If you are like me, you crave some inspiration during this crazy time in the world. Something to get you excited about cooking at home on your grill for another night in a row.


Post sponsored by Cowboy Charcoal


So how do you do that? I mean, aren’t there only a few ways to cook on the barbecue?




When I can combine some good meat, spices, Cowboy Charcoal and a fun grilling idea, then I always get an amazing meal. So get ready to hear about my 12 creative grilling ideas to use at home!


1. Reverse Sear your Steak


steak over the coals


For my grilling/cooking experts, reverse searing is a term they have heard a lot recently. It has been all the rage in the cooking community in the past year, and I believe it is the best way to get the inside of your steak perfect while still getting a great outside appearance. 


The idea of reverse searing has three parts:


1. Slowly cook your steak on a low temperature until it hits your ideal internal temperature.

2. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes to redistribute the juices.

3. Sear your steak on a mega hot grill or cast iron for 1-2 minutes per side to get that crust or grill marks.


This is a creative grilling idea to use Cowboy Charcoal and a great piece of meat to make a 5-star dinner at home. For more detailed information, look at my article about reverse searing


2. Reverse Marinating: Fun Grilling Idea/Experiment


So you have heard about Reverse Searing, but have you heard about Reverse Marinating? 


This is not a new method, but something that has been growing in popularity. The idea behind it is based on food science. A few reports are beginning to show that marinating your meat when uncooked does not penetrate the food as deeply as we thought. Instead when the meat fibers have opened up more after cooking, you can add your marinade and re-sear the food.




I have tried it and think it is a fun science experiment to do in your backyard. All you need to do is cook your meat with just seasoning on it. Once it is close to being done, pull it off and place it into a bowl/bag full of the marinade. Let it sit there for 10-15 minutes, then pull it back out and resear it on the grill.


If you try it out, then let me know what you think!


3. Grill on the Coals


dirty steak


Ahhhhh, the most basic way of grilling!


Cooking on hot lump charcoal like Cowboy has been one of my staple pieces for recipe ideas for a long time. One question I get asked a lot is: is it safe?


Answer: Yes, when done correctly! 


Cooking on charcoal requires these things:


1. Real wood lump charcoal

2. Waiting for the coals to become white hot

3. A simple piece of meat to cook!


I have dug deep into this method a lot in the past, and think this is a fun way to grill at home. Some recipe ideas to cook on the coals are ribeyes, skirt steak tacos and lobster tails!


4. Rotisserie Time!


One of my favorite ways to cook any big piece of meat is on a rotisserie!


When you have a mound of pure lump Cowboy Charcoal gently cooking a chicken on the rotisserie, then you are bound to have an amazing meal.




I don’t think I need to explain how a rotisserie works for most people, but there are definitely some tips to making better food on the grill with one:


  • Try marinating your chicken before cooking it: While we did talk about reverse marinating, traditional marinating will help build a layer of oil and sauce to make a great crust and prevent burning while cooking.
  • Learn how to properly truss your food: Trussing is the act of wrapping food in twine to help the food cook easier and more evenly. Knowing how to truss a chicken and a prime rib helps to make a prettier looking dish.
  • Add the Rotisserie to your firepit: I love adding my rotisserie to my fire pit. This is a great way to break the norm and make an event out of the cook.


Some fun recipe ideas for the rotisserie are: Picanha, Tri Tip and Turkey Legs.


5. Braising in Cast Iron


When it comes to cooking inside, all styles and types of cooking are available. So what if I told you that many of these are possible on the grill?


One idea is braising your food in cast iron.


Braising is the act of cooking a piece of meat in a combination of liquids in order to slowly break it down. Many braising recipes use highly intramuscular fatty cuts like lamb shanks or beef ribs that would not be able to be traditionally grilled. One way of doing this on the grill is using a large cast iron dutch oven. 




Preheating the dutch oven over the fire or hot coals then braising the meat is all you need to do. I will say that braising does take some time and patience, so adding coals or wood to keep even temperature is a must!


I recommend getting a good dutch oven, some beef ribs and all the other ingredients to make a simple braised beef rib dinner!


6. Hang it up!


hanging chicken


Hanging meat over the fire is a creative way to grill, but is not for the faint of heart.


If you love cooking brisket low & slow for 10 to 15 hours, then hanging your meat might be the next step in your grilling journey!


The idea behind hanging meat is creating a great fire with tons of residual heat, trussing some meat like chicken, lamb leg or prime rib and hanging it over the fire until it is done. I like to use a dutch oven tri-pod in order to hang my food! Some other simple tips or recipe ideas are these:


  • Prepare to Cook: You should know going in that hanging chicken takes about 7-8 hours per chicken and prime rib can take 3-4 hours. This is a half day cook for most people so be prepared.
  • Truss it well with a soaked string: I recommend soaking your twine in water before trussing the meat to be hung. This will help prevent the twine from overheating and breaking.
  • Try my Hanging Chicken Walkthrough: I created a simple walkthrough for hanging a whole chicken in your backyard. Try it at home now!


7. Use some Skewers


Using skewers is a fun grilling idea


If you have been following me for a while, you know that I love to use skewers over the fire!


Cooking with skewers is a fun way to spice up your dinner while getting a great outside flavor on the food. When cooked over some white hot Cowboy Charcoal, skewers can make the most insanely flavorful crust.




This is because I try to find ways to take off the grill grate and cook the skewers 3-4 inches away from the coals. This will help retain the outside crust on the meat that sometimes would be stripped away by the grill.


Evenmore, don’t settle for just kebab skewer recipes. Try whole skirt steaks, lamb chops or shrimp!


8. Grilling Idea: Use a Shovel


You heard me right, a shovel.


I first saw this technique from Steven Reichlan when he cooked steak on a shovel. This idea is using a food grade shovel to quickly grill your food over the fire. It is very similar to cooking on the coals or cooking in cast iron!




As with both of those, the primary thought is having the right equipment. Make sure to use a real food grade stainless steel shovel as some shovels are not safe to cook with!


Here is a link to getting a food grade stainless steel shovel. Plus, a few good grilling idea recipes are reverse seared ribeye, lobster tails or tuna filets!


9. Baste with Your Marinade


basting with your marinade is a good grilling idea


One simple but effective way of creating more flavor on your food when grilling is basting with your marinade.


The idea is one of two:


  • Boil and Baste: After marinating your meat, take the leftover marinade and boil it over medium-high heat for about 5-10 minutes. While the juices do come in contact with the raw meat, you can boil out the bad bacteria to make it safe to use on the food.
  • Set Aside Before: My personal favorite is before adding the marinade to the meat, set aside about ¼ cup to heat up and baste with later.


One last tip is to make sure and heat up the basting liquid whether it needs to boil or not. This will help prevent the crust and seasoning from being ripped off while you baste the food!


10. Campfire Broiling




Broiling is only a setting on your oven. Wrong, you can do it over the fire!


Broiling is the act of cooking top down at extremely high heats. It helps to get a delicious crispy crust on the outside of your food or to quickly cook a small delicate piece of meat like salmon! A few ways to do this are below:


  • Coals & Tin Foil: One way I like to broil some eggs is to top my cast iron skillet with tin foil and add some white hot Cowboy Charcoal on top. This will heat up and cook the eggs from the top down while preventing the ash from getting into the food.
  • Smoldering Log & Grill: Another way to broil it to add a smoldering log over the top of your skillet or your grill! Place the hot log onto the grill and place your food underneath the grill. This will help melt cheese for nachos or quickly grill the top of salmon without having to flip it.


11. Hot & Fast


hot and fast is a fun creative grilling idea


For many barbecuers, cooking low & slow is the only way to cook! This is absolutely an amazing way to smoke ribs or brisket, but for those that don’t have 15 hours of cooking time in them you can try cooking hot & fast.


Hot and fast is basically just that, cooking at a higher heat so that it speeds up the process to half the time. While some would disagree, I have noticed that many hot and fast cooks end up being just as delicious as their low & slow counterparts!


One way to cook hot & fast is with brisket. My Hot & Fast brisket is a classic for our home when cooking in a hurry! Only 5 hours instead of 10-15. Sounds like a bargain to me!


12. The Right Coals


tailgating with cowboy


In the end, the biggest creative grilling idea at home is having the right fuel. Whether you are gonna try reverse searing, reverse marinating or anything else, you need to have the right coals. The staple piece at my house has always been Cowboy Lump Charcoal and Wood Chunks.


Cowboy makes clean and long lasting fuel that will create delicious flavor on any of your food. Plus, they are easy to get right now! Buy online and pickup at your local hardware store.


Grilling Ideas that are Inspired


My goal is to get people to think outside the box when it comes to grilling. Eating at home is a gift that we get to experience every single day, but it does not need to be mundane.


Go and try a new grilling idea. Switch up the normal for something new. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path.


While we may be at home for a while, our food, specifically our grilling, does not need to suffer. Cheers!


Creative Grilling Ideas to Use at Home


Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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  1. Hola Derek. What kind of grill is the one you have pictured in #12, “The Right Coals”. It is also pictured in your recipe, “Garlic Teriyaki Steak Bites”. It looks like a very versatile and fun cooker to use. Gracias.