Labor Day is prime time for grilling. It’s a three-day weekend, and one of the last official holidays for most workers until Thanksgiving. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the holiday was first introduced in the 1880s as a “national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
While some workers will be kicking back and relaxing with a brewski in one hand and a remote control in the other, here at BBQ Island we’ll be picking up the spatula and apron for a day at the grill. If you’re planning a Labor Day cookout for friends and family, here are a few holiday menu ideas to stoke your BBQ fires.
Main Course: Ribs
Baby Back. Dry Rub. Memphis style. Ribs are a classic summer barbeque food – messy, delicious and stick-to-your-ribs hearty. One 3-ounce serving of pork ribs offers around 25 grams of protein, plus nutrients including magnesium, iron and several B vitamins. They’re also surprisingly easy to cook.
Lay the ribs directly on your grill (away from the flames), cover and pretty much ignore the ribs for an hour. If you’re opting for BBQ sauce or other condiments, wait till the last few minutes of cooking before applying it. That way, your ribs won’t end up blackened within an inch of their life. If you’re looking for a step-by-step recipe, check out these beefy babies from our friend Johan at Big Swede BBQ, who is teaching the last of his Steak 5 Ways classes at BBQ Island Tempe on August 26.
Side Dish: Grilled Corn with Herb Butter
Corn on the cob is the quintessential summer side. It’s easier than you think to grill up fresh ears of corn without charring the kernels. The trick is not to husk the corn prior to placing it on your barbeque grill. Start by gently folding down the husks so that you can get to the silky “hair” of the ear. Pluck the silk from the corn, then fold the husks back into place. Douse the entire ear in salted water for 10-15 minutes. Place corn on a heated grill, cover and grill for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Tip: If you like a gentle char on your kernels, fold the husks back for the last few minutes of grilling and place corn directly on a clean section of grate. Serve with melted herb butter.
Dessert: Summer Pie
Craving a sweet ending to your Labor Day meal? There’s no need to turn off the grill. Hundreds of recipes can be prepared directly on a heated grill, from traditional campfire s’mores to this delightfully simple Peach Melba from country crafter Martha Stewart. If you thought homemade pie was out of reach, think again. This peachy keen summer pie can be crafted in your Big Green Egg or other kamado grill.
Peach and Blueberry Summer Pie
3/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
4-5 peeled, sliced fresh peaches
1½ cups blueberries
1 tbsp. butter
2 pie crusts, homemade or store bought
Extra sugar and cinnamon for topping
· Set the EGG for indirect cooking with the convEGGtor at 400°F/204°C.
· Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and allspice together in a large bowl. Gently fold in blueberries and peaches.
· Pour the filling into an uncooked pie crust. Cut the butter into small pieces and distribute evenly over the top of the filling.
· Use the second pie crust to create a lattice and cover the pie. Lightly brush the lattice with one beaten egg. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the pie.
· Cook at 400°F for 30 minutes; reduce the heat to 375°F for an additional 25 minutes.
Let the pie set for about 4 hours before eating. Enjoy!
While spending your time slaving over a hot grill on Labor Day might seem counterintuitive, it’s not “work” when you love what you’re doing. Plus, as our recipes show, the best meat is made when you leave your grill alone. Set a timer and spend time with friends or family while you wait for your grill to work its magic. Of course, if you’re going to whip up a Labor Day feast to remember, you’ll need the right tools. Call 877-474-5669 or visit your local BBQ Island today for Phoenix’s best local selection of gas, charcoal and kamado grills, smokers, BBQ accessories and more.