rack and completely remove it. Repeat with the second rack.

Cut 1 rack in half crosswise and place the 2 pieces side by side on a sheet of foil. Repeat with the second rack and a second piece of foil.

Evenly coat both sides of the ribs with the spice rub. Pull the foil up and over each set of ribs to create 2 completely enclosed packets.

Place the packets side by side on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet tightly with the remaining 2 pieces of foil.

For the barbecue sauce: Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, whisking occasionally, until the flavors have melded and the sauce has reduced to about 2 cups, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to grill.

To grill the ribs: Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium 350 degrees Fahrenheit to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the ribs from the foil, place them meaty-side up on the grill, and brush them with some of the sauce. Cover the grill and cook for 5 minutes. Flip and brush the ribs and cook another 5 minutes. Continue to cook, flipping and brushing every 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the ribs are heated through and have grill marks, for a total grilling time of 20 minutes.

Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and cut the racks between the bones. Transfer the remaining barbecue sauce to a serving bowl and serve with the ribs.

3. Barbecue Chicken Wings

chicken wings

Chicken wings | iStock.com

Another messy finger food you can make homemade is barbecue chicken wings. This recipe from Epicurious directs you to bake your chicken in the oven, and the accompanying homemade barbecue sauce can even be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. If you have chicken-loving company coming over, prepare your sauce ahead and serve your chicken wings warm. Guests will skip right over the appetizers once they hear wings are for dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 30 chicken wings, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

Directions: Prepare the barbecue sauce ahead of time: Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, to heat through and to blend the flavors, 10 to 12 minutes. Do not boil. Strain to remove the garlic. Cool to room temperature. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 weeks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a sharp knife, separate the chicken wings at the joint. Set aside.

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and toss well with 1 ½ cups of the sauce. Lay the pieces in a single layer on 2 or 3 baking sheets. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, basting once or twice with additional sauce. Serve the wings on a platter and sprinkle with the scallions.

4. Barbecued Chicken

barbecue chicken

Barbecue chicken | iStock.com

But if you’d rather make classic barbecued chicken breasts instead of wings, we can highlight a recipe for that, too. Bon Appétit has a fool-proof formula for barbecued chicken that serves four and enlists a homemade BBQ sauce that isn’t cloyingly sweet. Rather, it’s the perfect blend of spices and flavors that yields a deep and vinegary sauce, and said sauce dresses the poultry that will get perfectly grilled until slightly charred.

Ingredients:

BBQ Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 2 tablespoonsWorcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • Kosher salt

For chicken

  • 1 (3½- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces (breasts halved)
  • 2 tablespoons Spice Rub 

Directions: For BBQ sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until paste turns brick-red, about 2 minutes. Add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vinegar, orange juice, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, and 3 cups water. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by half, 50 to 60 minutes; season with salt.

For chicken: Prepare grill for medium heat. Season chicken with Spice Rub. Grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, 15 to 20 minutes. Continue grilling, turning and basting with barbecue sauce often, until chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit, 8 to 10 minutes longer.

5. Grilled Barbecued Salmon

salmon

Salmon | Thinkstock

It’s time for some omega-3’s, because fish can be perfectly complemented by BBQ sauce, as well. Take this grilled barbecue salmon recipe from Taste of Home as an example. Fresh salmon gets basted with a homemade BBQ sauce while it cooks on the grill, and this meal can be made in 20 minutes or less, with just a handful of ingredients. The brown sugar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and lime are the star ingredients in this marinade, and the fresh salmon fillets never disappoint, either.

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

Directions: In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients; set aside ¼ cup for serving.

Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill salmon, covered, over hot heat or broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting occasionally with barbecue sauce mixture.

Top with reserved sauce; sprinkle with cilantro.

6. Maple Whiskey Barbecue Tofu Sandwiches

raw tofu

Tofu | iStock.com

We’re rounding out our list with a BBQ recipe even vegetarians can enjoy. These maple whiskey barbecue tofu sandwiches will cater directly to vegetarian’s palates, and the recipe from Connoisseurus Veg is surprisingly simple. All you need to do is whip up the maple whiskey barbecue sauce and throw your tofu on the grill just as you do with meat. The tofu will cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, at which time it’ll also soak in the maple whiskey barbecue sauce. The excess barbecue sauce can be saved for the end as an extra garnish, and it’ll rest alongside the fresh veggies and tofu that are packed between two fresh sandwich buns.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup whiskey
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • About 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into strips
  • 4 to 6 sandwich rolls or burger buns, sliced open
Directions: Place tomato paste, maple syrup, whiskey, cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, smoked paprika, black pepper, and cayenne into small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to blend and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes, until thick. While sauce simmers, oil grill and build a medium-high fire or heat gas grill to medium-high.

Slice tofu in half, width-wise, and then slice into thirds or fourths, thickness wise. Rub tofu slabs and veggies lightly with oil.

Place tofu slabs, onions and peppers on grill. Cook tofu just until lightly charred, flip and cook just until lightly charred on opposite sides. Flip and brush with maple whiskey barbecue sauce. Cook about 2 to 3 more minutes, flip and brush the opposite sides with barbecue sauce, and cook about 2 to 3 minutes more, until nicely charred. Reserve excess sauce. Cook veggies until tender and charred.

Stuff rolls with tofu and veggies, and top with remaining barbecue sauce.

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