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caribbean food

No island, no shoes, no problem!

Pack the cooler and a portable grill and take this island-themed party to a beach or campground near you. We'll share some of our favorite Caribbean recipes as well as must-have accessories for packing and transporting your island-themed feast. The mostly prepped-ahead recipes here are easy to stow and finish on the spot, so you can enjoy the sun and sand as well as the food. Enjoy!

Caribbean Cookout Accessories

Corkcicle Canteen

This 60-ounce vessel keeps cocktails and other contents ice-cold for 25 hours, even in the sun. $50 at corkcicle.com.

corkcicle water bottle
Photo: Kim Cornelison

Yeti Coolers

With up to 2 inches of insulation, Yeti's built-to-last coolers keep contents cold in triple-digit heat. The 5-gallon Roadie 20 (above) is ideal for beverages. And the Tundra 45, which we used to pack all the food for this party, holds 8.7 gallons. $200 for Roadie 20, $300 for Tundra 45 at yeti.com.

white yeti cooler
Photo: Kim Cornelison

Veranda Melamine Platter in Coral

The texture of this shatterproof and BPA-free melamine platter mimics the look of stoneware. $35 for platter ($44 for set of four coordinating salad plates) at taghomedecor.com.

coral platter
Photo: Kim Cornelison

Weber Q 1200 Portable Gas Grill

Side handles and electronic ignition make this cute and compact orange grill easy to carry and use. A tiny cylinder of propane fuels the 8,500-BTU burners, and fold out sides add room for prep. $209 at lowes.com.

weber portable grill
Photo: Kim Cornelison

Nico Melamine Dinner Plates

Bring the look of fine ceramics to the beach or backyard without the weight or worry. $9 each at crateandbarrel.com

orange and white plates
Photo: Kim Cornelison

Beige Hampton Beach Blanket

This Turkish-cotton throw is as soft and absorbent as it is beautiful. With its delicate herringbone weave, it's big enough (72x40 inches) for a picnic spread, quick-drying enough to be used as a towel, and thick enough to keep you warm after sundown. $53 at Turkish-t.com.

orange and white plates
Photo: Kim Cornelison

Caribbean-Inspired Recipes

Chill the chops in a tasty marinade, then grill at will.

caribbean pork chops
Photo: Kim Cornelison

Transport and reheat tropical rice in single-serve foil packets

coconut lime rice
Photo: Kim Cornelison

Serve with chips or rice and chops. Even better: Do both!

pineapple salsa
Photo: Kim Cornelison

"This is the recipe for traditional Cuban/Puerto Rican pastries that can only be found in some places. Our family goes crazy for them! Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired." —geekchic99

pineapple salsa
Photo: Kim Cornelison

Channel laid-back island spirit with this three-ingredient rum cocktail. Pretty fruit skewers double as drink stirrer and snack.

pineapple salsa
Photo: Kim Cornelison

More: Check out our collection of Caribbean Recipes.

Cooler Smarts

To take this party on the road, marinate the pork chops and prepare the rice, salsa, pastries, and fruit for the cocktails ahead of time. Pack everything in one large (35- to 48-quart) cooler. Here's how:

  1. Cover bottom of cooler evenly with ice.
  2. Store Grilled Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops with their marinade in two 1-gallon zip-top plastic freezer bags, along with any other uncooked meat, on the lowest level, beneath more ice and away from other foods.
  3. Next, add foods that will be heated through, such as the Coconut-Lime Rice and Guava Pastries, stored in zip-top plastic freezer bags.
  4. On the very top layer, farthest away from raw meat, put foods that will not be heated through, such as containers of Pineapple Salsa and fruit skewer garnishes for the Captain's Vacation Cocktail.
  5. Add more ice to the cooler, taking care to get ice in all the nooks and crannies.
  6. In a separate, smaller cooler, pack orange juice, rum, and soda in their original containers for the Captain's Vacation Cocktail. Add beer, soda, frozen water bottles, and plenty of ice.

Chill Out

To keep food out of the temperature danger zone, your cooler should be colder than 40°. How long the cooler stays cold depends on the temperature of the food going into it, the quality of the cooler, and how often it's opened. For insurance, pack extra ice in another cooler to add as needed. And use a smaller cooler for beverages, since the drink cooler tends to be opened more frequently.

Don't Forget!

  • Foil, plastic bags for wash-me-later dishes, and garbage bags for disposables
  • Pitcher, cups, plates, silverware, napkins, and paper towels
  • Grilling tongs, hot pads, and oven mitts
  • Propane; or charcoal, matches, and lighter fluid
  • Low-tech entertainment: cards, beach balls, inflatables, Frisbees

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.