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8 Backyard BBQ Picnic Recipes and Cocktails for Grownups Only

A day of summer fun doesn't have to end at sundown. Fire up the barbecue and grill up a fabulous, mess-free meal accompanied by refreshing cocktails
Grownup backyard barbecue
By: Cara J. Stevens

Picnic recipes are a summer staple, and a great way to get out of the kitchen to enjoy your meals in the great outdoors. No need for kids to have all the fun when holding a backyard barbecue, though! These adult-friendly meals, beverages, and a boozy dessert will help make any evening a delicious treat. Try these picnic recipes and barbecue tricks and share what you think in the comments below!

Bricked Grilled Chicken

No more worries about raw spots in your bone-in chicken. If you want to impress your guests with an unusual cooking style, and take the guesswork out of when it will be ready, wrap a brick in foil and cook your chicken with a brick on top. It crisps up nicely and cooks evenly every time. Try Bobby Flay's recipe for rosemary bricked chicken for a good basic recipe, or pair his technique with your favorite marinade.

Rosemary Skewered Shrimp

Forget soaking bamboo skewers to grill shrimp. Marinate shrimp in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, then thread it on a sprig of rosemary. Whole foods has a nice basic marinade and technique for threading the shrimp, but cook it on the grill instead of in a pan. Just two minutes a side for pre-cooked shrimp or until the shrimp turns pink for raw shrimp.

Bourbon Molasses Steak

Even though the alcohol in the marinade cooks off, the flavor of a bourbon molasses marinade comes through as decidedly grown-up only. Of course, you could omit the alcohol and still get a great flavor, if that's more your thing. Try Weber's no-fail recipe for this deliciously sweet and tangy marinade that makes the steak crispy on the outside and tender pink on the inside.

Fish Tacos

Grilling a whole fish makes it easier to cook for a crowd, and the presentation is exciting as well. This meal works best as a fill-your-own taco bar. Serve it with lightly grilled tortillas, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cotija cheese, and lime. Williams Sonoma has a simple recipe you can start with, then rub on your own favorite Mexican or Southwestern flavors—including chile, paprika, cumin, lime, salt, and cilantro—before grilling.

Grilled Vegetable Packets

Grilling for non-meat-eaters or people with allergies can be a challenge, but when you cook veggies and tofu in a sealed foil pack, you can be sure that the food is self-contained and safe from contamination. Experiment with sliced baby potatoes, zucchini and summer squash, tomatoes, onions, peppers, cauliflower or broccoli—the only trick is to make sure each item is cut to the same size so they all cook evenly. Learn the basics from Reynolds Wrap's grilled vegetable recipe.

Grown-up Banana S'mores

Who says dessert is kids' stuff? After a delicious meal, set these packets on the grill and enjoy! This recipe is inspired by A Taste of Home's honey rum grilled bananas.

Ingredients (per serving)

  • 1/2 banana, sliced lengthwise with peel still on
  • 1 shot or 1.5 ounces of rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 graham crackers
  • 1 square of dark chocolate
  • 1 marshmallow

How to:

  1. Place the banana, skin side up, on the grill for 3 minutes.
  2. Flip over the banana, brush with rum, top with sugar and grill for 1-2 more minutes, skin side down.
  3. Place one graham cracker on a piece of foil
  4. Peel the banana and place it on top of the graham cracker
  5. Place the chocolate and the marshmallow on top of the banana and top with the second graham cracker
  6. Close the foil packet and grill for 3 minutes or until the chocolate and marshmallow have melted.


Soda Cocktails

Don't put away that soda maker away just yet. Create your own blend with a simple fruity syrup and alcohol for a creative, completely personalized cocktail. The folks at Absolut have a few ideas to get you started, or try this fizzy blood orange screwdriver.


  • 8 ounces blood orange soda
  • 1 shot or 1.5 ounces vodka
  • Crushed ice

How to:

Pour ingredients into glass. Stir and enjoy.


Frosty, fresh, and fruity, frozen rosé is the hottest trend of summer 2017.


  • 1 bottle of rosé wine
  • 1 10-ounce bag of frozen strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar or simple syrup
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 tablespoon of grenadine
  • Fresh strawberries for garnish

How to:

Mix all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve in long-stemmed glasses and garnish with a strawberry.

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