6 Dishes You Should Never Bring to a Cookout

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Some foods fare better outdoors than others

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6 Dishes You Should Never Bring to a Cookout

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Some foods fare better outdoors than others. Here's what you avoid bringing to a cookout.

Cheese Plate

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Save the cheese for topping burgers — avoid bringing cheese plates to a cookout. Not only will cheeses go bad in the hot summer sun but most are too fancy for a casual cookout. If cheese is a must, bring a small cooler so that you can keep the cheese fresh all day long and serve it with something simple like crackers or thin slices of crusty bread.

Creamy Salads and Slaws

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Potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw are summer cookout staples but they’re only safe to eat if they’re kept cold (which means they need to be stored in a cooler or refrigerator). If you’re a guest at a cookout, don’t assume the host will have space to keep your salad in cold storage — try making a vinegar-based salad instead. Or, coordinate with the host to make sure there’s ample room in his or her refrigerator or cooler.

Cupcakes

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Kid-friendly and delicious, cupcakes seem like the perfect, portable dessert — until you consider the way the frosting is going to melt under the summer sun and the number of bugs all the sugar will attract. Chocolate chip cookies (which are best when served warm anyway) make a better choice. Plus, you can sandwich two of them together with vanilla ice cream for a delicious frozen treat.

Deli Meat

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A make-your-own-sandwich station may seem like a good idea at a casual cookout, but cold cuts need to be kept cold at all times. Unless you’re keeping them in a cooler, avoid serving them at your cookout. Besides, who wants cold cuts when you’ve got juicy, charbroiled hamburgers and hot dogs?

Jell-O

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Another dessert that will attract bugs and melt under the hot summer sun is Jell-O. Avoid bringing anything gelatin based to your cookout unless you know you have a place to keep it cold. If you want something sweet, watermelon is a better option. It can remain whole until you’re ready to serve it (so, no need to refrigerate or worry about pests) — then, just give the rind a good washing and you’re ready to slice and serve.

Tossed Salad

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We’re all about eating more vegetables but tender lettuces and greens are going to wilt under the hot summer sun. Instead, try bringing vegetables that can be cooked on the grill — marinated slices of zucchini or eggplant or fresh stalks of asparagus make great choices.