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6 Sizzling Labor Day Grilling Recipes to End Summer Right

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Labor Day is one of the holidays I look forward to each year (only second to Christmas).

It signals the end of summer and the unofficial start of the colder season — or “Ber-months” as I like to call it. 

But before we say goodbye to the heat and say hello to sweater weather, we need one final celebration! 

For our last summer hoorah, we need to have an epic Labor Day Grilling Party. And I’ve got you covered on all the recipes you need to close off the season. 

1. Grilled Honey-Lime Shrimp Skewers

Because I want nothing but the best for your holiday celebration, I’m giving you all the top-notch recipes I know, from appetizers and sides to main dishes and desserts.

Let’s get started with these grilled honey-lime shrimp skewers. 

In a large bowl, whisk together a quarter cup of honey and fresh lime juice, two tablespoons of soy sauce, two cloves of minced garlic, and a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes.

Once your marinade is well combined, add a pound of your peeled and deveined jumbo shrimps into your bowl. Toss them evenly until every bit of shrimp is coated with this delicious sauce.

Then, cover your bowl and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

While your shrimp is absorbing all the honey-lime goodness, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. 

Thread your marinated shrimp onto the skewers and grill them for six minutes tops (or three minutes on each side). 

Take note, it’s really important to keep a close eye on your shrimp while they grill. If you overcook them, they will become tough, rubbery, and very hard to eat. 

When your shrimps become a perfect shade of pink with a slight char, remove them from the heat and serve them with a side of your choice. 

For me, I like serving my grilled honey-lime shrimp skewers with homemade mango salsa. And the recipe for this is pretty simple.

All you have to do is combine one diced ripe mango, a fourth cup of diced red onion, one minced jalapeño (with the seeds removed), and a fourth cup of chopped cilantro.

I also like to drizzle the juice of one lime and sprinkle some salt to complete my salsa. And there you have it, a refreshing, zesty appetizer to start your BBQ party on the right foot.

2. BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

If you’re looking for a time-tested recipe that everyone at your party will love, try making this BBQ bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.

Jalapeño poppers have made a name for themselves in the grilling world for a reason. The blend of spice from the jalapeño and the oozy, cheesy filling makes this snack so addicting. 

And while you can buy ready-made jalapeño poppers from nearby vendors, there’s nothing quite like making them from scratch, and here’s how. 

Cut 10 to 12 medium jalapeño peppers vertically in half and remove the seeds. When doing the first step, be sure to wear some gloves so you can protect your hands from the spice. 

Once your peppers are nice and deseeded, mix 8 oz. of softened cream cheese, a cup of cheddar cheese, and half a teaspoon of garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt. 

Stuff your cream cheese filling inside your cut jalapeños and wrap each pepper with a slice of bacon. 

You can secure everything with a toothpick to make sure no popper unravels in the next step — which is grilling.

Place your wrapped jalapeño poppers on the grill (with the cut-side up) and cook for 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to eat when your bacon becomes crispy and your peppers are nicely charred.

During the last five minutes of cooking, brush your popper with your go-to BBQ sauce. This will create a delicious caramel coating that seals all the flavors in. 

Yes, the classic store-bough jalapeño poppers are good enough. But you can make this snack (or, in this case, appetizer) so much better with this upgraded recipe.

3. Grilled Watermelon and Feta Salad

With your appetizers all set, let’s move on to a healthy side dish I love incorporating in all my BBQ parties: salads.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that salads are not the most popular dish in grilling events. 

Many people would rather go for the hearty meats, like ribs or the burgers, primarily because they’re chock-full of flavor.

Well, salads can be flavorful too. With the right ingredients and dressing, you can make your salad a dish people will clamor for.

And this grilled watermelon and feta salad is just the perfect example.

To make this side dish, cut a medium-sized watermelon into triangular slices. If you have seeds in yours, be sure to remove them. 

Or better yet, buy a seedless watermelon. This way, you wouldn’t have to go through the process of deseeding — which can take up a bulk of your time. 

After slicing your fruit, brush each side with olive oil and place them on the grill. Cook each side for about two minutes or until you see the grill marks appear. 

Only then can you take them off the grill and let them rest for a while.

As your grilled watermelon is cooling, prepare the rest of your salad by adding a cup of crumbled feta cheese, half a cup of sliced red onion, and a quarter cup of chopped mint leaves in a bowl.

Transfer your cooled watermelon slices to the same bowl and mix all the ingredients until they’re well combined. 

With you’re salad base done, let’s make the dressing. 

In a glass bottle, pour a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of honey, half a teaspoon of salt, and a fourth teaspoon of black pepper.

Shake your dressing for about two minutes, then pour it over your salad. You can eat it as is, or chill them for about 20 minutes before serving. 

4. Smoky Whiskey Burger Sliders

By now, your guests are probably itching to get to the main course, and I have two options for you — starting with these smoky whiskey burger sliders. 

Compared to regular burgers, sliders are much smaller, which allows your guests to have better control over their portions.

If they’re already getting full with your appetizers and sides, they can just get one slider. But if your guests have space for more, they’re more than welcome to grab two or three sliders. 

But of course, our goal is not to limit their eating. Rather, it’s to make them want more, so we’re cooking up a burger slider they can’t resist.

To make smoky whiskey burger sliders, start by combining a pound of ground beef (having an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio) with two tablespoons of whiskey and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

To this mixture, add your seasoning, like a teaspoon of smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. 

Mush them all together using your hands before dividing the meat into eight portions. The size of each patty should be around two to three inches in diameter.

Once you’ve divided your patty equally, make a small indentation in the center of each one to keep it flat while cooking. 

Before you grill your meat, let’s make our caramelized onions. For this step, you’ll need to heat a tablespoon of butter in a skillet and add one large sliced onion. Cook for 15 minutes, then set aside.

Now, grill your patties for three minutes on each side. If you want your patties well done, you can leave your meat on the grates for an additional two minutes per side. 

During the final 60 seconds, place a slice of smoked gouda cheese on top of your patty and let it melt. 

At this point, you can assemble your sliders, but I like to toast my buns for about 30 seconds before layering my sandwich. This just adds a hint of crunch and smokiness to this entrée.

With my slider buns warm and slightly crispy, I put my cheesy patty on the bottom and top it off with a spoonful of caramelized onions.

5. Grilled Peach and Prosciutto Pizza

The second main course option I want to share is this grilled peach and prosciutto pizza. It might sound unusual to mix peach with prosciutto, but trust me, it works!

First things first, prepare your pizza dough. 

If you don’t have time before your party, I suggest buying store-bought dough. But, if you want to challenge yourself, I encourage you to make your dough from scratch. 

Once you have your dough, divide it into four equal portions and shape them into eight-inch ovals. Then, brush both sides with olive oil to prevent sticking on the grill.

Next, cook your pizza dough for three minutes on each side. 

While your dough is grilling, slice two ripe peaches into wedges. Set them aside for now as you make the first layer of your pizza.

For this step, mix a cup of ricotta cheese with a quarter cup of grated Parmesan cheese, one minced garlic clove, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. 

Spread your ricotta cheese mixture over your grilled pizza dough, leaving a small border for your crust. On top of this, add your peach slices and place your pizza back on the grill. 

This should cook for another three to five minutes or until your cheese melts.

Remove your pizzas from the grill and top each one with two to three slices of torn prosciutto, a handful of basil leaves, and fresh arugula. 

Finish your pizzas off with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Although you can make this recipe by yourself, this is a good opportunity for you to turn grilling into a fun group activity. 

So, gather all the kids and grown-ups and let them make their own version of this grilled peach and prosciutto pizza. 

6. Grilled Pineapple and Pound Cake Sundaes

We can’t have a complete Labor Day BBQ party without dessert! So, to wrap up this list, here’s my grilled pineapple and pound cake sundae recipe. 

It has hints of tropical flavors — because of the pineapples — and a refreshing, cooling effect — all thanks to the ice cream.

So, if you want to know more about this out-of-the-box dessert, here’s all you need to know:

First, cut one fresh pineapple into rounds, removing the core for every slice. 

Then, brush both sides of your rounds with two tablespoons of melted butter and a quarter cup of brown sugar. This will create a crunchy, caramel coating around your fruit.

When you’re done brushing each pineapple slice, grill them for no more than six minutes (or three minutes per side) and set aside.

Meanwhile, grab your store-bought pound cake and cut it into thick slices. Brush both sides of the cake with the rest of your melted butter and grill for two minutes on each side. 

When you see grill marks start to form on your pound cake, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a serving plate. 

Finally, top your pound cake with grilled pineapples and a healthy scoop of vanilla icing. I also like adding a drizzle of caramel sauce and toasted coconuts to complete this dessert. 

Have a Labor Day BBQ That’s One for the Books

Now you’re set to have a fantastic Labor Day extravaganza! With these fun and quirky recipes, you can curate a delicious BBQ menu that will have everyone buzzing to attend your party.

From the grilled honey-lime shrimp skewers to the grilled pineapple and pound cake sundaes, you’ve got yourself a 6-course meal that’s sure to impress your guests. 

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