While summer felt as though it arrived in early May this year, this weekend marks the official start with the summer solstice on Sunday. It also happens to be Father’s Day. Why not celebrate them both by firing up the grill?

With Sunday the longest day of the year — the sun setting at 9:03 p.m.— dinner on the deck (or in the garden, or anywhere outside) is all the more attractive. The beauty of the grill is that you can get most of the preparation done ahead of time. Meats can be marinated, vegetables prepped and sauces made earlier in the day, leaving you more time to relax and enjoy the evening.

You may even be able to work in special beverages, adult- and kid-friendly, and, of course, make Dad’s favorite dessert, all without breaking a sweat.

If you’re looking for some meal planning inspiration, check out some barbecue favorites from past columns under Related Coverage on the right.