Summer's Greatest Hits — Weekend Cookout

Pieces of beef and pork ribs with sauce, spices and a knife placed on a wooden cutting board

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Tara Donne, Food Network

This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and while the weather may stay hot and humid for a few more weeks, leisurely backyard barbecues and alfresco entertaining will likely wrap up on Labor Day, as back-to-school routines and hectic schedules become all too familiar again. Whether you're hosting an end-of-season bash or simply spending a relaxing few days with your family, say goodbye to summer with the season's best eats and drinks. For this weekend's cookout, FN Dish is sharing Food Network's best-ever summertime recipes, those tried-and-true classics that are guaranteed to please. Together, these five-star picks from some of your favorite chefs, like Bobby, Alton, the Neelys and Giada, will create the ultimate Labor Day menu, one filled with smoky grilled meat, an easy-to-make side salad and a decadent dessert featuring summer's sweetest fruits, plus quick appetizers and cocktails to round out the feast.

Margarita: Alton Brown

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

A platter of Bobby's Grilled Shrimp Scampi Style with Soy Sauce, Fresh Ginger and Garlic and Alton's Margarita (pictured right) are ideal party-starters, and these recipes are ready to enjoy in just 15 minutes and five minutes, respectively. To make the glaze for his shrimp, Bobby whirls soy sauce, a splash of lime juice and garlic with a stick of butter in a food processor, then brushes the mixture on the seafood before grilling it. Keep an eye on the shrimp while cooking — they take mere minutes to finish.

Nothing says summer like smoky, slightly sweet barbecue, and no one makes traditional Tennessee ribs like Pat and Gina Neely. With the Neelys' can-do recipe for Memphis-Style Hickory-Smoked Beef and Pork Ribs (pictured top), you get to decide whether to enjoy these beauties dry with just a rub of spices and herbs, or wet, coated with their signature barbecue sauce. No matter which way you serve them, the secret to preparing these eat-with-your-hands ribs comes down to one key ingredient: hickory wood chips. Cooking the beef and pork racks slowly and on a low temperature over a mixture of hickory and charcoal offers tender meat and a bold flavor. Round out the ribs with a side of the Neelys' Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad, a rich combination of noodles, chopped ham, hard-boiled eggs and a creamy topping of mayonnaise and mustard.

Take advantage of juicy peaches and sweet strawberries while they're in season with Giada's Peach and Strawberry Crumble, a fuss-free dessert finished with a buttery, golden-brown topping of oats, crunchy almonds and cinnamon.

Cocktail: Margarita

This summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each weekend, FN Dish is giving you a complete fuss-free menu.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Make a Perfect Burger — Weekend Cookout

Check out a few of Food Network's top tips for crafting a perfect burger at home, then browse step-by-step snapshots to learn more about how it's done.

50 Grilled Cheese

Make a sandwich from Food Network Magazine for any meal of the day—even dessert!