Labor Day Grilling At Its Best

DENVER, CO - Barbecue Ribs from Ina Garten on a charcoal grill, for a backyard grilling recipe package on June 23, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Amy Brothers/ Then Denver Post)

It’s Labor Day weekend, and grillers everywhere are planning their menus. For many, this weekend will be one of the last chances to host a BBQ for friends and family. For the serious Grill Masters, it’s one of many weekends left in the year. Grill Masters do not have an off-season. They never put their grills away and proudly buy charcoal in bulk for year-round grilling.

Labor Day Grilling Ideas

It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or a Grill Master, we’ve got you covered with some fantastic menu ideas. Here are some classics that will make your Labor Day BBQ a hit. Our menu ideas today are Baby Back Ribs, Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs, Grilled Potato Salad, and Baked Beans.

Baby Back Ribs

Grilling baby back ribs requires patience using the “low & slow” indirect grilling method. The ribs can take up to four hours to finish using this way. Listed below will be the rib rub recipe and grilling instructions. You can also click on the link to get full instructions.

Ribs Done Right

To make some delicious baby back ribs, follow these easy directions using 2-3 full slabs. To get great tasting ribs you’ll need:

  • Rib Rub
  • Honey
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Wood Chips (hickory or apple soaked in water)
  • Charcoal
  • Your Grill

Rib Rub

Season to taste, combining the following ingredients in a bowl and mix them all together:

  • Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Cajun Spice
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Brown Sugar

Rib Prep

Once your rub is ready, it’s time to prep the ribs. You will need to remove the membrane from the back side of the ribs. The easiest way is to take a knife and start prying up the membrane at the smallest end of the ribs. Once you have it started, take a paper towel and grab the membrane while pulling it toward the larger end of the ribs. It takes practice, but once you master it, you will have no problems getting it off in one piece.

After removing the membranes, place the ribs in a large foil pan. Next up, take the rub mix and sprinkle it on both sides of the rack. Be sure to rub it in as you go along. Do the same with the other racks of ribs until they’re all seasoned. If you have any extra rub, save it until the ribs are going on the grill.

Grill Time

When the ribs are fully seasoned, light the grill using the three zone method. This requires using 15-20 briquettes on both sides of your grill. When the charcoal is ready, replace the grate. Be sure to place the two handles over the coals to allow for wood chips later. Place one rack of ribs on the grill, and take the honey and drizzle it on the top of the ribs. Take any extra rub mix you have and sprinkle it onto the honey drizzled ribs. Do the same with the next 1-2 racks of ribs, drizzling honey and sprinkling the rub mix.

Next up is adding the wood chips that have been soaking in water to both sides of the grill. Gently drop a handful of chips through the two openings onto the coals and close the lid. Place the vent halfway open directly above one end of the ribs. You will see and smell delicious smoke rising out of the vent after a few minutes.

Let There Be Smoke

Allow the ribs to smoke for 45 minutes, then “shuffle the ribs” and add more chips. Do this every 45 minutes, shuffling the ribs to get an even smoke flavor. The ribs should cook for 3-4 hours so you may need to add additional coals to keep up the heat level. When you are on your last shuffle, take a sauce brush and brush on your favorite BBQ sauce on all sides of the ribs.

Let them cook for another 45 minutes then take them off and rest for 10-15 minutes. Racks can be cut into thirds, halves, or individual ribs depending on how many people are invited.

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

This twist on the classic grilled hot dog will certainly stand out for your guests.

Recipe Needs

  • 1-2 Packages All Beef Hot Dogs
  • 1-2 Packages of Bacon
  • Toothpicks
  • Hot Dog Buns
  • Condiments of Mustard, Onion, Pickle, Relish, Tomato Slices, Sport Peppers, and Ketchup (for non-Chicagoans)

Take one piece of bacon and wrap it around each hot dog end to end. Secure each end of the bacon using a toothpick through the hot dog. Grill the hot dogs indirect due to the potential grease fire from the bacon drippings. Once the bacon is fully cooked, remove the dogs and serve to your guests who will be drooling.

Grilled Potato Salad

This recipe is a hit and tremendous conversation starter for your guests. They will all want to know how did you “grill potato salad” without it falling through the grate? Be patient and remember above all that they will never want potato salad any other way after they have tasted this classic.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 Large Red Potatoes
  • 1 Medium Red Onion Chopped
  • 5-6 Stalks of Celery Chopped
  • 1 Medium Sweet Red Pepper Chopped
  • 3-4 Hard Boiled Eggs Chopped
  • 1 Medium Pickle Chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 Cups of Your Favorite Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons of Mustard (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • Cajun Spice
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Black Pepper

It’s All In The Potatoes

Take your potatoes and cut them into quarters lengthwise. You can cut them into sixths if they’re really large ones. Put the potato slices into a large bowl and drizzle them with the olive oil. Next up, season all sides of the slices with the spices listed above.

Grill Time

Light your grill, placing a mound of 20-25 charcoal briquettes in the center. Once the coals reach that “perfect grey,” place your potato slices around your grill grate evenly. Grill them for ten minutes, then turn them over. After another ten minutes, turn them over again. Do this until the potato slices are cooked through, making sure to grill them evenly on all sides. Remove the slices and allow to cool. 

Building The Masterpiece

Take the cooled potato slices and cut them into bite-size portions. Place them into a large bowl, then add in the mayonnaise and mustard. Gently stir them until they are completely covered. Next, add in the chopped onion, pepper, celery, pickle, and hard-boiled egg. Gently mix everything together, trying not to break up the potatoes. It’s at this point that you will have to judge the consistency you’re after. If you want your potato salad creamy, add in some more mayo. Allow your potato salad to sit in the fridge at least an hour or two. This will allow all the goodness to sink into every bite. There’s something about the grilling of the potatoes that adds an incredible flavor to the dish. Your guests will notice the difference. 

Baked Beans

This is an easy recipe that your guests will love. You’ll need several cans of baked beans, 5-6 slices of bacon cut into small squares, a small red onion chopped, brown sugar, and honey. Take a corning ware dish or foil pan and place the beans on the bottom. Sprinkle the chopped red onion across the top of the beans, then add the bacon almost covering the beans. Spread out a thin layer of brown sugar and then drizzle the honey across the top. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. Uncover the pan and bake for an additional one hour. Right before serving, give the beans a good stir to mix in all the flavors.

Labor Day Wrap Up

Labor Day does signal the end of summer and the approach of fall. It’s a great opportunity to grill for your friends and family while the weather is still good. As fall turns to winter, Grill Masters realize they’ll be the ones grilling out in the cold while their guests stay warm inside the house. Grilling is their passion and they would never trade places.

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