Grilling and BBQ Labor Day Food Ideas

a collage of grilled and barbecued foods.


Those three BIG  summer holidays: Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day all have one thing in common. Grilling, Smoking and Barbecue. At least that’s what our Labor Day traditions have always revolved around. Use this roundup of BBQ recipe ideas as inspiration for your summer celebrations. With grilled burgers, ribs on the grill, perfect grilled chicken, grilled veggie recipes, yummy grilled seafood recipes and even grilled desserts, there’s something for everyone!

Amazing grilled burgers

Most Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day Traditions start with burgers. After all, nothing satisfies, like handmade patties and all your favorite toppings. These grilled burgers go beyond “lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes…”

Bruschetta Burger for your Labor Day Traditions

Feeling refined? This epic burger is almost too pretty to eat. Almost. The Bruschetta Burger from Dance Around The Kitchen is a sophisticated blend of fresh tomato, mozzarella cheese and and balsamic glaze combined with a juicy 80/20 ground beef patty for a meaty, indulgent grilled burger you could actually wash down with a nice Cabernet.

Stepping outside of the traditional beef burger realm, WhitneyBond.com has a really tempting Buffalo Chicken Burger. Not only are the burgers seasoned with buffalo chicken sauce and blue cheese, they’re topped with those iconic flavors as well.

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Juicy Lucy Burger

Why merely top your grilled burger with cheese when you can surround your cheese with burger? The Juicy Lucy Burger Recipe via The Hungry Bluebird is a Twin Cities classic. This beef patty stuffed with molten cheese can be made with or without jalapeños.

Blue Cheese Burger for your Labor Day traditions.

These yummy Blue Cheese Burgers with tangy veins of blue cheese running through the meat make these patties sing! (and you know how I LOVE pickled onions…) Thanks to Girl With The Iron Cast for sharing her recipe.

Almighty Aussie Burger

This two-handed behemoth is a tribute to Australian hearts and stomachs. The Almighty Aussie Burger via Belly Rumbles is a completely unconventional grilled  burger with toppings that might sound unusual to the American palate… sliced pickled beets, fried eggs and grilled pineapple rings???  Don’t wrinkle your nose. This is one that must be tried before passing judgement.

Also check out these Garlic & Zest grilled burgers:

Barbecued, smoked & grilled beef recipes

When it comes to BBQ recipe ideas, beef can take you in many different directions, from ribs on the grill to a meaty smoked brisket. My grill master considers ribs on the grill his go-to Labor Day tradition, but take a look and choose your favorites…

Texas Smoked Brisket

One third of the “holy barbecue trinity” is beef brisket and this Texas Smoked Brisket from my friends at House of Nash Eats is everything you want a brisket to be. Using a wood or pellet smoker, they’ll take you through the steps to make this juicy, meaty mouthwatering cut.

Flat Iron Steak with Citrus Salsa for your Labor Day traditions.

This Flat Iron Steak with Citrus Salsa is all about fresh vibrant flavors and grilled meaty goodness. The recipe, courtesy of Renee’s Kitchen Adventures is a simple and straightforward grilled beef recipe — exactly what we want for the last weekend of summer!

Picahna Grilled Steak

Have you ever tried a Picanha Steak? This easy recipe uses the Picanha cut sirloin cap to achieve that telltale look. Thanks to Sunday Supper Movement for sharing her Picanha Steak Recipe.

Marinated Grilled London Broil

Nothing could be easier than a simple marinade, right? This rosemary, honey and soy marinade from Sharon at Grits and Pinecones, has a hefty dose of chopped garlic as well — you gotta love THAT. Sharon recommends soaking the beef for a day before cooking the Marinated Grilled London Broil.

Perfectly Smoked Beef Ribs on the grill for your Labor Day traditions.

Craving some Perfectly Smoked Beef Ribs this Labor Day? I’m sure you will be after getting a gander at these from Berry & Maple. Meaty, tender and unctuous, Tatiana used her electric smoker for these brontosaurus-sized behemoths, but you can achieve similar perfection on your Traeger or charcoal smoker. This is one of my favorite Summer BBQ ideas.

Easy and Authentic Carne Asada

This Easy and Authentic Carne Asada recipe from Marisa at Pinch and Swirl looks better than it has a right to! The garlicky, citrusy, smoky marinade penetrates the skirt steak for a sensory experience that’ll make your eyes roll back in your head in anticipation. Try this grilled beef recipe for your end of summer BBQ.

Bloody Mary Flank Steak Marinade

I admit, this one intrigued me just because natural pairing of long weekends & Bloody Marys. Bloody Mary Flank Steak Marinade from my friend, Michele at West Via Midwest has everything you want from that Sunday morning libation included in this lip-smacking marinade.

Also, check out these G&Z summer BBQ ideas for beef:

Perfect grilled chicken, smoked yardbird & glazed wings

You can’t talk about BBQ recipe ideas without mentioning chicken, poultry and the like. Here’s 14 recipes that should be a part of your Labor Day Traditions.

Beer Can Chicken

If you’re having a party, you need a Beer Can Chicken! This one from My Kitchen Love includes a homemade spice rub that infuses the bird with tongue-tingling flavors.

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Thighs - perfectly grilled chicken for your Labor Day Traditions.

With only 5 ingredients and in less than 30 minutes you can have Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Thighs on the table. This easy recipe from A Simple Palate will be a winner with all your diners. 

Maple Dijon Grilled Chicken Breasts

You probably already have everything you need for this Maple Dijon Grilled Chicken via Simply Stacie. The trick to this flavorful bird isn’t marinating, but rather basting it while the chicken cooks.

Peach Glazed Grilled Chicken Wings - more perfectly grilled chicken.

These perfectly lacquered Peach-Glazed Grilled Chicken Wings are the ideal summer send-off.  Sara and Pam from Biscuits and Burlap have given these smoky, sticky wings a bit of a kick that’s the perfect counterpoint to the sweet peach glaze.

Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters

Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters from This Ole Mom look positively succulent. She uses some ready made rubs and seasonings along with apple wood pellets for amazing results.

Easy Balsamic Marinated Grilled Chicken

You can make this Easy Balsamic Marinated Grilled Chicken with a handful of pantry staples and only 30 minutes of marinating time. Great for last-minute get togethers, and because this calls for chicken thighs, rest assured it will always be tender and juicy. Thanks to Kate from Nibble and Dine for sharing her recipe.

Cilantro Lime Chicken for your Labor Day Traditions.

You’ll love this Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken from Isabel Eats. Let the chicken rest in the simple, flavorful marinade for a few hours to really penetrate the flesh and grill to juicy, meaty bliss.

Lemon Garlic Greek Yogurt Grilled Chicken

Want something on the lighter side? Try Greek Yogurt Chicken with Lemon and Garlic from A Communal TableReserve some of the yogurt marinade for a light dipping sauce for the grilled chicken breasts.

BBQ Chicken Salad

If you’d like to mix in a few vegetables with your grilling favorites, how about this mouthwatering BBQ Chicken Salad with blue cheese crumbles and Buttermilk Jalapeno Ranch. Thanks to Whip and Wander for sharing her amazing recipe.

Also enjoy these chicken recipes from Garlic & Zest

Grilled pork & lamb recipes

From chops and shoulder to ribs on the grill, these pork and lamb Summer BBQ ideas will have your tongue wagging. From the familiar to the exotic, you’ll want to implement these recipes into your Labor Day traditions. I’m particularly lusting after the Sweet Sticky Char Sui.

 Lamb Ribs on the grill for your Labor Day traditions.

Grilled Lamb Ribs courtesy of Running To The Kitchen include a dry rub AND a wet bbq sauce for a double hit of mouthwatering flavors.

Balsamic Glazed Pork Chop

Big shout out to James at Sip and Feast for sharing his amazing Grilled Pork Chops recipe. With fresh rosemary, dijon mustard and a balsamic glaze, you’ll definitely want to lick your plate.

BBQ Ribs on the Charcoal Grill

These porky, unctuous BBQ Ribs On The Charcoal Grill from A Lively Table are lovingly tended to achieve a burnished bark that heralds real barbecued pork ribs. Living in Texas, Kaleigh and her Grill-Master know good ‘que and take the time to do it right. Find out how by clicking on the link above.

Marinated BBQ Boneless Leg of Lamb

Marinated BBQ Boneless Leg of Lamb will feed a crowd, so invite your friends over for this Moroccan inspired recipe from Lucy at Supergolden Bakes. Marinate the lamb for 2-4 hours to really infuse the meat with flavor.

Sweet and Sticky Char Siu (Chinese Barbecued Pork)

Sweet Sticky Chinese BBQ Pork is an otherworldly experience and this recipe from Pups with Chopsticks makes it achievable at home! Looking for mouthwatering BBQ recipe ideas? This is it.

Wisconsin Beer Brats

My husband’s eyes got wide when he saw these Wisconsin Beer Brats! Being from the midwest himself, he knows a thing or two about these porky sausages and this recipe via Cheese Curd in Paradise are legit!

Easy Grilled Lamb Chops

A liberal dose of garlic and rosemary make these Easy Grilled Lamb Chops flavorful and delicious every time. Don’t you just want to reach through the screen and grab one? Thanks to Marisa at Pinch and Swirl for sharing her recipe.

More Smoked & Grilled Pork and Lamb Recipes From Garlic & Zest:

Grilled kebabs

Grilled kebabs make great Labor Day traditions and summer BBQ ideas because they can generally be assembled ahead of time and grilled at the last minute — or have your guests assemble their own, so they get EXACTLY what they want whether it’s perfect grilled chicken, lamb, steak, shrimp or all veggie!

Grilled Hawaiian Turkey Kabobs

Healthy and light, these Gluten-Free Grilled Hawaiian Turkey Kabobs are a great way to stick to a healthier eating plan while still enjoying your holiday grilling celebrations. Thanks to My Gluten Free Kitchen for sharing her rainbow-of-a-recipe.

My friend, Caroline, from Caroline’s Cooking shared these Sosaties (South African Lamb and Apricot Kebabs) from her international foods website. The tongue-tingling marinade includes ginger, cumin, curry, apricot jam and tangy wine vinegar for a deliciously different take on kebabs. 

Lime Chili Chicken Skewers

Savory and flavorful, these Lime Chili Chicken Skewers via The Organic Kitchen have a balanced blend of spices and heat with a little lime juice for tender, meaty chicken skewers.

Grilled Steak Kabobs

These Grilled Steak Kabobs with Cilantro Chimichurri are more than just meat. Interspersed between the chunks of beef are slices of zucchini and red onion for a complete meal via Lemons and Zest.

Grilled Shrimp Kebabs

Shrimp Kebabs with Creamy Avocado Sauce from Shadi at Unicorns In The Kitchen has a really simple marinade for these gorgeous kebabs and the creamy avocado sauce is ready in minutes!

Mexican Chicken Skewers

These gorgeous Mexican Chicken Skewers via My Kitchen Sanctuary are marinated in a honey and fajita spice. The easy recipe also includes a homemade picante and cilantro lime rice.

Grilled Greek Chicken Recipe

If you love Greek flavors, you’ll wanna try these Grilled Greek Chicken Skewers via Saving Room For Dessert. With plenty of lemon juice, fresh herbs, silky olive oil and tons of garlic, this yogurt-based marinade infuses all your favorite chicken pieces with the intense Greek flavors you’re craving.

Also try these grilled kebabs and satés from Garlic & Zest:

Grilled vegetables

You’ll love these twists on tofu and grilled veggie recipes, whether they’re designated as tasty sides for the rest of your Labor Day traditions or they take center stage to your vegan or vegetarian cookout. The rainbow of colors and multitude of seasonings are broad and diverse.

Chopped Grilled Vegetables

Never has a platter of vegetables looked so inviting… am-I-right??? These Chopped Grilled Vegetables by Tricia at Saving Room for Dessert are positively mouthwatering.

Grilled Shishito Peppers

Grilled Shishito Peppers via The Unlikely Baker are smoky and flavorful.  Watch out, though — while MOST of the peppers are mild sometimes you’ll get a fiery one out of the blue.

Sesame Ginger Grilled Tofu

Even if you thought you’d never like tofu, this stunning Sesame Ginger Grilled Tofu from Vegan Huggs will rapidly change your opinion. For me, it’s the incredible Asian flavors that make this dish sing — and her presentation is gorgeous too!

Grilled Caesar Salad

You know you love Caesar salad, but have you ever made one on the grill? Lisa at Cooking with Curls has a Grilled Caesar Salad  you’ll be proud to serve your guests. 

Grilled Corn Salsa

Grilled Corn Salsa via Isabel Eats is loaded with char-grilled corn, fresh vegetables and a tangy citrus dressing. She serves it over grilled proteins like steaks, chicken pork and the like, but I can see this as a delicious side dish or dip with corn tortillas.

Grilled Rosemary Potatoes

Tell me this isn’t a seriously mouthwatering dish? Grilled Rosemary Potatoes from Stephanie at The Cozy Cook uses her grandmother’s rosemary seasoning recipe for perfectly tender, golden spuds.  Come on… you know you want ’em.

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Aioli from Lisa at Panning The Globe are a fresh take on what can sometimes be an intimidating vegetable. We love the rustic presentation and the smoky char that the artichokes get from the grill is sublime.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks, also by Vegan Huggs are an easy vegan recipe that takes 30 minutes from start to finish. Who doesn’t love that?

Grilled Tofu

Not technically a vegetable, but vegetarian all the same, Grilled Tofu with your choice of flavorful marinades — turns tofu on its ear… if it had ears… which it doesn’t. It’s tofu. Thanks to Monica at The Hidden Veggies for sharing.

Grilled Peach and Tomato Salad

The colors and flavors in this Grilled Peach and Tomato Salad from This Healthy Table are positively captivating. You’ll definitely want this for your Labor Day festivities.

Want More Grilled Vegetables? Try These Favorites From Garlic & Zest:

Grilled Seafood

Our summer BBQ ideas and Labor Day traditions ALWAYS include grilled seafood, because we live in Florida, but even if you’re not from the Sunshine state, here’s some really delicious BBQ recipe ideas with seafood from the rest of the country…

Smoked Trout

This gorgeous Smoked Trout via Food Fidelity uses a special dry rub blend to give the fish a really unique flavor.  It’s tender, moist and flaky.

grilled clams in ceramic dishes.

Grilled Clams with Garlic Parmesan Basil Butter from Kellie at the Suburban Soapbox are perfectly prepared briny, juicy morsels. She uses foil packets to cook the shrimp and save the luscious broth.

shrimp on the barbie...

Grilled Firecracker Shrimp via Healthy World Cuisine are succulent, tangy, garlicky bites that will have you going back for more. These would make a great appetizer or delicious main course over a rice pilaf.

Want more grilled seafood? Check out these Garlic & Zest favorites: 

Miscellaneous grilled favorites

This “category” is kind of the catch all for those amazing summer BBQ ideas that didn’t quite fit in the others, but definitely deserve your attention. 

real smoked ketchup.

Smoked Ketchup from 4 Sons “R” Us uses a blend of spices and wood chips to infuse the ketchup with a lightly smoked aroma and flavor.

grilled tacos make a great summer bbq idea.

These Grilled Chicken Tacos with Peach Salsa are way beyond the ordinary! Traci at The Kitchen Girl uses fresh corn, cotija cheese and lime to take her chicken tacos to the next level. These are MONEY.

stuffed pork meatballs for your Labor Day Traditions.

These Smoked Jalapeno Cheese Stuffed Pork Balls via Erica’s Recipes combine all of your favorite things into one singular bite. Can’t you just taste this cheese stuffed meatball through your screen???

gorgeous grilled pizza.

Tonia at The Gunnysack does Pizza Grilled to a smoky, charred perfection. Who needs takeout when you can make this in your own back yard?

rhubarb chipotle bbq sauce should be a labor day traditions.

We love homemade BBQ Sauce and Dawn at Girl Heart Food has outdone herself with this one. Chipotle Rhubarb BBQ Sauce is easy and delicious for all your grilled faves!

Want more grilled pizzas, tacos and snacks? See these favorites from Garlic & Zest:

Grilled desserts

No meal is complete without a sweet ending and these grilled desserts span the spectrum of healthy to indulgent. Also, check out the homemade frozen sherbets, ice creams and sorbets that would be the perfect cool yin to your grilled dessert yan.

Honey Drizzled Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone is an amazing end to a fine al fresco meal. This recipe courtesy of Cynthia at What A Girl Eats.

grilled pineapple slices.

These Grilled Pineapple Slices with Mint Brown Sugar and Coconut is a delicious low-calorie treat that’s ready in 15 minutes. Thanks to JerneJKitchen for sharing the easy recipe.

grilled donuts.

Here’s a completely new take on pineapple… Grilled Pineapple Donut Sundaes… Joycelyn at Grandbaby Cakes sends these glorious grilled sweets over-the-top with her brown sugar, butter and rum sauce. OMG.

cherry pandowdy

This Grilled Cherry Pandowdy is pure comfort food from One Hot Oven. Easier than you’d think with ready made pie crust and a blend of pie filling and fresh pitted cherries.

Grilled peaches for Labor Day

Speaking of grilled peaches, Caitlyn at Erhardt’s Eat has her own rendition of Grilled Peaches with Honey Mascarpone and they look mighty fine.

jalapeno pineapple slices

Grilled Pineapple Spears with Jalapeno Honey are a totally different take on grilled desserts. We love ’em for their smoky, spicy take on tropical fruit! Thanks to Bite Sized Kitchen for sharing the recipe.

Try these G&Z icy treats to serve with your grilled desserts:

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7 Comments

  1. I love your recipes and have been following you for quite some time. How can I save the 107 summer bbq ideas for your Labor Day traditions to my Lisa Board on Pinterest?

  2. So many delicious-looking recipes to choose from! And if not this year, will have to add some to next year’s grilling (since I’m not one for grilling in the snow πŸ˜‰ )

  3. My oh my! What a fabulous round up! I sure hope the weather is nice this weekend so I can get grilling! And, if not, no worries because these recipes look waaaaay too yummy not to make! Thanks so very much for including me in this one, Lisa – much appreciated πŸ™‚

  4. I honestly had to wipe the drool off my keyboard! This is truly an amazing round up! I found so many recipes that I can’t wait to try – and now with a major carnivore living in my house, I need all the creative grilling/bbq ideas I can get! Can’t wait to share!!! Thanks so much for including me!!!!!

    1. So glad you like the collection, Nancy! Hope you have a great Labor Day Weekend!

  5. Lisa…this roundup is over the top! Thank you SO much for including πŸ™‚ Every one of these recipes matches the beauty and integrity of your creations, which is no easy feat. Nice job, girl! Sharing!