Last Summer Hurrah: 11 Ways to Make the Most of Your Labor Day BBQ

Sign off on the sunniest season with these standout summer dishes at your Labor Day cookout.
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It’s here folks, the last long weekend of the summer. As you wind down your summer activities, take this last chance to celebrate a sun-filled holiday, cross ribs off of your grilling bucket list and enjoy a cold glass of frosé. Sign off on the sunniest season with these standout summer dishes at your Labor Day cookout.

Go Big on the Grill

Serve the crowd a drive-thru classic: a rack of ribs cooked until it’s perfectly tender, slathered in a smoky and tangy homemade barbecue sauce and stuffed in a hero roll with pickles and onions.

Food Network Kitchen’s Grilled Spatchcocked Greek Chicken as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Matt Armendariz, Copyright 2015

If you’ve been meaning to throw a whole chicken onto the grill, spatchcocking (removing the backbone and flattening the chicken out) is an easy way of ensuring the meat cooks evenly. In place of a rub, use a simple marinade with olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic and oregano.

Go beyond the basics for this Argentinian-style matambre, a flank steak stuffed with chorizo, egg, herbs and veggies and topped with chimichurri sauce.

This might be about as far from traditional grilling food as you can get, but you (and your guests) will be impressed by how well sheet pans and paella work on the grill. It’s a fun, delicious and perfect for a cookout crowd.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Bobby Flay’s recipe for grilled corn on the cob amps up the flavor with a garlic-and-chive butter, limes and cotija cheese.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Skip all the oven work of a traditional peach crisp with this easy grilled version that uses only 5 ingredients.

YK_FN_06FriedChicken4_033.tif

YK_FN_06FriedChicken4_033.tif

Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin ,Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Yunhee Kim ©2011

Yunhee Kim, 2011

Something Fried

The trick to classic fried chicken? It starts with a cold buttermilk bath, which helps keep the meat juicy during the frying process. From there, the chicken gets a coat of paprika and cayenne seasoned flour and fries in a cast- iron skillet oven until it's crispy and cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

FNK_BeerBatteredZucchiniCurlyFries_H

FNK_BeerBatteredZucchiniCurlyFries_H

Food Network Kitchen’s Buffalo Zucchini Fries for Summer Slow Cooker/Zucchini Fries/Picnic Brick-Pressed Sandwiches, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

If the summer has gifted you with a bounty of zucchini, make zucchini fries. And whether you prefer cutting zukes into classic matchsticks or nacho-style disks, there’s really no wrong way to fry them. These beer-battered curly fries are our favorite because they’re beer-battered, they remind us of the state fair and spiralizers are more fun than anyone could have expected.

Although Labor Day might not call for flag cakes, it does celebrate American workers and this red, white and blue trifle has the added bonus of featuring a trifecta of summer fruits. Make a day ahead of your backyard bash and serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Something Frozen

With just 3 ingredients and the tiniest bit of elbow grease (i.e. scraping up the frozen bits with a fork once an hour), you’ll have granita, an icy Italian treat that sounds a bit fancier than what it is but tastes great just the same.

Food Network Kitchen’s The New Frose for One-Off Recipes, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Though there’s no way of knowing how the reign of rosé will do in seasons to come, this summer has definitely been the season of frosé. It’s only fitting then to toast to end of summer with this frosty, pink concoction.

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