18 Foods You Should Never Serve at a Cookout

0 Ratings

Knowing how to assemble the perfect cheese plate is a great skill any host should have. But save the cheese for another dinner party. Dairy and the sun are not friends, so that blue cheese that was so creamy and flavorful when you bought it will be a hot, stinky mess in a matter of moments.



Chocolate melts in the sun, so its time at a summertime cookout is going to be very, very limited. While this sweet treat is always a crowd pleaser, it's best to save the chocolate-based desserts for Halloween.


Dark beer

We love stouts and porters, but in the summer these heavy, dark beers can be a little too much. Not only does their taste get stronger as they warm up, but dark beers tend to fill you up faster, leaving less room in your stomach for all that perfectly grilled chicken. Consider serving light lagers, pale ales and the healthiest beers instead.


Deviled eggs

Deviled eggs are one of those retro appetizers that have stood the test of time, and they're a great hors d'oeuvre to make or bring to most parties. But the egg yolk-and-mayonnaise-based filling inside a perfectly hardboiled egg can spoil quickly.


Drinks in glass bottles

If you're hosting your cookout in the park, at the beach or by the pool, having beer, wine and soda in glass bottles can be hazardous for bare feet and pets. Keep your drinks canned or in plastic cups.


Fatty steaks

If you really want to impress your friends and family, you can grill the perfect steak for your cookout. But cooking red meat with big chunks of fat in it is less than appetizing and less than healthy. Plus, imagine trying to cut through a big chunk of fat with a plastic fork and knife! It won't go so well. Know how to pick out the perfect steak at the grocery store.


Flavored chips only

Sour cream and onion chips are iconic, and barbecue chips pair wonderfully with burgers and hot dogs. But if you're going to have a bowl full of snacks at your cookout, be sure to have the best classic potato chips set out alongside any crazy potato chip flavors.


Fried food

Burgers and french fries are a seriously iconic duo, but don't bring a fresh batch of delicious homemade, deep-fried potatoes to the yard. While delicious, fried foods are best eaten hot and fresh. When they sit outside on the buffet table, fried foods get cold and soggy. And that's just sad.


Green salad

We love trying to get your daily servings of vegetables in, even during a party. But forego the green salad at your cookout; the lettuce will wilt in the heat and the dressings will spoil before any guest can actually take a bite. Instead, serve delicious vegetables that you can grill.


Hot drinks

An ice-cold beer or a beautiful frozen cocktail on a hot summer day is refreshing and crisp. Warm beer and soda that have been sitting in the sun are... less than great. In the hot summer sun, beverages get flat quickly, and the flavor is less bright. If you're serving drinks, be sure to keep them in a cooler. And no matter what you do, avoid serving hot chocolate or hot coffee at your cookout. Nobody wants that when it's 90 degrees outside.


Ice cream

While no summer is complete without visiting an iconic ice cream stand or a quirky ice cream truck, it may not be the best thing to serve at your cookout. Summertime is hot; ice cream is cold. And unless you're keeping your sundae bar indoors, chances are your sweet treat will be a soupy mess before your first guest gets to take a bite.


Mayonnaise-based salads

There are a lot of amazing salads that aren't salad that you need to serve at a barbecue. But if your macaroni salad, pasta salad or cucumber salad happens to be mayonnaise-based, consider serving it in the fall at your next tailgate. Mayo + sunshine = food poisoning. Consider serving a delicious, vinegar-based side instead. There happen to be some pretty perfect potato salad recipes that just might fit your needs.


Meat smothered in sauce

No summer is complete without delicious barbecued ribs or a nice piece of grilled chicken with barbecue sauce, but these foods can get messy fast. Plus, barbecue sauce is loaded with sugar, making it one of the unhealthiest things to eat at a barbecue.


Plain buns

If you're cooking burgers and hot dogs, then of course you need a bun in order to serve them properly. But serving plain ol' buns straight from a plastic bag can downgrade even the best burger recipes. Spring for a potato roll or bakery bun with sesame seeds; the difference is notable. And if you really want to wow your guests, throw that bun on the grill and toast it.



There are a lot of great foods to serve at a potluck or cookout, but for the summertime, skip the soup. Duh! It's hot and hard to eat when you're standing around talking with friends and family. Save all those scrumptious soup and stew recipes for fall family dinners instead.



Sushi is one of the absolute worst foods that you can bring to a party, especially a barbecue. Not only is this raw fish dish a divisive food that not everyone loves, it needs to be eaten quickly, cold and fresh in order to avoid food poisoning. That makes it less than optimal for summer soirees.


Unseasoned food

Serving a dry, bland piece of meat is one of the top mistakes people make when grilling chicken or any type of protein. Be sure to use your salt, pepper and garlic powder. Plus, there are plenty of simple yet delicious marinades that will up your grilling game.


Vegan food

Unless you're vegan and all of your guests are as well, try to refrain from serving exclusively plant-based options at your cookout. It's considerate to have Beyond Burgers, tofu dogs, veggie kebabs and other vegetarian-friendly barbecue dishes for all the herbivores in your life, but you want to have grilled chicken, ribs and sausages at your barbecue as well. And of course, you need to have the absolute best recipes for these cookout classics.

More from The Daily Meal:

23 No-Cook Barbecue Sides

Healthy Swaps to Make at Any Barbecue

How to Grill Salmon Perfectly Every Time

50 Cold Dishes for Hot Days

10 Ways You've Been Cooking Backyard Burgers All Wrong

No comments found. Sign up or Login to rate and review content.

More Stories