It’s a rite of passage on Father’s Day—grilling with dad. To kids whose eyes barely reach above the grill grate, the opportunity to stand so perilously close to the action on their pops’ big day feels giddily “big-kid.” Dads aren’t just flipping burgers or searing ribs, from kids’ perspectives, they are the pied pipers of dancing flames, the tamers of smoky hellfire and the courageous warriors of weekend meals.
And so, for such a day and for such a warrior, a menu of equal valor is only appropriate.
The following Father’s Day recipes are some of our very favorites—none are too complicated or involved, and best of all, these eats can be easily prepared with the help of a little sidekick (or a few!). Check them out below and follow our subsequent tips on how to keep kids involved and safe throughout the prep.
Green Salad with Grilled Apple
Make this salad with a sweet honey, apple dressing the first order of business. The only ingredient here in need of grilling is the crunchy apple slices (which can be easily done alongside our steak fries). To keep everyone safe, before the grill gets fired up, mark the area around the grill and tell kids they must not enter until Dad calls for their help (sidekicks only come to the rescue during perilous times after all). Put young kids in charge of plucking grapes and tossing greens.
Sweet and Savory Sweet Potato Steak Fries
When preparing this timeless side, potatoes can be tough to cut, so have older kids or an adult do the slicing. Once sliced, let younger kids use their hands to toss the sticks with the brown-sugar-spiced seasoning in a large bowl. Leave the placing and tossing of the fries on the grill to Dad.
Ahh here’s the main event. Sticky, sweet ribs. Kids will get a total kick out of them because they are prepared with a soda-spiked root beer marinade. The grill work is fast (about 5 minuets the ribs are baked beforehand) allowing Dad to show the kids how to grill without losing their attention span or his patience.
Fresh Strawberry Granita
Our only menu item not singed by the grill, this cool, fresh summertime dessert takes just four ingredients and should be prepared ahead of time. When serving time approaches, pop it out of the freezer and have the kids scrape the granita into shaved ice with the aid of a fork. And keep in mind, you can make granita in a variety of flavors: citrus granita and blueberry granita are also favorites.
Watch Relish Chef Brian Morris and his son Jack take on this menu with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on the Today Show:
—By Emily Arno, Relish Multimedia Editor