Labor Day will be here before we know it, bringing with it the unofficial end of summer and the opportunity to pay homage to the history of the American labor force. The public holiday was officially instituted by the federal government in 1894, providing residents of the United States with a dedicated day of recognition for the economic and sociological developments brought about by the hard work and determination of American workers.
As the United States has grown, customary celebrations of the holiday have grown to include backyard barbecues and cookouts marked by simple, delicious eats and cool drinks. While parents everywhere look forward to the long weekend and rejoice that school is back in session, we have been working to answer the one question weighing on everyone’s mind: How can I pull off the best Labor Day cookout ever?
We all know the best cookouts include a killer cookout menu, plenty of cold drinks, a relaxed setting and great company. Lucky for you, your “Go-to Grill Gurus” are here to deliver the perfect way to plan a cookout menu, recipes for the best cookout food and fresh ideas for cookout side dishes in The Only Cookout Recipe Guide You’ll Ever Need.
Master the Cookout Menu
The best way to plan a cookout menu is to start with your main dishes and build out from there. Traditional Labor Day cookout food typically involves easy crowd-pleasers like hot dogs, steakburgers and brats. That being said, no great burger or hot dog recipes are alike. We put together a short list of our favorite burger and hot dog recipes for you – choose wisely!
Choose a Burger Recipe
Each of these cookout recipes hits the mark and delivers on delicious… without a lot of prep time. We’ve tasted many burgers in our day, and every burger that made our list delivers phenomenal flavor guaranteed to take your cookout to the next level.
Classic Steakburgers, seasoned with a little salt and pepper, then grilled to perfection and topped with smoked ham, mayo, honey dijon mustard, garlic, swiss cheese and dill pickles make this burger recipe a cookout food knockout.
This savory burger recipe carries a nod to autumn and includes classic steakburgers, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper, garlic, dijon mustard, honey, braeburn or red delicious apple, lemon juice, basil, sweet onion and freshly grated ginger root.
This burger recipe by Tastes Lovely includes perfectly cooked burger patties, tangy barbecue sauce, bacon, romaine lettuce, avocado, onion rings and more! We love the unique, tangy flavor and the addition of avocado, and we know you will, too! Find her original recipe here.
Choose a Hot Dog Recipe
A hot dog is a hot dog, is a hot dog, right? So long as you start with perfection, right! Start with all-beef franks, direct from the heartland, then set up a hot dog bar complete with onions, relish, ketchup, mustard, chili and any other toppings you like, or choose one of these creative hot dog recipes you’d love to try!
Keep the heat on with this unique, flavorful rendition of a tried and true cookout food staple. This recipe by That Oven Feelin’ tops perfectly grilled franks with buffalo sauce, mozzarella, blue cheese and scallions for a fiery flavor you won’t soon forget.
Hot dogs may be a throwback to your favorite childhood meal, but there’s nothing childish about this recipe for Tex Mex Hot Dogs. Roasted corn, red onion, bell pepper, pinto beans, cilantro and more give this standard cookout menu item a creative kick in the pants. Find the original recipe over at Country Cleaver.
The Endless Meal shared this tropical take on hot dogs, and we can’t get enough! All beef hot dogs topped with grilled pineapple, creamy teriyaki mayo, red onions, jalapeno peppers and more make this one of our new favorite cookout foods.
Choose a Few Cookout Side Dishes
Now that you’ve selected your main dishes, it’s time to choose your cookout side dishes. The key to a stress-free cookout is in choosing side dishes that compliment your main dishes and do not require much prep work. The old standby options of potato chips, veggies and fruit are all solid options, but we love a well-rounded cookout menu and recommend supplementing with one or two extra sides that have a little more pizzazz.
Straight from Cooking on the Front Burner, this black bean and corn salad is tossed in a lime chili vinaigrette and packed with fresh, summery ingredients that will add dimension and balance to heavier main dishes. Find the original recipe here.
Mexican street corn has become a cookout favorite all over the country, and we love this off the cob version by Table for Two. We prefer to grill the corn, but you could prepare on the oven if you prefer.
You won’t find a blue box here! This creamy, four cheese Mac and Cheese is all grown up and the perfect side for those who would rather heat and serve.
Now that your cookout menu is finalized, you’re ready for business! Tell us, which cookout food recipe above are you most intrigued to try?