Simple cookout recipes for an amazing Labor Day bbq

Well, the kids are back to school, summer’s winding down, the sweet smell of pumpkin spice is wafting through the town.

Cue the record scratch…

Put down that pumpkin spiced latte! There still is one more summer holiday left.

It’s Labor Day weekend. The day we honor and recognize the American labor movement.

It’s also an excellent excuse for one more summer cookout.

If you’re planning on cooking out, here are some great recipes you can save to ClipDish to make your cookout stand out. 

Choose your meat

I like to build my cookout around the meat What can I say? Joe like meat and fire. It doesn’t get more caveman than that.


I’ll be making ribs on my Weber Smokey Mountain. Before I bought my smoker, I would make ribs on the grill, low and slow by putting a water pan between the burners and the grill grates. This acted as a heat sink that would keep the temperature under 250 °F. I first read about this technique over at Amazing Ribs.


There are all sorts of ways to grill or smoke chicken. If I’m grilling chicken I’ll follow this recipe which seems to be a staple at firehouses in our area.

Dry rubs for your meat

One of the prep steps when I make ribs is to apply a dry rub to the meat the night before.

I could buy some store bought rubs but I can control the flavor profile much better with a home made rub. 

I like my ribs to have a little kick to them, the Sweet Fire Rib Rub has brown sugar as the base and then brings the heat with chili and cayenne powder.

If you want to make chicken, try this dry rub courtesy of the Suburban Soapbox.

This is a really good jerk rub recipe from the Modern Proper you can use on pork or chicken.

BBQ sauces

Near the end of the smoke, I apply the BBQ sauce. Again, you could go for store bought but competition pit-masters generally make their own. It’s not as hard as you think and like the rubs, you can control the flavor profile.

Check out Homemade BBQ sauces add zing to your next cookout for some saucy ideas.

Cookout side dishes

What’s the best side dishes for a cookout?

Ok, this is pretty subjective but I’m going to drop my favorites here.

Pasta Salad

I’m addicted to pasta salad. It’s a comfort food and I’m always making it or asking my mom to bring it to a cookout. I skip the meat and cheeses and just load it up with veggies.

This is the best pasta salad recipe. The secret is to use both Italian dressing & a packet of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix.

Baked Beans

No BBQ is complete without baked beans. Try this recipe from Taste & Tell. Once you see how easy it is you’ll never buy another can of baked beans.

Corn on the cob

I have a grill and a smoker. The ribs are going on the smoker and I’m going to fire up the grill to make some Mexican street corn. You might have to make a trip to a specialty grocery store to get the cotija cheese. You can use parmesan as a substitute.

And for dessert…

Finally, you need to have some amazing desserts for your cookout. We’ll round out our dinner with a slice of key lime pie. You can find that and more pie recipes in 5 Summer Fruit Pies to Make Your Piehole Happy.

So, get outside, fire up the grill and smoker and enjoy the long weekend


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