Memorial Day Recipes
Get-together or not, Memorial Day is always a great time to fire up the grill and enjoy some tasty food. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite memorial day recipes to enjoy this weekend, including main courses, side dishes, desserts, and drinks. And if we’re lucky, maybe the sun will show up to the party too!
All-American Hamburgers with Red Onion Compote
One of the best Memorial Day staples is a good old fashioned burger. Red onion compote adds a unique element to this otherwise very classic American hamburger. As always, if you want to go meatless, you can always swap out the beef for your favorite plant-based patty.
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. ground coriander
- 3 medium red onions, finely diced (3 cups)
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
- 3/4 tsp. ground juniper berries
- 1 tsp. chopped thyme
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 pounds ground chuck
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 kaiser or brioche rolls, split and toasted
- Lettuce leaves (optional)
- In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the coriander and cook over moderate heat for 30 seconds. Add the red onions, wine, sugar, bay leaves, orange zest, juniper berries, thyme, and orange juice and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and is reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour. Let the compote cool to room temperature. Discard the bay leaves and season with salt.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet. Gently form the ground chuck into four 4-inch patties about 1 1/2 inches thick. Make a 1/2-inch indention in the center of each patty and season generously with salt and pepper. When the skillet is hot, add the patties and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer them to a large plate and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Place the hamburgers on the toasted brioche buns, top with the compote, garnish with lettuce and serve.
Smoked Beef Ribs with Salt and Pepper
There’s not a BBQ recipe that’s much simpler than salt, pepper, and a dash of hot sauce.
And keeping it simple really lets the flavor of the smoky beef ribs come through.
- 1/4 cup whole peppercorns
- 1/4 cup Diamond Crystal or 2½ tablespoons Morton kosher salt
- 10 pounds bone-in, 10-inch-long beef short ribs (about 6 large)
- 1/2 cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s
- Grind peppercorns in a spice mill or with mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Transfer to a small bowl; add salt and stir to combine. Slather ribs with hot sauce and sprinkle all of salt mixture all over ribs.
- If using a charcoal grill, soak the wood in water and fill chimney starter halfway up the side with charcoal; light and let burn until coals are covered with a thin layer of ash. Pour contents of the chimney onto one side of grill. Arrange 3 chunks of wood or a handful of chips on top of coals. Place grate on grill and cover grill, positioning vent on lid as far from heat source as possible. (This will help draw the smoke up and over the meat as it rises.)
- If using a gas grill, prepare grill for medium-low, indirect heat, leaving one or two burners off. Place wood chips in smoker box and set over direct heat; cover grill.
- Stick an ovenproof probe thermometer through top vent if your grill has one. Let fire cool until thermometer registers 250–275°, adjusting vents on bottom and top of grill or control knobs as needed to maintain temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Grill ribs bone side down over indirect heat, leaving a small gap between each to allow smoke to circulate, and replenishing wood and adding a coal or two of unlit charcoal as needed, until a nearly black crust forms all over ribs and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each piece registers 185°, 2½–3½ hours.
- Remove ribs from heat, wrap them individually in foil and return to grill grates. Continue to cook over indirect heat, lowering heat as needed to maintain a temperature as close to 225–250° as possible (or transfer to a 225° oven), until ribs are fork-tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each piece registers 195°, 2½–3 hours longer. Let rest in foil 20 minutes before serving.
Other Main Course Recipes to Consider
Along with burgers and ribs, there are all sorts of recipes incorporating chicken, hot dogs, and plant-based BBQ options that are perfect for Memorial Day.
Simple Smoked Chicken
Grilled chicken is another dish that you’ll often find at Memorial Day barbecues. It’s flavorful, fairly easy to make, and when it’s done correctly, it is perfectly tender.
Don’t have a smoker? No problem. This recipe can be made on the stovetop with a wok, a steaming basket, and of course, your choice of wood chips.
Crosshatch Hot Dogs on Grilled Croissants
Another Memorial Day staple is hot dogs! Crosshatching your dogs ahead of time and glazing them in a sweet and savory sauce ahead of time allows for the extra flavor to soak in.
Also, consider swapping out hot dogs for some of the house-made brats that we have available in the meat department!
Chili Cheese Dogs
Here’s a plant-based twist on an American classic: vegan chili cheese dogs featuring frankfurters from Field Roast.
These are topped with chili con carne, vegan queso, and jalapenos, but feel free to top it of with whatever BBQ toppings are your favorite!
Nashville-Style Hot Chicken
Another quintessential American summer food is grilled chicken. Bon Appetit’s take on Nashville-Style Hot Chicken calls for 6, yes, 6, tablespoons of cayenne.
If you want it a little more tame, just cut the cayenne a bit.
This spicy and flavorful chicken would pair perfectly with some cooling potato salad and ripe, juicy watermelon.
Pastured Pork Ribs with Smoky Blackberry Barbecue Sauce
Here’s a less traditional take on ribs that incorporates a more complex sauce than just salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
The barbecue sauce includes both sweet blackberries and spicy chipotles in adobo to create a well-rounded flavor combination.
Serve these sweet and spicy ribs with some fresh blackberries on top and a cooling cucumber salad on the side.
Plant-Based Backyard BBQ Burger
If you’re eating a plant-based diet, but don’t want to miss out on the burgers, throw a few Beyond Beef burgers on the grill!
This recipe for a backyard BBQ burger is totally vegan, but still features all of the standard Memorial Day burgers fixings that you’re used to.
Sure, you could just throw some corn on the grill and top it off with some butter. But why not take your corn on the cob to the next level with this recipe for Elotes?
Elote is Mexican-style street corn that will add a punch of zesty flavor to sweet, local corn on the cob.
- 4 large ears of corn, shucked
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 medium lime, zested and juiced
- 2 tsp. ancho chili powder
- 1/4 cup crumbled cotija or grated Parmesan cheese
- To grill corn, heat a gas grill on high for 20 minutes, or build a fire in a charcoal grill and wait for the coals to be covered with ash. While the grill heats, place the mayonnaise in a medium bowl and stir 1/4 teaspoon of the lime zest and 1/2 teaspoon of the juice. Reserve.
- When the grill is hot, place the ears of corn over the hot side of the grill and cook, turning with tongs occasionally, until cooked and charred in spots. Coat each ear with mayonnaise and sprinkle with chili powder and cheese. Serve immediately.
Grilled Potato Salad With Chiles and Basil
This recipe features all the best parts of a German-style potato salad but incorporates spicy chiles and refreshing basil for a herby twist.
Charring the potatoes for a bit on the grill also provides them with that backyard Memorial Day BBQ vibe.
- 2 lb. baby Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1/2 cup kosher salt, plus more
- 2/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. honey
- ¼ cup plus 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 red Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
- 1 large red onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- Cover potatoes with 3 qt. water in a large saucepan. Stir in ½ cup salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a skewer or paring knife, about 12 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, prepare a grill for medium heat. Whisk vinegar, fish sauce, honey, and 3 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl. Stir in chiles. Season dressing with salt; set aside.
- Cut onion in half through the root, then cut each half into 5 wedges so that they’re still held together by the root.
- Finely grate garlic into a large bowl. Whisk in ¼ cup oil. Add onion wedges to bowl. Smash potatoes lightly with your hands as you add them to bowl, tossing gently to coat with garlic oil. Season with salt.
- Grill potatoes and onion wedges, turning occasionally, until charred all over, 12–15 minutes. Wipe out bowl you tossed the potatoes in, then return potatoes and onions to bowl when they’re finished grilling.
- Pour dressing over potatoes, tossing to coat. Add basil (tearing any large leaves in half) and sesame seeds. Taste and season with salt if needed, then toss again to combine.
- Transfer potato salad to a serving bowl. Drizzle with oil.
Other Side Dish Recipes to Consider
While potato salad and grilled corn are definitely memorial day food staples, there are lots of other side dishes worth considering!
Roasted Sweet Corn Bread
Roasting the corn ahead of time provides this cornbread with a unique flavor that you just don’t get from canned or frozen corn.
Slather these with a little local butter and honey and serve them alongside whatever BBQ dishes you’re enjoying this weekend.
Caprese Prosciutto Farro Salad
When you want a simple salad that looks super complex, try this recipe from Half Baked Harvest!
Sweet cherry tomatoes, salty prosciutto, and lots of herbs make this a flavorful dish that when served with farro, offers you lots of nutrients.
Sweet & Spicy Grilled Fruit
While you have the grill going, you might as well toss on a few fruit kebabs!
You can use basically any fruit you have on hand for this recipe, but stone fruits, strawberries, and melons seem to be the best choices.
Cucumber Salad with Fresh Dill
Here’s a light and zesty salad that will go perfectly with whatever grilled food you’re making this weekend.
It features common pantry staple ingredients that you probably already have on hand, but if you don’t have dill, you could easily sub in cilantro instead.
Strawberry Nutella S’mores
Keep the good eatin’ going all weekend long with this fruity twist on an American classic: s’mores!
Nutella takes the place of a chocolate bar, lemon thin cookies replace graham crackers, and strawberry slices are incorporated to add an extra fruity layer. Marshmallows, however, stay the same. After all, they’re basically irreplaceable! We make our own at the Co-op, so be sure to snag a bag.
- 1 marshmallow
- 1/2 tsp. chocolate-hazelnut spread
- 2 lemon thins
- 2 strawberry slices
- Toast marshmallow over a fire. Spread chocolate-hazelnut spread on one lemon thin; top with the marshmallow, strawberry and the second lemon thin.
Hibiscus and Minty Watermelon Popsicles
Popsicles are a summer favorite that are so easy to make at home. Skip the artificial colors and flavors and know exactly what’s in your icy treat!
This recipe from Half Baked Harvest pairs sweet hibiscus and watermelon with zingy ginger and refreshing mint for a popsicle so unique that you won’t find at the store.
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp. dried hibiscus flowers
- 1-inch fresh ginger peeled + finely chopped or grated for more flavor
- 1/4 cup honey add 1-2 tablespoons more for a sweeter pop
- 1/4 cup fresh mint you can also use basil
- 4-5 cups fresh watermelon
- the juice of 1 lemon
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium-size pot. Remove from the heat and add the hibiscus flowers, ginger, honey, and mint leaves. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a blender and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, and mint.
- To the blender, add the watermelon and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer/sieve or into a bowl lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze out all the juice and discard the watermelon pulp.
- Pour the mixture among 8 popsicle molds. Place the molds in the freezer and freeze for 1 hour. Remove and insert popsicle sticks. Return to the freezer and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. To remove the popsicles run the mold under hot water for 10 seconds and then pull the popsicles out of the molds. Store in the freezer.
Other Dessert Recipes to Consider
Looking for a pie or a cake? Here are a few of our other favorite Memorial Day desserts.
Bow Hill Extra Extra Blueberry Pie
This recipe from our friends at Bow Hill Blueberries takes the idea of fruit pie to the next level with a crust that incorporates blueberry powder and blueberry juice.
You can fresh blueberries, but if you have a bag of Bow Hill Blueberries in your freezer, those work perfectly as well!
Blueberry, Melon, Feta Fruit Salad Stacks
Fruit salad is healthy, refreshing, and always seems to satisfy that sweet tooth. And when these fruit salad stacks are cut into the shape of stars, they are perfectly appropriate for memorial day weekend.
This recipe is also super customizable. You can always omit the feta, add some fresh mint, or sprinkle it with a little tajin to kick up the spice.
While you probably won’t be having a big party this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little patriotic in the kitchen!
This flag cake from EatingWell is on the healthier end of the cake spectrum and incorporates lots of fresh fruit arranged to look like the flag.
Whipped Frozen Lemonade
Lemonade totally hits the spot on those warm summer afternoons and this whipped frozen version is even more thirst-quenching.
This recipe calls for coconut milk to provide a smooth texture to the drink, but you could swap in whatever dairy or plant-based cream of your choosing.
For the Lemon Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Zest of 1 lemon
For the Lemonade
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 1/2 cups ice cubes
- To prepare simple syrup, bring sugar and water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
- Stir in lemon zest and remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 1 hour, then strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve; discard the zest.
- To prepare whipped lemonade, add 1/2 cup simple syrup, lemon juice, coconut milk, and ice to a blender.
- Blend until the ice is crushed and the mixture is slushy. Divide between 4 8-ounce glasses and serve immediately.
Girlie French 75 Cocktail
If you’re enjoying a Memorial Day weekend brunch, this French 75 recipe from Girl Meets Dirt is the perfect complement to pancakes and Eggs Benedict.
- 3 tbsp. gin
- 2 1/2 tbsp. Girl Meets Dirt Lemon Lavender Shrub
- 1 cup of ice cubes
- 1/4 cup dry sparkling wine, such as brut Champagne or Prosecco, chilled
- In a cocktail shaker, combine gin and shrub. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled Champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.
- Garnish the drink with a lemon twist or lavender sprig and serve immediately.
Other Drink Recipes To Consider
Looking for other libations to enjoy this long weekend? Here are a few more of our favorite alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Bainbridge Basil Mojito
Grab yourself a bundle of fresh mint and basil and put together this herby and refreshing mojito recipe from Edible Seattle.
Summer Fruit Shrub Cocktail
Here’s a cocktail formula that is basically sugar + the fruit of your choice + vinegar + lemon juice + your favorite spirit.
If you like the idea of a simple, refreshing non-alcoholic fruit drink, simply sub in club soda for the alcohol.
Raspberry Ginger Lime Seltzer
Here’s a refreshing and zesty drink perfect for enjoying in a lawn chair in the sun. It’s just the right amount of sweet and will definitely quench your thirst.
Want to turn this one into an adult beverage? Simply sub in hard seltzer for the seltzer water!