Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have sacrificed their lives serving in our armed services. In their honor, we come together at the start of summer to celebrate with friends and family—traditionally through the annual tradition of al fresco cooking and feasting.
Don’t wait till the the last minute to plan out your
Memorial Day menus. Whether you’re planning a backyard family cookout or packing for a fancy picnic, we’ve got you covered with the best of summer eats. That means our favorite burger recipes, the absolute juiciest steaks, and even grill-friendly veggies worth busting out the charcoal for.
Once you’ve got all our
essential grilling tools, pour yourself some sangria and fire up the grill for the 25 most mouthwatering Memorial Day recipes in our arsenal.
Connecticut-Style Lobster Rolls
These hickory-smoked chicken sandwiches are served with a tangy, mayonnaise-based white sauce.
Get the recipe for Alabama-Style Chicken Sandwiches with White Sauce »
The all-brisket patty for this burger—from San Francisco’s
Wes Rowe, a pop-up burger slinger—is grilled, but in a cast-iron pan over the flame.
Tender grilled red-skinned potatoes are doused in herb vinaigrette in this warm salad.
Get the recipe for Warm Red Potato Salad »
This substantial summer salad is a tribute to the “everything tastes better grilled” philosophy of cooking, one with which I am currently obsessed. Here, watermelons get even sweeter from the flames, shrimp gets crisp and plump, and avocado turns deliciously smoky.
Get the recipe for Grilled Watermelon, Avocado, and Shrimp Salad »
In this elegant dessert, cantaloupe is grilled until it caramelizes and is then dressed with agrodolce, a sour-sweet Italian sauce made by reducing vinegar and sugar.
Get the recipe for Grilled Cantaloupe with Peach Agrodolce »
Grilling then smoking these ribs gives them an intense crust and soulful flavor.
Get the recipe for Char-Smoked Baby Back Ribs »
Fresh heads of romaine lettuce are split down the middle, grilled until charred and smoky, and then topped with blue cheese and bacon for this satisfying salad.
Get the recipe for Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese and Bacon »
Season the steak off the grill to accentuate the flavor of this smoky, slow-grilled ribeye.
Get the recipe for Grilled Bone-In Ribeye »
This cool, creamy potato salad is spiked with pickle relish and red onion.
Get the recipe for Potato Salad with Red Onion »
Unlike other stone fruit, apricots stay quite resilient when ripe and stand up to a quick sear on the grill with aplomb. Once the flesh warms through and its juices bake a bit, the apricot takes on deeper flavors that pair nicely with a spicy bourbon or rye and an equally spicy ginger beer. Swap out apricots for peaches or nectarines as the summer gets on toward the dog days.
Get the recipe for Seared Apricot Ginger Cooler »
In this offbeat slaw from chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston, raw red cabbage adds a textural contrast to the grilled green cabbage, and a zippy, spicy-sweet-salty dressing goes well with the charred bits.
Get the recipe for Charred Cabbage Slaw »
These crisp mini-sandwiches are deep-fried and filled with molten cheese.
Get the recipe for Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches »
Grilled Pineapple Margarita
Buttery corn, fresh crab, and Old Bay-spiced potato chips are piled on top this Maryland-inspired hot dog.
Get the recipe for Maryland Crab Hot Dog »
Parker’s BBQ in Wilson, North Carolina, famous for its Family Platter with shatteringly crisp fried chicken, goes through seven to eight thousand chickens a week. A favorite of chef Elizabeth Karmel’s, this super-simple recipe lets the flavor of the chicken shine.
Get the recipe for Fried Chicken »
This burger, inspired by one created in
Modernist Cuisine co-author Nathan Myhrvold’s culinary lab, is topped with a tangy cream and vermouth sauce. Adding egg yolks to freshly ground meat makes for a supremely rich burger. Get the recipe for the Ultimate Grilled Cheeseburger »
Sliced, grilled vegetables served in a simple marinade or vinaigrette are a fixture at many Tuscan meals.
Get the recipe for Grilled Eggplant With Basil Vinaigrette »
Choose a high-acid, no-oak sauvignon blanc or similar white for this sophisticated version of the party wine drink from bartender Jon Santer of Prizefighter in Emeryville, California.
Get the recipe for White Sangria »
Sliced cucumber is tenderized with kosher salt in this zesty slaw.
Cucumber Pepper Slaw »
This lemonade is rendered smoky-sweet with the juice of grilled lemons and limes and toasted simple syrup, which has a mild caramel flavor that does a lot to complement the grilled fruit.
Get the recipe for Smoked Lemon-Lime-Ade »
Muddled strawberries and mint star in a refreshing, lightly sweet cocktail that packs a punch.
Get the recipe for Strawberry-Lillet Crush »
When making these buttery little biscuits, opt for a true American cheese—fourth-generation Wisconsin cheesemaker Sid Cook, of Carr Valley Cheese, advised us to use a three-year-old extra-sharp cheddar.
Get the recipe for American Cheddar Cheese Biscuits »
What does it take to grill a great steak? Careful technique. These steaks are all about the “reverse sear,” in which you start the steak over a low fire and then brown it over high to finish. Recipe adapted from Meathead by Craig Goldwyn.
Get the recipe for Grilled Steakhouse »
Thomas Keller’s Coconut Cake
New Orleans Doberge Cake
Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies
Meyer Lemon Sandwich Cookies