Posted August 28, 2018

6 Recipes Perfect for Your Labor Day Cookout

Eat + Drink

With Labor Day just around the corner, here are some of our favorite recipes that are perfect for a late summer barbecue. From Nashville to Austin, we hope they inspire you to mix it up at your next backyard cookout. Fire up the grill and make the most of summer while it’s still here!

Chef Stephen Bonin of Geraldine’s in Austin is a fan of fresh grilled or smoked seasonal vegetables like the Grilled Squash made with pecan gremolata and lime ricotta and the Smoked Carrots made with mole, sumac, puffed amaranth and chicken skin. Here are some of his top tips on grilling veggies:

  1. Wood Matters

Wood that’s been aged 9-12 months burns much better because the water in the bark has completely dried out. Chef is a fan of oak wood for added depth and flavor.

Geraldine's Grilled Squash Richard Casteel

Geraldine’s Grilled Squash recipe is made with pecan gremolata and lime ricotta — a delicious addition to your summer BBQ repertoire. Image credit: Richard Casteel

  1. Don’t Play with Fire

Make sure you don’t let the flames directly come into contact with the food you’re grilling! This will char the food and take away from the overall flavor.

  1. It’s All in the Placement

When grilling, find the “hot spot” on the grill to place your food. This will cook the vegetables quickly and keep them from getting overcooked. An easy way to find your grill’s hot spot is the “Toast Test”. If you cover your grill with slices of bread, turn the burners on high and run the grill for a few minutes, you’ll be able to turn over the pieces of bread and see which areas have toasted more. This will tell you where your grill’s hot spots are located.

Geraldine's Smoked Carrots Richard Casteel

Try Geraldine’s Smoked Carrot recipe made with made with mole, sumac, puffed amaranth and chicken skin. Image credit: Richard Casteel

Bear Creek Farm Pork Ribs, Courtesy of Chef Daniel Gorman Henley – Nashville, TN

Chef Daniel’s recipe for ribs that pack a punch with chili powder for added spice. Coca Cola lends an unexpected twist that balances the spicy with the sweet. Between the Cola BBQ sauce and spicy peanuts, these ribs are sure to impress even the most seasoned barbecue connoisseur.

Henley Bear Creek Farm Pork Ribs

Up your ribs game with this recipe that packs an extra punch from chili powder for extra spice.



  • 2 Racks Spare Ribs

Rib Rub:

  • 1cup Kosher salt
  • 5 tbsp Ancho Chili powder
  • 5 tbsp Gochugaru Chili Powder (you can find this at an Asian grocery store or order online)
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 5 tbsp El Grande Chili Powder
  • 24oz Coke – or root beer

BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup drippings from cooked ribs
  • 2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cu[ Gochujang – Korean chili paste, available online
  • 1 ea lime juice
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • Crushed salted peanuts for garnish
  • First peel off the silver skin from the back of the ribs and cut into portions that fit into a cryovac bag.
  • Mix all ingredients together for the rub, then pour mixture over portioned ribs.
  • Allow ribs to marinate for one hour before transferring into vacuum seal bags.
  • Vacuum seal all bags and cook at 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours.
  • Remove ribs from bath and allow transfer to the cooler to chill before removing from the bag.
  • Remove all ribs from the bags, and cut into individual ribs, saving the juice from the bags.
  • Combine the drippings, ketchup, gochujang, lime juice, fish sauce, and mustard into a small sauce pot and bring to a low simmer.
  • Cook sauce for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat your favorite grill and pull out ribs.
  • Grill ribs to lightly char on both sides then baste with BBQ sauce.
  • Go as heavy or as light with the sauce as you would like.
  • After ribs are hot and glazed they are ready to go.
  • Transfer to a service platter and sprinkle with salted toasted peanuts.

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Grilled Summer Garden Pizza, Courtesy of Chef Ethan McKee Urbana – Washington, DC

(Makes two 12” Pizzas)

 Chef Ethan combines fresh toppings picked straight from the garden and homemade pesto for pizzas cooked on the grill that taste like summer.

Handmade Pizza, Urbana, Washington D.C. Scott Suchman

The secret to this sauce? Pesto, for a true garden-fresh summer feel. Image credit: Scott Suchman



  • Two 9-oz pizza doughs (see recipe below)
  • 8 oz resh pesto (see recipe below)
  • 8 oz mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup eggplant, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup zucchini, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup fresno chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives

Pizza Directions:

  • Pre-heat the grill.  If using charcoal, push the coals to one side so there is a hot side and a cooler side.  If using gas, turn one side to high and the other side to medium-low.
  • On a floured work surface, stretch the pizza dough out with your hands to about a 1/8 inch thickness (leaving the edges slightly thicker for the crust). Transfer to floured sheet tray.
  • Slide the crusts onto the hot side of the grill and cook for 1-2 minutes until lightly charred.
  • Flip the crust over and transfer to the cooler side of the grill.
  • Spread the pesto out evenly in a thin layer with a spoon onto the two crusts.
  • Divide the rest of the toppings evenly on the pizzas.
  • Cover the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pizza is piping hot.
  • Remove the pizzas from the grill onto a cutting board and season with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil on each, garnish with the chives, and serve.

Pizza Dough Ingredients:

  • 12 oz pizza flour (“00” if you can find it, this is finer than most flours
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ oz fresh yeast dissolved in 2 tbsp water
  • 7 oz ice cold water

Pizza Dough Recipe:

  • Combine the flour with the salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Stir the water and yeast together in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl and mix on low speed for 12 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and cover with a damp towel.
  • Let the dough rise at room temperature for one hour.
  • Cut the dough into two equal pieces and form them into balls.
  • Let the dough rise for another hour at room temperature covered with a damp cloth.

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed Italian parsley
  • 1 pint packed basil leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pesto Directions:

  • Combine the parsley, basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a blender.
  • Turn the blender on to medium-high speed and pour in the olive oil.
  • Blend until smooth and transfer the pesto to a bowl.
  • Stir in the parmesan and season with salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

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Chicken Inasal Marinade, Courtesy of Chef Anthony Sinsay Jsix – San Diego, CA

For a new take on grilled chicken, try Chicken Inasal. Inasal is a unique marinade combining a mixture of traditional Filipino ingredients like kalamansi juice with the Spanish-influence of achiote and a dose of lemon-lime soda. The result is as delicious as it is eclectic.

Jsix Chicken Inasal Recipe

Try this mouth-watering marinade to make your BBQ chicken truly pop on the menu.



  • 1 cup lemon-lime soda
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup grams achiote paste
  • 4 oz. onion
  • 2 oz. garlic
  • 2 ea serrano chilis
  • 1 oz. ginger root
  • 1/3 cup kalamansi juice (Filipino citrus juice but you can use lime juice too)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth and marinate chicken for 24 hours.
  • Grill on medium heat until cooked through, serve with steamed Jasmine Rice, and grilled vegetables of your choice.

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Spice Rub, Courtesy of Chef Matt Sigler Il Solito – Portland, OR

Already have your grill routine down? Experiment with different spice rubs until you find the one that becomes your signature. This one’s a good start.

Il Solito Spice Rub

Better BBQ starts with an amazing rub. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavors — this recipe is a good start.



(Note: This will make enough rub for roughly 20 lbs of meat. Adjust accordingly, or store in the fridge for up to a month)

  • 1tsp Controne chili
  • ¾ cup fennel seed
  • 1/2 cup black pepper
  • 1/2 bunch thyme
  • 1/2 bunch rosemary
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 5 ea anchovies
  • 2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup salt
  • Zest of 8 lemons
  • In a food processor, combine anchovy, garlic, zest and all the herbs and spices and pulse till spice is broken down.
  • Then add oil, white wine and salt in and pulse till it all comes together.
  • Lightly rub chicken, pork, beef, or veggies with the mix 30 minutes ahead of time and let rest before grilling.
  • That’s it! Don’t over season or it will be too salty.

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Grilled Nectarines with Goat Cheese, Honey and Roasted Cashews, Courtesy of Chef Heather Terhune Tre Rivali – Milwaukee WI

(Serves 6)

We have you covered on dessert with two takes on grilled stone fruit, one incorporating goat cheese and honey, and the other in the form of an upside-down cake.

Grilled Nectarines Summer BBQ Recipes @lorenklein

Try this new modern take on dessert with grilled nectarines (served two ways!). Image credit: @lorenklein via Twenty20



  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 oz goat cheese
  • ½ cup roasted and salted cashews
  • 6 firm but ripe nectarines, halved, pitted
  • Prepare grill to (medium-high heat).
  • Brush nectarines generously with half of the honey. Grill until heated through, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes. Arrange 2 nectarine halves, cut side up, on each plate.
  • Sprinkle 1oz goat cheese into centers of each nectarine halves.
  • Drizzle with remaining honey. Top with cashews and serve.

Grilled Peach Upside-Down Cake

(Serves 8)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • Six large ripe fresh peaches cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Heat charcoal or gas grill. Melt bottom of 12-inch cast iron pan with butter. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly in bottom of pan.
  • Brush cut side of peaches with a bit of canola oil. Grill peach halves cut side down. For a few minutes until they get a bit charred.   Arrange peaches in single layer over brown sugar, cut side down.
  • In large bowl, stir together granulated sugar, buttermilk, butter, vanilla and the egg until sugar is completely dissolved. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt until well blended.
  • Pour batter over peaches in pan, covering peaches completely and smoothing batter with spatula or back of spoon.
  • Fill 8-inch square disposable foil pan halfway with water. Place in bottom of grill; arrange hot coals around pan. Note: If using a gas grill, place the pan next to cake. Make sure the flame is off on the side where the cake is and the flame is under the pan of water.
  • Place grill rack on grill. Place cake pan on rack directly over pan of water. This will allow cake to cook evenly over indirect heat.
  • Cover grill, leaving vents open. Bake cake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 45 minutes.
  • Run thin knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Place serving plate upside down over pan; turn plate and pan over. Remove pan. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

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Grilled Stone Fruit & Burrata Salad, Courtesy of Chef Amber Lancaster Sable Kitchen & Bar – Chicago, IL

Another grilled stone fruit recipe never hurt anyone right? Right! Here’s another spin, this time in salad form.

Sable Grilled Stone Fruit + Burrata Salad Michelle Banovic

Try this new-age spin on classic grilled fruit: a mixed salad served on a bed of burrata. Image credit: Michelle Banovic



  • 1 Cup Imported Burrata
  • 2 Cups Farmer’s Market Peaches
  • 2 Cups Farmer’s Market Heirloom Tomatoes (Large & Small, Assorted)
  • 5 Pieces Torn Basil
  • 5 Pieces Chives
  • 1 Cup Pearl Onions
  • 1 Cup chopped Red Onions
  • ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Clarified Butter
  • ½ Cup Canola Oil
  • 4 EA Peeled Garlic Cloves
  • 4 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 1 EA Ciabatta Bread
  • Salt and Pepper (To Taste)
  • Pre-heat grill or grill pan to high.
  • Wash, dry, and cut heirloom tomatoes into quarters.
  • Using a whisk, mix together all of the components for the marinade: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar and Honey. Pour the marinade over the tomatoes. Add in your chopped red onions, and chives to allow time to marinate.
  • Wash, dry, and cut peaches into quarters. Marinate with Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper. Once they have had some time to rest in the marinade, place them on the grill (or in a hot sauté pan face down) to get a nice charred, or grill flavor. Put aside.
  • Wash, dry, and cut off the ends of the pearl onions. Cut in half and marinate with Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper. Toss on the grill or in a sauté pan, face down to get a nice charred color and flavor.
  • In a medium heat sauté pan, add in your Canola Oil. Slowly start adding in randomly torn pieces of your ciabatta, and cook on low and slow until they start to get crispy and firm on the outside. Once they are crispy, add in your garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and clarified butter and allow them to get to a nice golden brown color.
  • Finally, build your dish. Place your Burrata on the bottom of the dish; add your tomatoes to the top of it in the center, and your grilled peaches. Garnish with torn croutons and basil.

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