Barbecuing on Vacation: Summer BBQ Tips

By Marla Cimini

Summer BBQ

A summer barbecue is even more satisfying when you are grilling up your favorite foods while enjoying a well-earned vacation. For a successful barbecue in a vacation rental home, it’s best to plan ahead and be sure you have all the essentials—from the food ingredients to the necessary grilling tools.

With a little extra preparation, these easy summer BBQ tips and recipe ideas will ensure that you and your family have a tasty vacation grilling experience.

Grilling: Gas or Charcoal

There’s often great debate among barbeque enthusiasts when it comes to which is the preferred method - gas or charcoal. If you have a preference, be sure to ask in advance which type of grill your vacation rental has. It’s important to also confirm which grilling tools are available on site such as tongs, spatula and basting brush. And don’t forget the tin foil. Most grill chefs know that you can never have enough tin foil when grilling.

Salmon: Easy seafood grilling

Perfect for grilling, thick salmon pieces cook up quickly and require minimal preparation time. For easy grilling, it’s best to cut the salmon into individual 6-ounce portions, lightly season with salt, pepper and dill and place on foil. After grilling for about 12 minutes (or longer for a “well done” option), you should have a succulent piece of fish. For a creative, sweet and spicy option, marinate the salmon for 15-20 minutes with citrus juice before grilling, then top the salmon with cayenne pepper and cinnamon—or with your own favorite seasonings.

Mini burgers: A twist on tradition

Traditionally, hearty hamburgers are the big stars of a summer barbecue. For a change of pace, mini burgers, or sliders, are a great option too, as they are just as juicy, yet easier to hold and can be topped with a wide range of accompaniments. Beyond lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese, try grilled onions, goat or brie cheese, zesty mustard and a variety of seasonings. Lightly grill the slider buns to compliment the smokey burger flavor.

Grilled Caesar salad: A warm veggie dish

It’s always fun to surprise your family with new barbecue recipes, and a crispy warm Caesar salad is a great way to introduce a healthy addition to a grilled dinner.

Slice two or three heads of romaine lettuce in half, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then place on the grill for about two minutes, until the lettuce becomes slightly wilted and grill marks appear on the bottom. Remove from the heat, chop, and add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese along with your favorite Caesar dressing.

Grilled dessert: Peaches and blueberries

For a sweet end to a successful barbecue, this summer fruit dessert is a snap to make, and best of all, requires minimal clean-up. Simply cut fresh peaches and place the halves (sliced side up) on heavy-duty foil. Add fresh blueberries, a sprinkle of sugar and a dab of butter. Fold foil tightly and grill for about 15 minutes or until tender. Carefully open the foil and allow steam to escape—and enjoy a delectably light and satisfying dessert.


Freelance journalist Marla Cimini has a passion for travel, music and culinary adventures (combining all three whenever possible). Her articles have appeared in USA TODAY and numerous publications worldwide. She is co-author of the book, A Century of Hospitality, a historical exploration of U.S. hotels.