Awesome Grilling Recipes
Labor Day is almost upon us, which means that summer is fast coming to an end. But, rather than wallow in despair at the changing of the seasons, we recommend that you use the holiday as an excuse for one last, pull-out-all-the-stops backyard cookout.
This is a celebration, so it's no time for restraint—invite all your friends, stock up on drinks, and plan your menu early. Hot dogs and burgers have a permanent spot on ours, but there's so much more you can (and should!) do with that hot grill: smoked porterhouse steaks, whole fish tacos, spatchcocked chicken flavored with za'atar or lemon, and the best black bean burgers you've ever tasted. To do Labor Day right, keep reading for a whopping 35 of our favorite recipes for satisfying cookout main dishes.
Thick and Juicy Home-Ground Grilled Cheeseburgers
[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]
The most important step in making better homemade burgers: Say no to the store-bought ground beef (and don't even get me started on preformed patties). Grinding your own beef gives you much more control over flavor, fat content, and texture. To see just how great the possibilities are, try these burgers, made with a mix of short rib, brisket, and sirloin for intensely beefy flavor and a looser, more juice-trapping structure.
Spicy, creamy pimento cheese is every bit as delicious on a hamburger as it is on crackers; the heat and acidity make it a great partner for a meaty burger. While I generally keep my pimento cheese chunky for dipping, here you'll process it until it's very smooth to ensure optimal meltability.
Homemade Burger King Whopper-Style Cheeseburgers
Grilling a Whopper-style thin hamburger patty is tricky: In the time it takes to develop a good sear on both sides, the beef can easily turn to leather. Our solution is to cook the patties almost entirely through on one side, maximizing the smoky char and keeping them from overcooking. Once that's done, simply assemble the burger with the classic Whopper accoutrements—crinkly dill pickle slices, mayo, ketchup, sesame-seeded bun, and all—for a decidedly upgraded fast food standard.
Cajun Burgers With Spicy Remoulade
[Photograph: Morgan Eisenberg]
For these flavorful Cajun-themed burgers, we swap out the traditional burger-topping trio—lettuce, tomato, and onion—for the Cajun "Holy Trinity" of bell pepper, onion, and celery. Andouille sausage mixed into the beef adds a spicy element, bolstered by a cayenne- and horseradish-spiked remoulade. Blue cheese isn't a Cajun ingredient, of course, but it adds a little funk to these burgers that just feels right.
There's more to making a great teriyaki burger than just slapping a little teriyaki sauce onto the patty. The first step to improvement is making your own teriyaki sauce—the store-bought stuff is almost always too thin, and far too sweet. Next, brush it on at the end of cooking, so that it glazes the meat without having time to burn. And the pineapple you usually see on teriyaki burgers? The sauce already supplies plenty of sweetness, so we top the patties with crunchy cabbage and scallions instead.
The Best Grilled Hot Dogs
[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]
Natural-casing hot dogs are generally a good choice for grilling, but there's always the risk of a blowout. To make sure the franks don't pop and leak their juices onto the fire, we recommend poaching them in flavorful liquid to heat them through, then grilling them over high heat just long enough to char. If you're using skinless hot dogs, just make a few slits in them and heat them up directly on the grill, without poaching.
Grilled Bratwurst With Warm German Potato Slaw
The same poach-and-grill technique we use for basic hot dogs works wonderfully for producing tender, juicy bratwurst as well. For a classic combination of sausages and German potato salad, we gently cook bacon, potatoes, and aromatics together in beef broth, then layer on red cabbage and sausages—as the brats cook, their fat will drip down into the slaw mixture, providing extra flavor and richness. Once the sausages hit an internal temperature of 140 to 145°F, sear them over high heat and serve them with the warm slaw.