Everyone knows that the excitement and anticipation over Thanksgiving is as much about all of the delicious possibilities of the next day’s leftovers as it is about the meal itself. Well, I say the same can be said of hosting a big backyard barbecue in the summer.
We’ve already covered 11 of the best things you can make with leftover BBQ brisket, so here is a list of creative ways to make the most of all those other favorite barbecue staples once the grill’s been turned off.
Grilled Hamburgers: Sloppy Joes
So you overshot the “Who wants a burger?” count and grilled off a few too many—not to worry; there are plenty of tasty ways to reincarnate those leftover patties. Of course, because there’s nothing scarier than dry, dull, overcooked ground beef (sorry, well-done burger eaters), your big consideration with the reheating process is to keep the meat moist. The easy solution: Crumble up the meat and get saucy. With crispy beef tacos it means adding a little liquid and mixing in a heavy dose of spices and seasonings. For gyros, it’s all about dosing a heavy dollop of tangy, cucumber-fresh tzatziki over the top. But if you’re going to repurpose a barbecue classic, might as well morph it into another perennial summertime favorite. That’s right, we’re talking about guaranteed-to-get-all-over-your-face (and probably a little onto your shirt) throwback delight, Sloppy Joes. Get our Sloppy Joes recipe.
Related Reading: Who Invented Sloppy Joes?
Grilled Chicken: BBQ Chicken Pizza
Forgive me, pizza purists. For, as much as I worship at the altar of a perfect Neapolitan pie with its blistered, chewy dough and simple smattering of fresh mozzarella and really good tomato sauce, I also can’t deny my nostalgic weakness for BBQ chicken pizza. There is a heaping multitude of options when it comes to recipes for leftover grilled chicken, but I’m going to throw down and say this should be one of your top picks. Get our BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe.
Hot Dogs: Pigs in a Blanket
And just like that, the leftovers from yesterday’s barbecue begat today’s cocktail hour snack. Instead of shelling out for cocktail weenies, you might as well just cut up your leftover grilled hot dogs, wrap them in buttery puff pastry, set your oven to bake, and call it a day (with your Mad Men-era cocktail in hand, natch). Get our Pigs in a Blanket recipe.
Related Reading: Why Does Ketchup on a Hot Dog Piss People Off?
Grilled Corn: Summer Corn Chowder
Conjuring the self-restraint required to end up with leftover ears of grilled corn after a barbecue can be a real challenge. But a worthwhile one, as you could easily put those kernels to good use in anything from a refreshing summer salad (like this Mexican-inspired one featuring tomatoes, tomatillos, and avocado dressing); to crispy corn fritters (swoon); or these jalapeño grilled sweet corn muffins. But I’d argue the ultimate move is to swap the smoky, charred kernels for fresh ones in this light summer corn chowder. And let’s be honest, you might as well go for #summergoals gold and throw in some chunks of lobster while you’re at it. Get our Summer Corn Chowder recipe.
Kuhn Rikon Stainless Steel Corn Zipper, $9.98 on Amazon
Allegedly easier than using a knife to cut those kernels off.
Related Reading: The Single-Use Summer Produce Gadgets You’ll Actually Want to Try
Potato Salad: Roasted Potatoes
Pssssst. So, apparently our favorite cold potato side dish has been masking some real next-day potential as a hot roasted side dish. What?! Throw it in the oven and check it out for yourself.
Related Reading: How Long Can Potato Salad Sit at Room Temperature?
Coleslaw: Coleslaw and BBQ Chicken Potato Skins
Ring the alarm bells, because we’ve got a twofer (a.k.a., a two-for-one) special of barbecue leftovers here: Take the leftover chicken that you’re not using for the BBQ chicken pizza mentioned above and that killer coleslaw and make into a truly creative riff on a potato skin. Get our Coleslaw and BBQ Chicken Potato Skins recipe.
Related Reading: How to Make Healthy Coleslaw
Watermelon: Boozy Watermelon Pops
Friendly reminder: That watermelon you didn’t get to at the barbecue because everyone filled up on the mains doesn’t have to live on in dessert territory. Reimagine it as the base of a bright salad with feta and mint, or in a cool, creative, fruity spin on a traditional gazpacho. Or, better yet, as a boozy watermelon pops! Or watermelon margaritas. Or…You get the idea. Get our Boozy Watermelon Pops recipe.