We think this cookout idea is a stroke of genius. Serve condiments in new mini paint pails (foodsafe), with pastry brushes for spreading (pails, $4 each, containerstore.com; brushes, $3 each, norprowebstore.com). The brushes give you better coverage than a typical squeeze bottle — all the more reason to step up your condiments, too: Try our homemade ketchup.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
Whether you’re having a picnic, a backyard cookout or a family reunion, a salad is always a good idea to have on the menu, for three reasons: It’s easy to make, most recipes can be made in advance, and it’s great for serving a crowd of hungry family members and friends. And those hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks and other grilled main dishes need a great side to round out the offerings.
If you’re looking for that perfect picnic salad recipe, Food Network has 11 dishes — including potato salad, pasta salad and green bean salad — that are sure to be winners this Memorial Day weekend. For more ideas for summer entertaining, check out Food Network’s Grilling Central.
Get the Picnic Salad Recipes
For the last few years, my husband and I have been in the habit of visiting friends in Northampton, Mass., for the long Memorial Day weekend. We make the trek from Philadelphia on Saturday morning, arriving sometime in the early afternoon, very ready for several days of catching up, early cocktail hours and lazy meals.
One thing that’s always particularly fun about these weekends is that these friends take their grilling very seriously. We live in an apartment without a stitch of outdoor space, so I’m always excited to have an opportunity to cook outside on a real, live flame (my everyday cooktop is an ancient, soul-less electric stove).
Two years ago we experimented with grilled pizzas (a huge success!), and last summer we cooked up a buffet of sausages, from-scratch veggie burgers and a mountain of grilled vegetables. As our visit approaches, I’ve had my eyes open for new recipes that might work well on their deluxe grill.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
This Memorial Day weekend, show your patriotism with a red, white and blue dessert. It’s the perfect way to end a backyard gathering with family and friends. No one will be able to resist a dessert that symbolizes the holiday.
Food Network has 10 recipes that will make your Memorial Day entertaining memorable and easy above all else. Many of these recipes only require a little bit of effort to create a grand-looking dessert, like the Red, White and Blueberry Trifle pictured above — it uses store-bought angel food cake. But the most important feature of all these recipes is that they display the nation’s colors. There’s even a Flag Cake if you want to be extra patriotic!
Get the Red, White and Blue Desserts
With Memorial Day this coming weekend, it’s time to get out the grill and brush up on your skills, because it’s the start of grilling season! And what’s more iconic for a backyard party than a juicy burger? If you want to be the best grill master on the block, you’ll need to know how to prepare those burgers the right way.
Food Network has everything you need to know to grill moist and juicy patties — and not those hard and tough pucks that make everyone cringe. There are many different guides on the subject, telling you to form the patties a certain way, to make a dimple in the patty and to not press the burgers as they cook. Yes, these are valid points, but when you want to get grilling, you don’t want to be reading a lengthy instruction manual on the subject. Food Network’s guide simplifies it for you, with just six tips that will get you great results.
Get the Burger Secrets
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