It's summertime, and backyards are bustling and grills are coming out from under cover.

If yours has historically been relegated to burgers and dogs, here are a few new things to do with it that will make the most of your backyard kitchen and maximize dining al fresco.

Grill some brie

Keep it whole, in the rind, brush it with olive oil and toss directly on the grill. Once it’s char-marked and heated through, transfer it to a plate and top with whatever you like to serve your brie with — chutney, caramelized onions — anything goes. When you cut into it it will ooze out, like a gooey baked brie.

Grilled brie

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Grill your corn on the cob

Peel away the husk and silk, then impale each cob on a wood chopstick or bamboo skewer. Brush with oil and grill until tender and char-marked. Brush with butter and/or mayo, sprinkle with chili powder and crumbled feta or queso fresco, and finish with a squeeze of lime. Perfect for backyard eating and for feeding a crowd.

Grilled corn

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Cook a prime rib

I know it’s scary, but once you get a handle on cooking a large piece of meat over indirect heat, it’s a delicious way to make a roast beef.

Prime rib on the grill

  • One 1-2 bone prime rib, about 2 lbs.
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pat your prime rib dry with paper towel, rub all over with a cut clove of garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Preheat your grill to high.

Brown your prime rib for a few minutes on each side, until deep golden and char-marked. Transfer it to a cast iron skillet or aluminum roasting pan, and place it on one side of the grill, turning off the heat underneath that side but leaving it on on the other side.

Close the lid and cook over indirect heat for about 45 to 50 minutes — the temperature should be about 400 F — until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast (make sure it doesn't touch the bone, which conducts heat more efficiently than the meat itself) reads about 130 F for medium-rare.

Remove from the heat and wrap in foil; let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. (The temperature will continue to rise as it sits.)

Serves six.

Prime Rib

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Grill your meatloaf 

If cooking burgers makes you nervous, pick up or bake a meatloaf, then cool, chill and cut into thick slabs. Brush those slabs of meatloaf with barbecue sauce and heat them through on the grill, adding a slice of cheese if you like — everyone loves a meatloaf sandwich, and you won’t have to worry about under or overcooking them.

Meatloaf burder

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Toss fresh seafood on the grill

Marinated raw calamari is fantastic cooked quickly on a hot grill, taking on its smoky flavours. It’s far healthier  and easier to make  than the deep fried battered kind. Also try littleneck clams and mussels in their shells, or peel and eat shrimp.

Grilled calamari

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Grill your pizza 

Raw pizza dough can go straight on a preheated grill and it won’t stick, I promise. Once golden and crunchy (never soggy!) on the bottom, flip it over with tongs and top with sauce, toppings and cheese. Then close the lid and let the cheese melt in the oven-like environment.

Grilled pizza

(Julie Van Rosendaal)