[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

As serious eaters we're all grilling year-round (right?), but there's no denying that Labor Day signals an unofficial end of the summer grilling season. Luckily, no grill simmers out in vain as we take this holiday as a rightful excuse to spend a labor-minimal day the best way possible—tending to the flames.

Here are five winning menus that are sure to get your backyard cookouts started on the right foot and leave everyone with eternally grateful stomachs.

All-American Cookout


You hardly need me to come up with this line-up—still my go-to for grilling holidays—but I've been to enough cookouts with sub-par burgers, chicken, and hot dogs that it's worth taking the time to get these classics right.

Burgers »
Hot Dogs »
BBQ Chicken »
New Potato Salad »

Backyard Barbecue


With a three-day weekend, there's plenty of time to tend to a low fire and churn out killer slow-smoked barbecue.

Kansas City-Style Ribs »
Pulled Pork »
Brisket »
Barbecue Beans »

Tex-Mex Fiesta


On par with barbecue, Tex-Mex is my favorite food to cook, and it just so happens to be perfect for grilling for a crowd.

Chili-Spiced Skirt Steak Tacos »
Mexican Roadside Chicken »
Stuffed Poblanos with Black Beans and Cheese »
Tomatillo Salsa »

Italian Feast


I've been on an Italian-inspired grilling kick lately and loving this combination of recipes that have resulted.

Beef Pinwheels »
Meatballs with Pecorino and Parmesan »
Eggplant Caprese»
Italian-style Corn »

Serious Heat


For the heat seekers out there, this menu is sure to please.

Spicy Roasted Poblano Sausage »
Jerk Pork Skewers »
Honey-Chipotle Wings »
Corn with Chili-Lime Butter »

From me to all of you, I wish you a great holiday weekend and happy grilling!

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.


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