Though ribs, burgers and brats may be all the rage today, you can still maintain a meatless Memorial Day by opting for flavor-packed veggie side dishes that are as satisfying and hearty as mains. Our three simple sides below are bold, creative takes on traditional dishes, and are sure to star at your holiday cookout.
A classic picnic pick, potato salads are quick to prepare and guaranteed to feed a crowd. Spring Garden Potato Salad (pictured above) from Food Network Kitchens celebrates the season’s bounty and is made with such fresh ingredients as English cucumber, sweet cherry tomatoes, red-skinned potatoes and more. A no-fuss garlic-mayonnaise mixture dresses this colorful bowl, best finished with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Ready in only 15 minutes, Food Network Magazine’s Avocado Salad is filled with a bright, refreshing combination of mango, pineapple, creamy avocado and crunchy jicama, and is tossed in a sweet mix of lime and orange juices, shallots and fragrant cilantro. Be sure to season liberally with salt, as it marries the flavors and complements the sugars in the fruits.
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Last year, we polled FN Dish readers: Burgers or hot dogs for Memorial Day weekend? While 44 percent said they would be indulging in both, 35 percent said they were all about the burger. To ensure you cook up tender and juicy burgers this upcoming long weekend, we asked the “Magician of Meat” Pat LaFrieda, Jr. to offer up some tips.
5 Things to Avoid Doing to Your Burger
• Never place your burger on a grill that is not preheated. Always make sure your grill is hot enough and ready to cook on before placing the burger down. Too often people turn on the grill and immediately place the meat down to start cooking — and the end result is never pretty. If the grill is preheated to the right temperature, you’ll notice the difference.
Don’t do these four things to your burger
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.
With so many delicious recipes to choose from Food Network’s Memorial Day and grilling roundups, where does one start? Trying to make your crazy and hectic weekends easier, the editors of FoodNetwork.com and CookingChannelTV.com have shared their favorite recipes and packaged them up into two menus — mix and match, substitute or just make one recipe. Whatever you do, enjoy them with family and friends and share your food photos with us on Food Network’s Facebook page.
Appetizer: Pineapple Polenta Squares With Shrimp
Main: Southern Fried Chicken
Side Dish: Avocado Salad
Dessert: Blueberry Crumble With Cornmeal-Almond Topping
Get our second menu after the jump »
Put a chill into your grilling and chilling weekend this Memorial Day by mixing up a few simple and refreshing summer drinks. Our diverse ideas below will please the kids – and kids at heart – while offering some grown-ups-only favorites and unique twists on classic cocktails. Whether you’re simply barbecuing in the backyard with your family or hosting a neighborhood holiday cookout, these cool recipes are sure to quench everyone’s thirst.
Nothing says summer like a refreshing frozen marg and Bobby Flay feels the same way. His Frozen Pomegranate, Mango, Tangerine, Watermelon and Cactus Pear varieties boast cool flavors and the famed frosty consistency.
A traditional Spanish and Portuguese cocktail, sangria is most often made by mixing red or white wine with fresh fruit, sparkling soda water and various liqueurs. Food Network Magazine’s Red and White Sangria recipes are classic examples of this European summer sipper.
Like sangria, the mojito has evolved from its original Cuban mixture of white rum and mint into a transformable cocktail capable of pleasing everyone. Not a rum fan? Not a problem. Guy Fieri’s Double Apple Mojito is made with vodka and apple juice. Similarly, Tyler Florence’s Blueberry Ginger Mojito Pitchers combine vodka, soda and fresh ginger.
Browse more refreshing summer drinks »
Potato and macaroni salads: two of most iconic summer dishes in America. Here, elbow macaroni is tossed with ripe tomatoes, crunchy celery and a creamy dressing. Make it more personal by adding additional veggies for like diced bell peppers and cucumber.
Get the recipe: American Macaroni Salad
Browse more of Food Network’s Memorial Day recipes.