IT’S SUMMERTIME and the living is especially easy, because the peaches are ripe, the watermelon is juicy and the steaks are seared and smoky. The sound of ice clinking in highball glasses rings through the streets. Out on the porch, fresh lemonade’s being poured. Someone’s harvesting sweet sungold tomatoes. The neighbors are smoking a brisket, and across the street they’re grilling burgers and dogs. Somewhere, an ice chest has just lost its last bottle of beer. And no one misses the ice cream man, because we’ve whipped up a batch of gelato at home.

Summer should always be this idyllic, but sometimes achieving that perfect golden skin on your chicken or spiking those cocktails with just the right amount of lemon juice is more challenging than we’re willing to let on. Hence this ultimate guide to summer food (and drink). Dog-ear the corners, splatter sauce on it—just keep it away from that pile of newspapers you use to fuel your flames.

Read More: The Food Lover’s Guide to Summer Cocktails and Summer Entertaining