Sandwiched between two burger buns are the names of our favorite culinary Netflix shows and movies.
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Summer B.B.Queue

Queue rounds up our favorite films and series that inspire our ideal summer B.B.Q.s.

29 June 20227 min read

One of the best parts of summer is the food, and what’s a better place to show off your favorite recipes than a B.B.Q.? However, if supplying a dish for a B.B.Q is more daunting than exciting, look no further than your favorite movies and series for culinary inspiration and direction. From the 80s sticky sweetness in Stranger Things 4, to Jennifer Lopez and her mom Lupe’s beloved family recipe for potato salad in Halftime, there is something for every kind of epicurean adventure you might encounter this summer. Here, the Queue team share what dishes we’ll be serving, and the movies and series that inspired them.

Stranger Things  

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Vecna stands in a decimated area swathed in red. I can already hear "Running up that Hill" playing!

Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower)

Stranger Things 4 takes the Duffer brothers’ eerie disturb-a-thon of 80s pop culture to new heights, and while it might seem an obvious choice, nothing fits this season like mom’s pineapple upside down cake. Not only does the delicious dessert celebrate the Upside Down, it’s a paean to nostalgia, an ode to gooey sweetness atop a skillet-crisped crust. Candied cherries reference the red dye #2 jokes the Hawkins’ crew make to cut the tension and remind us of Vecna’s wrath, and the pineapple is there to celebrate Argyle’s stoner-special Surfer Boy pizza that brings it all home for El and Mike.

The American Barbecue Showdown 


Sylvie Currie brandishes a leg of meat, wearing a purple hanker-chief and brown apron.

Sylvie Currie

Coleslaw is a must-have at any barbecue. Yummy, fiber-rich slaw is (in my mind) scientifically proven to nutritionally offset one’s considerable intake of sugar and saturated fats found in the meats, sauces, fixings, and desserts at any respectable B.B.Q. The yummy roughage that, O.K., does include a lot of sugar, made an appearance at most presentations during the delightful The American Barbecue Showdown (take the generosity amongst competitors from The Great British Baking Show and add a fire pit and a Southern twang). Fan-favorite Sylvie Currie posted this super simple asian slaw on her YouTube channel.

The Great British Baking Show

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Noel Fielding, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, and contestant Rochica stand around a prep counter in the famed tent of The Great British Baking Show.

Rule number one of a B.B.Q. should be, “Save room for dessert!” If you’re spending your summer watching and rewatching episodes of The Great British Baking Show, you might be daunted by the idea of volunteering to bring the dessert to your next barbeque, unless you’ve been taking on hosts Paul and Prue’s technical challenges in your own kitchen. But fear not — an easy option that’s sure to wow the table (or picnic blanket) is a no-bake chocolate chip cheesecake! Decadent and chocolatey, a little cheesy, and very put together, this cheesecake will impress friends and family, and have you saying, “Thank you, but it’s really not as hard as it looks.”

Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. 

Mango and Pistachio Salad with a Side of Domino’s Pizza

Sarma Melngailis brandishes a head of cilantro.

Sarma Melngailis

The only thing juicier and more surprising than the entanglement Sarma Melngailis finds herself in is this salad, which I truly could eat everyday. Each bite of the bitter kale is perfectly matched with the sweet mango, then boom! a crunchy pistachio. It’s all very shocking, yet very enjoyable, just like Bad Vegan.

In a large bowl mix arugula, baby kale, diced mango, chopped cherry tomatoes, halved blackberries, and toasted pistachios. Top it off with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze, and fresh cracked black pepper. If you bring this salad to the B.B.Q., you’ll actually be a very good vegan . . . but there’s always room for a Domino’s pizza, too.

Stranger Things 

Six-pack of Coca Cola Classic

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) wears a hospital gown with wires on her head. She stares at a crumpled can of coke.

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)

Stranger Things might be more well-known for its primordial ooze than its epicurean delights, but one of the indelible images from the latest season of the hit series was the chaotic family dinner from “The Monster and the Superhero” episode. Murray Bauman makes an unexpected visit to the Byer home in California, spurred by Joyce’s discovery that Russians might be holding Hopper captive. The Stranger Things teens come home to a full spread on the table: a brownish bowl of mush commonly known as risotto, a glistening iceberg lettuce salad, dinner rolls, and perhaps the most 80s relic — a can of Coca Cola Classic at every place setting.

The cherry red cans glisten and shine beneath the lights of the Byer household. Is there anything more perfect on a hot summer day than an ice-cold can of Coke? I, for one, am not hungry to re-invent the B.B.Q. wheel — my accessory of the summer will be a six-pack of Americana.

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson

Sloppy Steaks

Tim Robinson stands in the spotlight against a red velvet curtain.

Tim Robinson

I believe the best way to make a statement is through the element of surprise, which my B.B.Q. dish supplies on two levels. First, with the unexpected presence of steak at a barbeque. Second, with the unexpected presence of water slopped all over said steak. 

Popularized by the sketch comedy show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, the so-called “sloppy steak” may out me as one who, in my younger days, lived in a glass house, drove a white Ferrari, and lived for New Year’s Eve, but everyone loves a good callback, right? Keep alive the memories of those dangerous nights at Truffoni’s by bringing a steak to your next B.B.Q. — we like N.Y. strip for this — seasoning and searing well over charcoal, and saucing with a glass of room-temp water, picnic-tableside. Recipe here, if not obvious.

Chef’s Table

Arugula Salad

Dominique Crenn uses a small bottle of sauce to decorate a dish.

Dominique Crenn

So, maybe a simple green salad wouldn’t merit a mention on the Emmy Award-winning docuseries in which chefs including Niki Nakayama, Grant Achatz, and Nancy Silverton hold forth about their culinary inspirations, but there are certain things to recommend it nonetheless: 

It’s easy, it’s healthy and it pairs nicely with almost any barbeque menu. Dress fresh arugula with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a healthy helping of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and you’ve got an instant, effortless side dish. Need something slightly more upscale? The best home cook I know tops the salad with thin slices of seared ahi tuna crusted with sesame seeds. It’s delicious.

Nailed it! 

Strawberry Shortcake

A contestant from Nailed It! makes an intricate layered cake.

The best part of any meal is dessert, and strawberry shortcake at a B.B.Q. is no exception. Its simple ingredients — strawberries, cake, and whipped cream — and easy-to-assemble recipe make it the perfect summertime treat. Seriously, what more could you ask for? For a southern spin, the shortcake can be replaced with a buttery biscuit, which makes for a sweet and savory combination. If you enjoy desserts with a twist, cooking series Nailed It! features very unskilled at-home bakers who are put to the test in a competition to see who can successfully replicate delightful desserts — which typically come out looking extremely twisted. The series, hosted by Nicole Byer, is a joyful, easy watch. And if your strawberry shortcake somehow comes out funky, the Nailed It! contestants are sure to make you feel a bit better.

Salt Fat Acid Heat 


Samin Nosrat stands around a table with five others gesturing to some of the dishes.

Samin Nosrat

Focaccia probably isn’t the first thing you think to bring to your next summer B.B.Q., but I’m a firm believer that there is always room on the table for more bread, regardless of the occasion. 

Given that it’s the ultimate delivery system for oily, salty, crispy goodness, it makes sense that Samin Nosrat explores the recipe on Salt Fat Acid Heat. The mouth-watering series takes viewers to the four corners of the world as its host investigates, cooks, and eats her way through the central principles of what makes food delicious. 

While Samin’s focaccia uses simple ingredients called for in countless recipes, it ingeniously makes use of a saltwater brine, which is poured over the dappled surface of the dough prior to baking, resulting in a perfectly brown, evenly salted exterior. To give this recipe a summery twist, consider topping the loaf with ripe cherry tomatoes before throwing it in the oven!

Fresh, Fried & Crispy

Fried Oreos

Daym Drops holds up a crispy sandwich and looks satisfied.

Daym Drops

In New York City, summers are high season for the fried delicacies of street vendors. Whether it be a stroll through the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy or a boardwalk jaunt at Coney Island, the menu remains consistent and consistently satisfying — corn dogs, funnel cakes, and zeppoles. Chief among these treats are fried Oreos, the sort of thing that at first mention seemed far-fetched, even for me, a lover of all things chocolate and all things fried — but separately. 

However, one skeptical bite in, the flavors coalesce, and the chocolatey center melts to bittersweet perfection. Needless to say, the fried oreo trumps the funnel cake in my shortlist of summertime treats. If you’re craving the crunch of deep-fried goodness, look no further than Fresh, Fried & Crispy, the reality show where guilty pleasures reign supreme. Food critic and host Daym Drops tours the country sampling the best and crunchiest of fried regional cuisine.