We’ve put together a collection of fantabulous recipes for grilling and noshing during these very hot dog days of summer. You know what I always say: Make Frosé while the sun shines, kids. Lots and lots of Frosé. Without further ado, here are our 12 best Labor Day recipes du moment.

David Leite's handwritten signature of 'David.'
All the fixings for a New England clambake - lobster, clams, potatoes, corn, lemon - scattered on a white surface.
Erin Kunkel
1 of 12

New England Clambake

This New England clambake, made with clams, lobster, Old Bay, sweet corn, and potatoes, is a summer classic that’s easy to make at home. No sand or surf required.

This New England clambake was great! Followed directions and added some shrimp in because why not? Huge hit! Definitely making this again!!!

Three grilled pork burgers topped with coleslaw and yum yum sauce on a wooden serving tray.
Ken Goodman
2 of 12

Grilled Pork Burgers

These easy grilled pork burgers can be made in a Big Green Egg or on a gas or charcoal grill.
Three easy marinated chicken skewers on a blue plate and a fourth one on top of a piece of flatbread.
Laura Edwards
3 of 12

Easy Marinated Chicken Skewers

These chicken kebabs are a cinch to throw together. Whip up a flavorful honey, soy, and chile marinade, let the pieces of chicken thigh soak up all that flavor, and then quickly grill or broil.

This is a delicious and very easy chicken skewer dish. I used medium chili powder because we like spicy food.

Three ears of grilled Mexican-style street corn slathered with lime mayo and sprinkled with cilantro, cheese, hot sauce.
David Malosh
4 of 12

Elote ~ Mexican-Style Street Corn

For this Mexican-style street corn, or elote, sweet corn is grilled, slathered with lime mayonnaise, and sprinkled with cheese, cilantro, and hot sauce. The corn husks make for a nifty eating handle.
Beer from a Budweiser bottle being poured into a glass of mean shandy.
Paul Winch-Furness
5 of 12


A mean shandy is the bourbon-spiked, updated version of the classic summer drink. A light, fizzy sipper for hot weather but with just a little more punch (and flavor) than your average brew.
A rack of barbecue beef ribs, with four sliced off the end.
Geno Loro
6 of 12

Barbecue Beef Ribs

Just like a country ham that’s dry-cured with salt and sugar and aged to perfection, a good beef rib sauce must balance sweet (in this case brown sugar) with spicy (cayenne and dry mustard). And, as with baby back pork ribs, beef ribs benefit from the added depth and complexity of a rich sauce because they don’t have that much flavor to begin with.

Seriously delicious! My husband made these barbecue beef ribs last night. We will be making them again!

A platter of pickle-brined fried chicken with pieces of dill pickle, and a bottle of beer.
Peter Frank Edwards
7 of 12

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken

If you've never tried pickle-brined fried chicken, it needs to go to the top of your must-make list. Now.
A yellow bowl filled with cowboy caviar salad with a bowl of tortilla chips on the side.
Ellen Silverman
8 of 12

Cowboy Caviar Salad

Cowboy caviar salad–a no-ccok mix of beans, scallions, onion, bell peppers, jalapeños, corn, tomato, and avocado tossed in a lime-honey dressing. Perfect for picnics and tailgating.

The cowboy caviar is amazingly good! I followed the recipe exactly except used banana pepper instead of jalapeño. Wonderful summer side dish.

Lynne T.
Three chewy chocolate brownies stacked on top of each other with another leaning on the stack on a piece of parchment.
America’s Test Kitchen
9 of 12

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

These chewy chocolate brownies have everything we love about boxed brownies but they're so much better. Made with real, recognizable ingredients, these easy brownies have that chew factor and a mega dose of chocolate.
A baked plum crumble pie with a serving cut from it and a knife on the table beside it.
Staci Valentine
10 of 12

Plum Crumble Pie

This plum crumble pie is made a traditional pastry crust, a bubbling fruit filling, and an easy crumble topping. An easy summer dessert.
Salted caramel ice cream in a loaf pan on a pattern baking sheet with a scoop and scooper on top.
Cenk Sonmezsoy
11 of 12

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Salted caramel ice cream is a salty sweet homemade ice cream lovers’ dream come true with a lusciously dark, almost bitter caramel taste. Definitely ice cream for adults. Ice cream maker required.
Three pieces of Cheryl Day's s'mores bars on individual fluted plates
Angie Mosier
12 of 12

Cheryl Day’s S’mores Bars

These easy s'more dessert bars are every bit as good as the classic childhood campfire treat. Toasted meringue and creamy chocolate filling are piled atop a buttery graham cracker crust for the full experience. No fire required, but you will need plenty of napkins.

Labor Day Cooking FAQs

What are the best sides to serve at a cookout?

Offer an assortment of hot and cold side dishes to complement whatever you’re tossing on the grill. Some popular choices include pasta salad, creamy coleslaw, baked beans, spicy grilled corn, Greek salad, smoked mac and cheese, garlic bread, and classic potato salad.

what can i offer my vegetarian guests at a BBQ?

There are plenty of great vegetarian options for grilling and cookouts. This easy grilled vegetable salad and these grilled vegetable skewers are both popular choices, as is this spinach, tomato, and mushroom burger.

what food safety precautions do i need to take for my cookout?

There are several important food safety precautions to take when hosting an outdoor gathering.

1. Keep everything clean–Ensure your utensils and food preparation surfaces are cleaned regularly, particularly when preparing raw meat. Wash your hands frequently.

2. Keep perishable foods at the right temperature–Cold foods should be served cold, and hot foods hot. Keep your cold foods in a cooler or on a bed of ice, out of the sun, and store hot foods in chafing dishes or in a slow cooker. Perishable foods should not be left out for longer than 2 hours.

3. Cook your meat thoroughly–Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your meat and poultry are cooked to a safe temperature. Ground meats should be cooked to 160°F (71°C), poultry to 165°F (74°C), and pork or beef cuts to 145°F (63°C).

What’s on your Labor Day weekend menu this year? Let me know in a comment below.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. Hi David— I’m having pulled pork made with American Spoon Foods Cherry Grilling Sauce, Old fashioned German Potato Salad and Coleslaw. Chocolate Sheet Cake for dessert. Yum!