This Memorial Day weekend, as you fire up the barbecue and host the first backyard cookout of the season, think beyond basic burgers and hot dogs — though there is nothing wrong with either of those classics — and let other main dishes shine in your holiday spread. We’ve rounded up five must-try meat and fish recipes, for beef, pork, trout and more, that can be quickly and easily cooked on the grill. Check out Food Network’s favorite selections below and tell us what you’re grilling this Memorial Day weekend.
The ultimate in finger-lickin’ barbecue, the Neelys’ Wet BBQ Ribs (pictured above) are juicy, succulent and fall-off-the-bone tender. The secret to cooking these saucy beauties is to grill them over indirect heat in a slow-and-low process, allowing the meat to become soft and rich. Pat recommends basting the ribs during only the final 30 minutes of cooking, so as to prevent the ketchup-vinegar-brown sugar sauce from burning.
More favorites for Memorial Day
So often, when I think back to the food of my childhood, all I remember is the seriously healthy stuff. Dark brown whole-wheat bread, carob chips and apple slices dominate my memories of what we ate during those years. However, a recent conversation with my sister brought up a whole other set of food memories.
She remembers the toasted cheese on white sourdough, fruit snacks in our lunches and the fact that just about every Saturday, we ate hot dogs and baked beans for lunch. I don’t know if our parents relaxed their food standards when my sister came along or if my memory is deeply selective. I do know that once prompted, I vividly recalled that baked beans were one of our pantry staples.
Part of the reason my mom was so willing to keep baked beans in the pantry and hot dogs in the freezer was that they were things we could easily help prepare. Opening the beans taught can opener dexterity and the frozen hot dogs could easily be wrapped in a paper towel and microwaved until warmed through. Plus, I’m sure she figured it was a meal that offered plenty of protein for our growing bodies (my mother is a big believer in the power of protein).
With this memory fresh in my mind and Memorial Day looming, it seemed the perfect time to try my hand at a batch of from-scratch baked beans. As is so often the case, a little digging led to a recipe from culinary mastermind Alton Brown. His recipe for The Once and Future Beans helped me nail it on the first try. The active work is fairly minimal, but the beans do need a solid eight hours in the oven, which makes them perfect for a lazy weekend supper and a definite candidate for The Weekender.
Before you soak your beans, read these tips
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and what better way to kick off a sun-filled season than with a menu of relaxed, casual eats and drinks? Check out Food Network’s top five recipes for Memorial Day weekend and serve these beauties at your backyard cookout, holiday barbecue or neighborhood get-together.
5. Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes – Boasting layers of strawberry-laced whipped cream and in-season berries, stacks of cocoa-scented shortcakes from Food Network Magazine are the ultimate summertime dessert.
4. Beer Punch – Sunny’s adults-only punch bowl features fresh berries, a squirt of lime juice, grenadine and two bottles of beer.
Get the top three recipes for Memorial Day
Upgrade your barbecue sauce with help from six legendary pit masters.
Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce (pictured above)
Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous (52 South Second St.; 901-523-2746) is famous for its spice-rubbed ribs, and John Vergos, son of founder Charlie, still smokes them the way his father did when he opened the place in 1948: He cooks the pork ribs over oak charcoal briquettes, bastes them with a mix of vinegar and water, and seasons them with a paprika-heavy spice blend before serving with the sauce on the side. “Our sauce is not too heavy,” he says. “I like the little mustard and vinegar bite.” The recipe is a long-held family secret, but chefs in Food Network Kitchens ordered a few bottles and reverse-engineered the recipe.
Get more regional BBQ sauces
Ready to eat in just 30 minutes, Food Network Kitchens’ creamy, vegetable-packed pasta salad (pictured above) is a no-fuss addition to your Memorial Day menu. This naturally meatless bowl boasts fresh parsley, crunchy celery and a touch of red onion and is tossed with a smooth mayonnaise-dry mustard-sour cream dressing. Easy to store, pack and serve, this traditional side dish is a must-have at holiday picnics or any other gathering.
If you’re hosting a backyard cookout or weekend get-together, complete your spread with Dave Lieberman’s grilled Veggie Skewers, strung with colorful bell peppers, fresh zucchini, squash and more. Before skewering, Dave marinates the vegetables in a simple olive oil-garlic mixture, allowing them to adopt that rich, bold flavor.
Get the recipe: American Macaroni Salad
Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.
If you still haven’t gotten Mom a gift for Mother’s Day, it’s not too late to wow her with a loving, thoughtful present: a home-cooked meal. We’ve rounded up an entire day’s worth of Mom-approved eats and drinks, including fluffy waffles, citrus-shrimp pasta and a cool peach cocktail, so you can show her just how much you care. Check out Food Network’s top five Mother’s Day recipes below and tell us what you’re making for your mom this weekend.
5. Chocolate Waffles – Top Food Network Magazine’s cocoa-laced waffles with deliciously sweet chocolate syrup, fresh berries or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar to complete this breakfast treat.
4. Pasta Salad With Poached Shrimp and Lemon-Dill Dressing – Ready to eat in just 25 quick minutes, this in-season pasta plate features bright grape tomatoes and cucumbers, and it’s tossed with a zesty herb dressing.
Get the top three recipes
It goes without saying that Mother’s Day is always a fun day in our house. Instead of giving her gifts every year, I like to cook up a big delicious brunch so we can all lay around the house, eat great food and relax. It’s something we do quite well.
My mom is also quite the picky eater, so I have to tailor my menu to fit her palate. One thing that I can never go wrong with is any kind of baked goods. We have a sweet tooth in my family and these Blueberry Muffins that I’ve adapted from Alton Brown are always a hit.
I brightened them up with lemon zest and raspberries, and then whipped up the most addictive Chantilly Cream. Heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and a vanilla bean is a match made in heaven.
These blueberry-raspberry muffins topped with Chantilly Cream are the perfect way to show your mom some love this Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mothers out there, and thanks to my mom for being so amazing.
Get the recipe for Blueberry-Raspberry Muffins
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them into three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of it as a picture recipe.
To us, deviled eggs are the perfect party food. Not only are the majority of the ingredients already in your refrigerator and pantry, they cook up fast and they’re crowd-pleasers.
Start with the classic, then experiment
Cinco de Mayo is my favorite food holiday. I know I probably say that for every food-related holiday, but let’s be honest — Cinco de Mayo really is the best.
Growing up in Arizona meant a few things. The most important one is that you absolutely must throw a giant Cinco de Mayo party every single year regardless of what day of the week the holiday falls on. We Arizonans take our Cinco de Mayo parties pretty seriously, too. There is never a shortage of freshly made margaritas or sangria and there is always guacamole.
This year I’m going to be in Los Angeles for the holiday and while L.A. is all well and good, there is really nothing like being home in Tucson for a fun fiesta. But never fear, I’m still going all out for Cinco de Mayo this year. These two cocktails will be making an appearance for my fiesta and you should absolutely make them, too. Based loosely on two cocktail recipes from a few of my favorite Food Network stars, I’ll be whipping up a jalapeno-infused margarita and a strawberry raspberry sangria.
Get my variations
Since Derby Day traditionally happens in the beginning of May, I always associate it with the beginning of summer. Is it because the horse race is affectionately referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports?” No, it’s because I love so many of the traditions that come with it. I love that the winner is presented with a “blanket” of 554 roses. I love fiddling with a version of “burgoo,” a beef and pork stew traditionally served on this day. Burgoo is one of those recipes that can be left open to interpretation. It is traditionally made with whatever meats (beef or pork) and vegetables (lima beans, corn or okra) are available. My best results came from braising some cubed-up brisket and stirring in some corn, fava beans and peas to give it that touch of spring. With all this cooking, a cooling drink seems only fitting. The mint julep happens to be one of my favorites. It reminds me of a snow cone, the fruity, icy cone I used to get from ice cream trucks as a kid. This provides a fun drink for kids instead of a more traditional Shirley Temple.
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