As A Professional Cook, These Are 7 Things I'd Volunteer To Bring To A Cookout, And 4 I'd Avoid

Hi! I'm Chef Meg

A female chef in an apron and casual pants stands behind a wooden counter in a professional kitchen, smiling

What I'm bringing to the party:

Always about minimal effort, maximal impact.


A close-up image of numerous ice cubes

If there's one thing I have learned in restaurants, it's this: more ice is always a good idea. Pulling up with ice in hand means starting the party off right. It's a simple way to make the party run smoother.

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A plate of shredded barbecued meat served with slices of raw onion on the side


A bowl of succotash featuring corn, lima beans and pieces of bacon on a napkin with a spoonful on the side

4.Potato Salad with Sauce Gribiche

Person adding a final ingredient to a salad in a white bowl on a kitchen counter, with fresh herbs and garlic cloves around. Hands visible, face obscured


A refreshing Hugo spritz in a stemmed glass garnished with a lemon slice and fresh mint leaves, served with a straw

6.Clambake Packets

A close-up of a serving of clams cooked in foil, garnished with herms and spices, arranged on a metal plate

7.Crostata with local fruit

Rustic fruit crostata filled with sliced strawberries and blueberries

What I'm passing on:

It's not personal.

8.Anything fried

A close-up of a cardboard tray filled with seasoned french fries on patterned paper

The key to great fried food is getting it fresh out of the fryer. People eat at a cookout at their leisure, so I wouldn't bother making fried food that inevitably wilts at the grazing table waiting to be picked up. Leave the frying for the post-shin-dig drive-thru run.

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9.Anything on a brioche bun

Close-up of a gourmet burger on a brioche bun, alongside a pickle and a bowl of fries in the background

10.Leafy Green Salad

A person holds tongs, placing fresh lettuce leaves into a white bowl with small dishes of spices and herbs visible in the background

11.Pungent food - dishes with a ton of garlic and onion

Hands peeling garlic on a wooden board with lettuce and chili peppers in the background

And Bon Appetít, that is my list! A little unconventional, but what do you think of my choices? And, what are you bringing to your next barbecue?