This Father’s Day, skip the whiskey stones, the razor subscriptions, the graphic tees, mugs and ties in favor of a gift that won’t take up cabinet or closet space: a meal so delicious he won’t want to crack jokes between bites. Whether prepared with the help of the littlest assistants or the inevitable fatherly supervision (“Just checking in!”), he’s sure to feel celebrated.
If dad has yet to explore reverse-searing on the grill, consider this recipe your chance to teach him a thing or two. Steven Raichlen’s method borrows elements from both low-and-slow barbecuing and flame-broiling for a result that’s perfectly done on the inside and expertly charred on the outside. Use tri-tip or your preferred thick cut of steak.
A celebratory breakfast is hardly worth the fuss without a stack of syrup-drenched pancakes. With more than 7,000 five-star reviews, this recipe from Alison Roman is dad-approved and make-ahead friendly. In the comments, one reader wrote that she prepares a big batch once a month for her father (with blueberries!), then stacks them between parchment paper and freezes them in a zip-top bag.
Recipe: Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes
At the nexus of veggie burgers and savory pancakes like okonomiyaki lies this delicious hybrid from Sue Li. Instead of featuring the grains and beans that typically anchor veggie patties, these burgers are lightly bound with a little chickpea flour. Shredded green cabbage and a hearty mix of mushrooms make for flavorful smash burgers with a wonderfully crisp texture.
This chopped salad from Alexa Weibel is lively and festive, certainly, but we know why you’re really here. For the ranch-loving dad, the creamy, spicy dressing is the ultimate “I love you,” worth making for a Father’s Day meal, as well as doubling or tripling to keep in the fridge for all future dipping and dressing needs.
For the dad who comes into the kitchen to pick off the bacon plate as the meat’s frying: Consider oven bacon. Ali Slagle’s foolproof method ensures crisp strips for a crowd without the mess and guarantees the diner of honor won’t spoil his breakfast.
Recipe: Oven Bacon
A 10-minute barbecue sauce, kicked up with smoked paprika, goes a long way in elevating simply grilled chicken, pork ribs or even tofu. The beauty in John Willoughby’s recipe is that the ingredients are most likely already in your pantry, saving you a last-minute trip to the store.
Recipe: Simple Barbecue Sauce
The flavors of cacio e pepe, that cheesy, peppery Italian classic, lend themselves well to sweet, lightly charred corn. In this recipe from Emily Fleischaker, pecorino, Parmesan and black pepper infuse softened butter that is then generously lathered onto the warm corn. Bliss!
Save yourself the effort of making a full-blown diner-style breakfast and get bacon, eggs, cheese and pastry on the table all at once with Craig Claiborne’s quiche Lorraine. If you prepare the pie dough and fry the bacon the night before, the kids can help whisk the custard in the morning, and brunch will come together in practically no time at all.
Recipe: Quiche Lorraine
Any kitchen can become an Italian restaurant with this seasonal white Bolognese from Kay Chun. Cream tenderizes the meat and gives this tomatoless sauce a bit of body, while peas, baby spinach and lemon add springy vibrancy that counters all that richness. Ground beef, pork or veal work well, too.
This recipe from Eric Kim has all the trappings of a delectable hibachi-style fried rice: plump shrimp, tiny mixed vegetables and yum yum sauce. It’s easy, too, so kids can help crack in the eggs and stir the rice. If the little ones lend a hand, make sure to beat dad at his own game with this absolutely killer joke: You’re telling me a shrimp fried this rice?
Recipe: Shrimp Fried Rice
No dish says “it’s party time” quite like this bo ssam from the chef David Chang. While the recipe requires some time, the actual preparation is remarkably straightforward: Simply dry brine the pork with salt and granulated sugar, and then toss it in the fridge. In the time it takes the meat to cook until it falls apart, make the ginger-scallion and ssam sauces, the rice, the lettuce leaves and whatever else you’d like.
Maybe dad just wants nachos. The options are endless. Keep things simple, or go all-out with this perfect pile of crispy chips, melty cheese, buttery pinto beans, tender vegetables and a fiery salsa, as Pati Jinich does here. A showering of cilantro and crema complete the party on a platter.
If a trip to the beach isn’t in the cards this summer, Ali Slagle’s recipe for crispy white fish will transport you to a sandy seafood shack. While tartar sauce is often served as a dip after the fact, she employs it during cooking, coating the fish in a homemade version to add flavor and to help the bread crumbs stick.
A word to the wise: Don’t relegate pickles to a sandwich afterthought! The brine is a powerful marinade, as this recipe from Alexa Weibel proves, and chopped pickles add pep to mayonnaise and coleslaw. The results are, arguably, too good: “The only downside is that it’s ruined ordering chicken sandwiches from restaurants for me — this one is better than what you can get eating out,” one reader wrote.
Seared oyster mushrooms make for a satisfying taco filling, as Jocelyn Ramirez demonstrates in this recipe. Cooked in batches, bite-size mushroom pieces get ample space to crisp and brown, not unlike a deliciously golden chicharrón. Top with an avocado-flecked pico de gallo and serve with a chilled Mexican lager or agua fresca.
Recipe: Mushroom Chicharrón Tacos