Group of people at a cookout with monster energy rehab on a barcart

We’re Sure Your Cookout Is Great, But It Could Be Better

Take it to the next level in six easy steps

In Partnership with Monster Energy

Summer 2021 is already shaping up to be one of the most joyful in recent memory — gathering outdoors with big groups of family and friends is (hallelujah) back with a vengeance, and we’re keen to make the most of these glorious sunny months.

Enter the cookout, the Undisputed Heavyweight Summer Hang Champion since basically forever. Hot sun, cold beverages, delicious aromas coming off the grill, the occasional lawn game … what’s not to like??

The answer to the above is “very little,” particularly if you’ve got a handy blueprint to taking your cookout to the next level — and wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what we’ve got for you right here. From what to cook (and how) to what to drink to how to best while away the hours, we’ve got you covered.

Read on and enjoy that sunshine on your mug.

Consider the Smoker


Listen, we’ve got nothing against the grill — we’ve created guides to grilling top-shelf seafood, grilling healthy options that still taste great, hell, even grilling the whole damn animal. We are staunch and stalwart friends of the grill.

However, we would be remiss if we didn’t suggest that you consider the smoker as an easy (and delicious!) grilling alternative for your cookout. There is a plethora of beginner-friendly options available out there, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that smoking, while more time-consuming than grilling, is largely passive and borderline idiot-proof from a results standpoint. Not to mention that it unlocks a whole host of unexpected culinary delights, from pulled pork sammies to ribs to smoked chicken wings. Tasty grub with less time spent sweating over a grill? That’s a cookout hack if ever we’ve heard of one.

Masterbuilt 2-Door 30″ Propane Smoker

Masterbuilt 30″ Digital Electric Smoker

If Grilling, Consider the Meat


Should you decide that good old-fashioned grill fare is more your speed, first do yourself a favor and go back two paragraphs — burgers and dogs are great, but one’s grilling game can be taken to the next level with minimal effort and a little bit of know-how.

When it comes to your traditional grillin’ meats, we recently connected with a bonafide meat scientist for tips on grilling a better steak, and we also chatted a little while back with a Minneapolis chef on how best to make his hometown’s most famed delicacy: the cheese-stuffed “Juicy Lucy” burger.

Get a Good Cooler and Fill It … Good


Cold bevvies are the lynchpin of a good cookout, and thus a quality cooler is the order of the day. YETI recently dropped their classic Tundra 45 in a pretty slick “Aquifer Blue” colorway, and if you’re in need of something slightly smaller (and less pricey), we’ve also recently been enamored of Taiga’s “Terra” line of 27-quart coolers crafted from hemp-filled polypropylene to reduce petroleum plastic use. Good for your beer, good for the environment. Win-win.

YETI Tundra 45 Hard Cooler

Taiga 27 Quart Terra Hard Cooler

As for what beer to put in there, we recently rounded up and taste-tested 10 of our favorite summer ale options (it is summer, after all) and we’ve also connected of late with a cabal of professional brewers to offer their various takes on what the best beers for grilling are.

As for beer alternatives, the spiked seltzer revolution continues unabated, hard tea is also enjoying a moment, and it’s finally official: drinking rosé over ice is 100% permissible.

Keep the Energy Up


For keeping the party going into the evening, it’s always a good idea to also stock that cooler with a few cans of Monster Energy Rehab. Available in five refreshing flavors, Rehab boasts electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium), vitamins (B3, B5, B6 B12) and caffeine to keep you both hydrated and energized.

Monster Energy Rehab Monster in various flavors

Monster Energy Rehab

Crank Thy Tunes and Elevate Your Tossin’ Game


Speaking of energy, if you’re doing this right you’ll be spending as much of it as possible shooting the breeze with a beverage in hand and playing a game or two with your cookout compatriots to an excellent summer soundtrack.

As far as your tunes go, we recently took the brand-new Sonos Roam portable speaker for a test drive and really enjoyed the results — good size, great sound, nifty features.

Regarding your lawn game of choice, we are going to say this as many times as it takes before it catches on across the country and all Americans feel the same way we do: Molkky is one of the most fun tossin’ games that has ever been invented, not nearly enough people know about it, and we wholeheartedly encourage you to join us in spreading the gospel of this bizarre and super fun Finnish pastime.

Sonos Roam Portable Speaker

Molkky

Be Green


We’re not going to give you a whole lecture here, but suffice it to say that procuring things like compostable plates, cups and flatware is very easy these days and the more of us that use them, the longer we’ll all be able to frolic outside without needing SPF 10,000 sunblock. 

Enjoy your summer!