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…”
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Sriracha Avocado Turkey Burgers
- Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers
- Chili Aioli Buffalo Sliders
- Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwich with Basil Aioli
- Cedar Planked Salmon Sliders
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Grilled Chermoula Marinated Strip Steaks
- Bourbon Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
- Grilled Veal Chops with Garlic Herb Crust
- Easy Marinated Rib Eye and Veg
- Herb and Peppercorn Crusted Flank Steak
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 from This Ole Mom look positively succulent. She uses some ready made rubs and seasonings along with apple wood pellets for amazing results.
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.
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.
Want something on the lighter side? Try Greek Yogurt Chicken with Lemon and Garlic from A Communal Table. Reserve some of the yogurt marinade for a light dipping sauce for the grilled chicken breasts.
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 Smoked and Perfect Grilled Chicken Recipes by Garlic & Zest:
- Grilled Chicken Thighs with Spiced Herb Rub
- Chipotle Beer Can Chicken
- Sweet Black Pepper Grilled Chicken Hoagies
- Whole Smoked Turkey with Cider Gravy
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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!
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:
- Caribbean Jerk Smoked Pork
- Grilled Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
- Tender Hickory Smoked Ribs
- Dry Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
- Brined, Grilled Pork Chops
- Mint Chimichurri Lamb Chops
- Tangy Barbecued Pork Sandwiches
- Carolina Pulled Pork
- Tandoori Marinated Grilled Pork
- Tequila Pork with Tropical Salsa
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 Sates from Garlic & Zest:
- Grilled Herb Crusted Lamb Kebabs
- Garlicky Cilantro Lime Swordfish Kebabs
- Chicken Sate with Cucumber Avocado Relish
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.
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 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.
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!
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 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.
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 Mushroom Steaks, also by Vegan Huggs are an easy vegan recipe that takes 30 minutes from start to finish. Who doesn’t love that?
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.
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 Vegetable Tomato Mozzarella Caprese
- Grilled Vegetables with Feta and Farro
- Chipotle Lime Corn on the grill
- Grilled Greek Orzo Salad
- Summer Salad with Lime Dressing
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…
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 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.
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:
- Caribbean Grilled Yellowtail Snapper with Easy Aioli
- Plank Grilled Salmon with Tomato Fennel Ragout
- Grilled Shrimp Cocktail
- Mardi Gras Grilled Oysters
- Italian Style Grilled Shrimp and Polenta
- Grilled Octopus
- Citrusy Grilled Oysters
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.
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.
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.
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???
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?
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:
- New England Clam Chowda’ Pizza
- Tacos Carne Asada with Grass Fed Steak
- Calamari Avocado and Grapefruit Bruschetta
- Grilled Pancetta and Melon Pizza
- Smoked Fish Dip
- Homemade Applewood Smoked Bacon
- Pepperonata Bruschetta
- Chili Cheese Dilly Dogs
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.
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.
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.
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.
Speaking of grilled peaches, Caitlyn at Erhardt’s Eat has her own rendition of Grilled Peaches with Honey Mascarpone and they look mighty fine.
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.