When you pull out the grill for neighborhood cookouts and family dinners, you might think first of throwing on the traditional hot dog, hamburger or chicken drumstick.

But grilling seafood is a fresh and healthy way to go beyond the tried and true favorites. Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to introduce more fun into meal planning and try new methods and recipes that will have your friends and family looking forward to your next cookout.

Whether it’s shrimp, tuna, swordfish, grouper, snapper, or mahi, you can get creative with grilling fresh seafood, enhancing the delicious flavor of this bounty from our local waters.

Meals full of freshly grilled fish might even remind you of your favorite summer vacation spot, or help you realize why you love to call the Lowcountry home.

There are many ways to grill seafood, but you can’t go wrong with marinating or rubbing in your favorite flavors and seasonings, then cooking it quickly over a hot, well-oiled grill or on a grilling mat. Seafood can be prepared quickly and easily as kabob appetizers, tacos for kids, or as a crowd-pleasing platter.

Grilling is an easy, impressive, and tasty way to utilize freshly caught fish, making you want to fire up your grill every night, all summer long.

Aside from the delicious taste, seafood is a healthy alternative to the traditional summer barbecue fare. It’s lower in fat but higher in nutrients and protein, and the grill produces a direct, high heat that cooks food fast while locking in those nutrients and keeping it moist.

As the weather continues to get warmer, locally sourced seafood is a fantastic way to amp up the flavor of your meals and prevent the oven from heating up your kitchen.

For your next picnic, cookout, or dinner by the pool, visit your local seafood market for a fresh selection of seafood for delicious meals all summer long.

Charles J. Russo III is the owner of Russo’s Fresh Seafood Bluffton. russosfreshseafood.com