Four Unique International Dishes for Your Summer Cookout

Beef Suya

Summer is here! The long days of endless sunshine beside the pool or a lake, picnics, and holidays are perfect for the summer cookout! Every year we gather 'round the BBQ or campfire, and the tradition of cooking up the iconic hotdog or hamburger seems to happen every summer. While there is nothing wrong with this delicious cookout food, have you ever wished for something different? Something a bit more unusual and unexpected for a cookout but will remain a hit for all?

We're here to help you make the most memorable cookout yet! Here are four unusual cookout ideas to take your next one to a new, delicious level!

Bring the Heat

You may want to take note and try Beef Suya for the spice lovers out there. Beef Suya, or Nigerian Beef Griller Skewers, is a well-loved street food in Western Africa created with a blend of spices and ground peanuts. Suya is street food at its finest. Think nutty, spicy, tender beef threaded onto skewered, then grilled to a smokey perfection, laid in paper or foil, or on a bed of fresh tomatoes, sliced red onions, and a sprinkling of yajin kuli. However, if yajin kuli is unavailable, crushed red pepper or cayenne also works.


  • 1 cup roasted, salted nuts ground or finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
  • Optional: Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish.

    For the Suya:
  • 1 pound beef flank, sirloin steak, or tri-tip roast, sliced thinly against the grain
  • 3 tablespoons peanut or neutral-flavored oil, like canola

How to Make:

  1. Combine ground peanuts, ginger, paprika, onion powder, salt, garlic, cayenne, and ground cloves in a small mixing bowl. Stir to mix thoroughly. Set aside.

  2. For the Suya, wrap beef tightly in plastic wrap, place it on a small plate or baking sheet, and set it in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes to partially freeze it. Freezing the beef will ensure you can slice it thinly with ease. After the beef is partially frozen, remove it from the freezer and unwrap it. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut beef against the grain into 2-inch long, 1-inch wide, and 1/8th-inch thick strips.

  3. Place the sliced beef into a large mixing bowl and drizzle the peanut or neutral oil over it until covered. Sprinkle in ½ of your combined spice mix you set aside earlier, preserving the other half. Then carefully toss to coat the beef, then massage and rub spice into the meat until it evenly coats. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

  4. After marinating, remove from fridge. Working with one piece at a time, thread beef onto skewers. (If using wooden skewers, ensure they have been soaking in water for several hours before use.) Pierce the beef strip twice to secure it, then bunch meat tightly onto the skewer until no parts of the skewer can be seen, but for a 2-inch space at the bottom that will become the handle. Repeat this process with the remaining beef.

  5. Heat up your grill or BBQ to roughly 400 degrees F. Once heated, oil a paper towel and use tongs to oil the grate thoroughly.

  6. Place the beef Suya directly over the coals on the hottest side. Cook, turning frequently, until the beef has a slight golden char and a piece of beef looks cooked through when cut in half—roughly 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and let rest for 2-3 minutes.

  7. Serve with a sprinkle of the reserved spice mix with the Suya over a bed of onions and tomatoes, and garnish with cilantro.

Masala Bhutta (Indian Style Roasted Corn)

You've probably seen oven-roasted corn on the cob, Mexican roasted corn, and grilled corn on the cob—but have you ever tried Masala Bhutta? Indian Roasted Corn is a popular street food that will kick all other grilled corn to the side, and it's one of the easiest, tastiest sides for any summer cookout!


  • 3-4 sweet corn ears. If roasting 5-8, double the recipe as needed
  • One-half lemon or lime
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder or paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chaat masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

How to Make:

  1. Take the corn cobs out of their husks by grabbing the leaves and pulling them down. Try and remove the corn silk as much as possible. Repeat until all corn is husked.

  2. Combine the red chili powder, paprika, salt, and chaat masala powder in a small bowl with ghee or melted butter.

  3. Place corn on a wire roaster or open fire and roast over medium-high heat, rotating it every 40-50 seconds so it burns evenly. Keep turning until all sides are evenly charred and cooked.

  4. Once roasted, quickly brush each corn with butter while hot with the ghee or butter and spice mix, sprinkle with salt, squeeze lime or lemon juice over each, sprinkle with cilantro garnish if desired, then serve, and enjoy!

Unusual Side-Salads

Unique and flavorful sides are just as essential as the main course in a summer cookout. If you want to be the talk of the cookout, perhaps for weeks after, consider trying some of these international salads to bring a unique flavor to the cookout!

  • Nộm. Nộm is a traditional Vietnamese salad that combines fresh, grated vegetables like cabbage, turnip, papaya, green mango, banana flowers, cucumber slices, and sometimes even shredded pork. Other common ingredients you can experiment with include hot chili peppers, roasted ground nuts, and grated carrots. Nộm is what it is called in the north, while in Southern Vietnam, the salad is known as gỏi. The salad is typically dressed with nước chấm, a tangy and sweet Vietnamese sauce made with fish sauce, fresh lime, garlic, and sugar.

  • Ghost Chicken. Ghost Chicken is a salad from the Yunnan Province, China. The salad consists of shredded chicken, herbs such as ginger, basil, coriander, Thai bird's eye chili, sawtooth, cardamom, and lime juice.

Seafood Delight

Have someone at the cookout that's not a fan of beef, pork, or chicken but loves seafood? You might become their favorite chef when you serve them Pla Muek Yang or Thai Charred Squid. This grilled squid dish is covered in a finger-licking tangy sauce and topped with peanuts and cilantro and is also a beloved street food in Thailand. Even better, the garlic, chili, and sugar paste is a cinch to make, and with a grill press, the squid cooks in no less than 4-6 minutes, and to finish it off, you sprinkle it with peanuts and cilantro.

This summer, we hope we've helped you amaze, delight, and wow you, your family, or your guest's tastebuds with these delectable unusual summer cookout suggestions! At Wholey's, we have everything you need to make summer amazingly tasty and delivered right to your door!