The 7 Best Grilling Scenes From Movies & TV

And our best guess at what they're making.

May 26, 2023
Photo by James Ransom

Before you don an apron, wave around tongs, and inevitably burn something on the grill, it’s best to prepare some material. Instead of working through your arsenal of contemporary content (read: TikTok references, Vanderpump Rules commentary, and Succession takes), bring some classic cinematic grilling references to this year’s barbecue. Here are seven of the best grilling scenes from movies and television:

Best Overall Culinary Experience: Paulie’s Cookout in Goodfellas

Goodfellas is a food movie. While Henry’s Copacabana entrance and razor-sliced garlic are perhaps the film’s most memorable culinary moments, Paulie’s grill-side hang, featuring sausage and peppers, cold beer, and a random assortment of likely-uncomfortable, certainly past-their-prime lawn chairs is accurate and somehow aspirational. That is to say, I want one of those sandwiches.

Best Grillside Accessory: Gina vs. Eddie in Barbershop 2

Keke Palmer is right, those burgers are burnt. But who cares? Bernie Mac is working a grill while bathing his feet in a kiddie pool. That’s the most avant garde barbecue set-up I’ve ever seen. (Note to self: Include inflatable pool in the next “10 Things You Need for the Perfect Backyard BBQ” article.)

Most Resourceful Griller: Cousin Eddie in Vegas Vacation

Is Cousin Eddie a sustainable king? His solar-powered plancha says yes. While his all-natural grill definitely adds deep, earthy flavor into that otherwise unseasoned chicken, he might want to consider flavoring his bird with something other than rock.

Biggest Food: The Flintstones BBQ

Everything is bigger at a Flintstones barbecue: the beer bottles, Wilma’s knife, that behemoth leek hanging out beside the cutting board. But the steaks Fred’s tending to make this 140-ounce Texas Road House monster look like an appetizer.

Toughest Flame: Meet The Parents Interrogation

Grilling your future son-in-law absolutely counts as a barbecue.

Most Realistic Griller: Tina’s ‘Everything Is Okay’ Face

Pouting, arguing, driving insults, and someone incinerating an entire grill’s worth of burgers are foundational components of any real family barbecue. It’s in these moments, that we turn to the resilient, important, delicious, impossible-to-ruin hot dog.

Most Informative Grill Master: King Of the Hill BBQ

“Burned, but with a little give. These are medium rare.” King Of the Hill is proof that you don’t need to go to culinary school to learn how to grill the perfect steak.

Thank you to the many people who helped me put together this list, especially the talented, movie-obsessed minds over at Flicc Fam

What's your favorite grilling scene? Let us know in the comments below!
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anniette June 15, 2023
How could anyone forget Tony Soprano, standing at the grill with a string of Italian sausages? Were they hanging around his neck, or have I imagined it?
Steven W. June 1, 2023
The grilled cheese John Favereau's character makes for his son, in Chef.
HalfPint May 26, 2023
Married with Children: not sure which episode. The one where Al was grilling burgers on Labor Day and someone's ashes got mixed into the charcoal in the grill (which Al never cleaned since that was the secret to his famous burgers).