50 Cookout Classics Every Labor Day Party Needs

Planning the last big barbecue of the season? These must-have recipes will help you send summer off in the most delicious way possible.

June 23, 2022

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It’s Time to Celebrate

It’s that time of year again. Call your family and friends — and get ready to fire up the grill one more time for an all-out cookout. Although we’re year-round grillers (and will be cooking outdoors well into the fall and winter months), Labor Day is an opportunity to host an extra special get-together. Need a few menu ideas for a crowd? We like to start our barbecue with summer appetizers, move on to meaty mains like ribs or grilled chicken and finish the night with a few good, old-fashioned desserts. We’re not saying ‘goodbye’ to summer — we’re celebrating it! And, while party is sure to look a little different, there are some classics that always deserve a spot on the table, like these versatile burgers. You can load them up with traditional fixings (like American cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion) or deck them out with the most-outrageous toppings you can think of. Either way they’ll be delicious — and loved by all!

Get the Recipe: Grilled Cheeseburgers

Corn Salsa

To kick off your end-of-summer party, serve chips alongside Trisha's mix of yellow and white corn, jalapenos, chiles and tomatoes.

Get the Recipe: Corn Salsa

Foil-Pack Grilled Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken Wings

Marinate your wings in an easy sweet-and-spicy mixture, then grill them in a foil pack for mess-free cooking (you’ll still need napkins for eating, though!).

Get the Recipe: Foil-Pack Grilled Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken Wings

Rainbow Coleslaw

It just wouldn’t be an end-of-summer cookout without a few classics, coleslaw being one of them. Trisha’s version is tangy and crunchy, perfect with whatever you’re grilling up.

Get the Recipe: Rainbow Coleslaw

Turkey Club Kebabs

What’s the one thing you probably haven’t grilled all summer? Turkey. We like turning it into bacon-wrapped kebabs — for sandwiches!

Get the Recipe: Turkey Club Kebabs

Grilled Picnic Corn

This kicked-up, grilled corn tastes great eaten right from the cob (stick a popsicle stick into one end for easier handling!) but it also makes a great salad. Simply cut the corn off the cob after you char it and then toss it with the other ingredients.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Picnic Corn

Frozen Sangarita

Trisha finds inspiration for her frozen sangarita at a Texas restaurant. This cocktail is a blend of frozen sangria and frozen margarita; just spoon a few layers of each into a margarita glass and it's ready to sip. 

Get the Recipe: Frozen Sangarita

Sweet and Spicy Apricot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Save the space on your grill for hamburgers and hot dogs — without giving up BBQ chicken. Valerie cooks hers in the oven, while basting it with a sweet-and-spicy, homemade apricot BBQ sauce.

Get the Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Apricot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Pepperoni Potato Salad

A tasty twist on classic potato salad? Add some Italian flavors! Ree tosses in Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, basil and pepperoni. Yum!

Get the Recipe: Pepperoni Potato Salad

Barbecue Cheeseburgers

Nothing says summer celebration like grilled burgers. Top each patty with homemade sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, red onion, Jack cheese and avocado.

Get the Recipe: Barbecue Cheeseburgers

7-Layer Pasta Salad

This summer salad has it all: layers of creamy avocado, heaping spoonfuls of diced ham, crunchy broccoli, hearty pasta, cheddar cheese and a topping of crispy romaine.

Get the Recipe: 7-Layer Pasta Salad

Fresh Peach Cake

Ina uses peaches and eggs from a local farm to make her cake, which is delicious served warm. She layers the fresh peaches, cinnamon sugar and batter, and tops it off with crunchy chopped pecans.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Peach Cake

Grilled Pesto Pizza with Marinated Mozzarella and Tomatoes

These grilled pizzas are slathered with summery pesto and fresh tomatoes — perfect for your end-of-season cookout.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Pesto Pizza with Marinated Mozzarella and Tomatoes

Dijon Chicken Wings

Make a glaze of Dijon mustard, honey, mustard powder and garlic to make deliciously sticky wings.

Get the Recipe: Dijon Chicken Wings

Chicken or Turkey Salad Sandwiches

This sandwich spread is as refreshing as it is satisfying; dressed up with shredded chicken, celery, mayo and onions, it's perfect for a Labor Day lunch. 

Get the Recipe: Chicken or Turkey Salad Sandwiches

Ranch-Rubbed Pork Ribs

Looking for a simple twist on grilled ribs? Michael Symon uses buttermilk powder and a mix of dried spices from the pantry to give them a Ranch-inspired flavor.

Get the Recipe: Ranch-Rubbed Pork Ribs

Baked Creamed Corn With Red Bell Peppers and Jalapenos

With just five ingredients, Ree Drummond turns fresh corn into a delicious casserole with a kick.

Get the Recipe: Baked Creamed Corn With Red Bell Peppers and Jalapenos

Spicy Lemon Shrimp Skewers

Sriracha, an Asian chile sauce, gives spice to these grilled shrimp skewers.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Lemon Shrimp Skewers

Double Patty Veggie Burger

These meatless burgers are ready in a flash, leaving you enough time to make a homemade special sauce for topping them.

Get the Recipe: Double Patty Veggie Burger

Strawberry-Arugula Salad with Sweet Lime Vinaigrette

Sunny's simple strawberry and arugula salad is drizzled with a citrus vinaigrette.

Get the Recipe: Strawberry-Arugula Salad With Sweet Lime Vinaigrette

Beer Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce

A beer can holds this chicken up while cooking and brings it to a juicy and tender state. Slather the chicken with a cola barbecue sauce that is sweet and savory.

Get the Recipe: Beer Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce

Macaroni and Egg Salad

In just 20 minutes you can turn elbow macaroni into a creamy, egg-filled salad.

Get the Recipe: Macaroni and Egg Salad

Grilled Rib-Eyes with Peperonata

Michael Symon has the perfect method for grilling steak: sear it over high heat then let it cook to the desired internal doneness over low heat. This keeps the beef nice and juicy.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Rib-Eyes with Peperonata

Anna's Tomato Tart

Late-season tomatoes, which tend to be extra-sweet and juicy, are perfect for Ina’s impressive tarts. She tops a homemade crust with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, thick tomato slices and fresh pesto.

Get the Recipe: Anna's Tomato Tart

Layered Picnic-in-a-Jar

Three layers come together in Melissa's no-mess picnic meal: vinaigrette-dressed rice, spiced chickpeas and garlicky eggplant. 

Get the Recipe: Layered Picnic-in-a-Jar

Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce

Giada’s secret to great ribs? She brushes the meat with BBQ sauce after roasting, then pops them under the broiler for just a few minutes. The high heat allows the sauce to get extra thick and perfectly sticky.

Get the Recipe: Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce

Glazed Veggie Skewers

Trisha's sweet-and-savory veggie skewers (glazed with a simple blend of teriyaki sauce and brown sugar) are the perfect complement to grilled steaks, burgers, fish and more.

Get the Recipe: Glazed Veggie Skewers

Fried Chicken

Marcus Samuelsson fries chicken dredged in a chile and paprika spice blend and marinated in buttermilk and coconut milk. The result is crispy, flavorful meat fit for summertime.

Get the Recipe: Fried Chicken

Fresh Blackberry Crisp

Sometimes it's best to keep it simple. That's why we combine flour, brown sugar and butter to make a sweet, crumbly topping for juicy late-summer blackberries. The perfect summer dessert with just a handful of ingredients!

Get the Recipe: Fresh Blackberry Crisp

Bourbon-Mustard Steak Kebabs

These savory skewers take a bit of time (they need to marinate in the refigerator for 2-6 hours) but they're packed with flavor — and worth the extra bit of effort.

Get the Recipe: Bourbon-Mustard Steak Kebabs

Honeydew and Arugula Salad

The sweetness of honeydew melon complements the spicy quality of arugula for a refreshing summer salad.

Get the Recipe: Honeydew and Arugula Salad

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket

Trisha’s beef brisket is a great multi-purpose dish for a crowd. Serve it as-is with your favorite sides or use it as the filling for a barbecue sandwich.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Beef Brisket

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Skewers

Molly combines warm spices and creamy yogurt to make an easy marinade for her chicken skewers. Layers of sweet onion and juicy pepper round out her crowd-pleasing kebabs.

Get the Recipe: Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Skewers

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Rachael's super-easy salad is a foolproof cookout side. Chop and add whatever vegetables you have on hand to the corn-and-bean combo, then brighten it up with a squeeze of fresh lime.

Get the Recipe: Black Bean and Corn Salad

Herb-Stuffed Zucchini

Scoop out zucchini seeds and stuff the hollowed out vegetables with breadcrumbs, tomatoes, herbs and garlic.

Get the Recipe: Herb-Stuffed Zucchini

S'mores Pudding Pie

No campfire needed for Kelsey’s creamy pudding pie. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, place the pie under the broiler until the marshmallows are brown and gooey.

Get the Recipe: S'mores Pudding Pie

American-Style Potato Salad

This eggy potato salad gets crunch from onions and a creamy texture from a mustard and mayo dressing.

Get the Recipe: American-Style Potato Salad

Sparkling Raspberry Limeade

Make the raspberry syrup for this limeade up to two days in advance. Just keep it in the refrigerator until the party starts.

Get the Recipe: Sparkling Raspberry Limeade

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Pinwheels

Katie’s pretty pinwheels are deceptively easy. To make them, slice zucchini into very thin sections (use a mandoline if you have one), top with a goat cheese filling and roll ‘em up.

Get the Recipe: Zucchini and Goat Cheese Pinwheels

Vanilla Ice Cream with Peach Syrup

Sweet peaches and sugar make a simple syrup for topping vanilla ice cream.

Get the Recipe: Vanilla Ice Cream with Peach Syrup

Triple B Burgers

The Triple B stands for a beef patty topped with bacon and boubon sauce. It also comes with smoked cheddar.

Get the Recipe: Triple B Burgers

Turkey Burgers With Orange Mustard Glaze

Guy found this burger in health-conscious San Diego. A turkey patty gets topped wtih an orange-mustard glaze.

Get the Recipe: Turkey Burgers With Orange Mustard Glaze

Nectarine-Tomato Salad

The flavors of yellow tomatoes and ripe nectarines are complemented by a simple olive oil and balsamic dressing. Toasted pine nuts and shaved cheese add the finishing touches.

Get the Recipe: Nectarine-Tomato Salad

Foil-Packet Corn

Roast summer corn easily on the grill in a foil packet filled with butter and fresh herbs. The aromas of thyme, basil and rosemary will infuse the corn with earthy flavors.

Get the Recipe: Foil-Packet Corn

Ranch Chicken Sandwiches

Juicy chicken breasts topped with a zesty ranch mayo and sandwiched between rolls are a quick, go-to summer entertaining dish.

Get the Recipe: Ranch Chicken Sandwiches

Stuffed Mini Peppers

Whether you're making them as a grab-and-go snack or as a party-ready appetizer, these stuffed peppers are sure to be a hit. Alex stuffs them with creamy goat cheese and toasty pine nuts to give them a touch of decadence.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Mini Peppers

Grilled Pizzas

Use an outdoor grill instead of an oven to make margherita pizzas for Labor Day celebrations. The mozzarella and basil combination is an assured crowd-pleaser.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Pizzas

Grilled Turkey Sliders with Tomato Jam

Adding ricotta cheese to a turkey burger mixture helps to keep it moist and flavorful.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Turkey Sliders with Tomato Jam

Grilled Triple-Decker Hot Dog Sandwich

Jeff’s over-the-top dish is like a cross between a sandwich and lasagna. He layers the hot dogs with Cheddar, provolone and salami, then grills the dish until the cheese is melted. Before eating, top with mustard, lettuce, tomato and celery salt.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Triple-Decker Hot Dog Sandwich

Green Tomato and Strawberry Salad

Juicy strawberries and plump green tomatoes infuse this salad with freshness and color.

Get the Recipe: Green Tomato and Strawberry Salad

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