Cookouts are the quintessential way to end the summer season, and Labor Day is the perfect excuse to celebrate. Gather your friends and family, fire up the grill, and enjoy a bittersweet summer send off. The last big barbecue of the season deserves unforgettable food, and if you’re looking for the ultimate Labor Day recipes, we have you covered. These recipes, courtesy of Casey Easton of Food Lab Boulder are guaranteed to impress your guests.
Grilled Mexican Corn
The reason you see a lot of renditions of Mexican street corn is because it is so good. Toss the corn on the grill and have a little buffet for people to build their own, or take the decision making out for your guests and pile on the goods before serving. I personally like the crema rather than the authentic mayo, but to each his own!
Yield 4 Servings
4 corns on the cob
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP Mexican crema
2 TBSP Mayo
1 TBSP Red chili powder
1 Lime, juiced
½ cup Cotija, crumbled small
½ cup gratedParmesan
- Turn grill on high. Place shucked corn on the grill, turning every couple of minutes for about 10-12 minutes.
- Blend crema (or sour cream), mayonnaise, chili powder, lime juice and salt in a bowl
- When corn is done, remove from heat and smother first with the butter then with the crema mixture.
- Top with cheeses and pepper and serve.
We like to add any vegetable possible to this, so feel free to make your own combo! Adding some salami is always a fun addition too. Use any bread (one of our favorites is pretzel buns!).
Yields 4 side servings
2 thick slices farmhouse or other bread (at least 1 inch thick)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ English cucumber, diced
½ yellow bell pepper, diced
2 green onion, sliced into rounds
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
3 sprig basil, chiffonade
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig thyme, stemmed
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
- 1. Turn grill on medium heat. Drizzle thick bread slices with olive oil and grill each side for about 5 minutes–you want some nice char. Remove and let cool, then dice into large pieces.
- 2. Make vinaigrette by combining the garlic, thyme, Dijon and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the oil, then season with salt and pepper.
- 3. Toss vinaigrette with cut vegetables and toasted bread, and let soak at least 5 minutes before eating…but the more time, the better!
This cool refresher is sure to please. If you can find yellow watermelon, it is fun to mix it up with the red.
Yield 6 servings
1 small seedless watermelon, cubed into 1” cubes
½ cup mint
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup feta cheese
½ red onion, sliced thin
2 limes, juiced and zested
Red Pepper flakes
½ cup pumpkin seeds to top
- Place onion in a bowl with salt and juice of one lime.
- Toss watermelon, mint, oil, salt, red pepper flakes and cheese. Stir in onions.
- Top with pumpkin seeds and enjoy!
Although pizza dough is easy to make, it’s easier to buy. I typically make it if I am at home and want it, but sometimes will grab a ball of dough when I see it fresh at Whole Foods. It’s not that much more cost wise and I know I won’t be scraping dough off my counters all night! This is super easy for the grill, although it takes a bit of skill (and maybe some mistakes) to perfect. You can also use a pizza stone or cast iron pizza pan directly on the grill!
Yields 1 larger pie or 2 smaller
1 bunch store bought dough
½ cup gorgonzola
6 slices prosciutto
6 figs, sliced
Balsamic reduction or glaze
- Heat grill to medium high.
- Using flour, form your dough into a large or 2 smaller rounds. Set on a sheet pan for transfer. Spread a little bit of olive oil on the dough, this will help the dough be more malleable as well as not stick to the grill. Carefully bring the dough out and lower it onto the grill. Once it touches the grill you will not be able to move it until it’s done, or you will tear it! So you may get some funny shaped pizza.
- Close the grill and grill for 5 minutes, checking to make sure it’s not burning. Flip and grill a minute more. Remove
- Place on a sheet pan to put your toppings on: gorgonzola, prosciutto, and figs. Return to grill a few more minutes, remove, and top with salt, oil and vinegar.