6 Labor Day Grilling Recipes from Across the USA

September 05, 2015

Savor the last stretch of summer this holiday weekend with some of our favorite grilling recipes from around the country. From California’s Santa Maria style barbecue grass-fed beef to a grilled bread salad from Vermont, there’s something on the cookout menu for everyone.

Grilled Bread Salad
Photo by Brent Harrewyn

Vermont Grilled Bread Salad with Broccoli Rabe, Cherry Tomatoes and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
This easy-to-prepare salad has lots of flavors, from the slightly bitter-tasting broccoli rabe to the mildly sweet tomatoes, as well as bright citrus notes from the lemon juice. The assortment of colored tomatoes makes a striking contrast with the green broccoli rabe.


Santa Maria Style Barbecue
Photo by Steven Brown

Santa Maria-Style Barbecue Grass-Fed Beef, Salsa and Beans
Santa Maria-style barbecue, rooted in California’s Santa Maria Valley, is all about the smoke—grilling over the coals of red oak logs, which gives it an authentic flavor. Ideally you need a wood-fired barbecue pit with a movable grate, so that you can adjust the meat’s proximity to the heat. Tri-tip is the preferred cut of meat, but you can use top block for larger quantities or try individual New York steaks. Most recipes call for using garlic salt or garlic powder in a spice rub, but we like Rancho San Julian cattle rancher Elizabeth Poett’s alternative technique of using fresh garlic.


grilled curry okra
Image courtesy of The Fitchen

Grilled Curry Okra
Okra is in full season right now in Indiana and so many people only know about cooking it the southern fried way or throwing it in some mean gumbo. This curried okra will make you think twice about the tastiest way to cook it — on the grill. It’s quick, simple, healthy and straight out of the Midwest.


watermelon ribs
Photo by Ron Manville

Nashville’s Watermelon Ribs
Years ago, senior pitmaster George Harvell of Loveless Café in Nashville was working on a movie set when a Cajun chef tossed watermelon onto the ribs Harvell was braising. At first nonplussed, Harvell was soon persuaded; watermelon ribs were good. Now, some twenty years and many iterations later, watermelon ribs are even better. Harvell has perfected the Loveless’s watermelon ribs to the point that they sell out every Thursday. To replicate them at home, smoke some ribs, (or buy some), slather with your favorite BBQ sauce and top with watermelon chunks. Cover and cook low and slow for 3 hours.


Florida Spiny Lobster
Photo by Alfredo Añez

Grilled Florida Spiny Lobster
Every summer before the commercial spiny lobster season begins in August, South Floridians take advantage of lobster mini-season to snag their share of these tasty crustaceans. Even non-fishermen get into the action, using tickle sticks to coax the “bugs” out of their rocky holes into a waiting net. While not so tender as their Maine cousins, Florida spiny lobster tails are mildly sweet and briny, and even more delicious grilled.


raspberry grilled chicken
Photo by Molly Peterson

Raspberry Grilled Chicken
This grilled chicken spread by Chef Bonnie Moore from Willowsford Farm in Ashburn, Virginia is as pretty as it is tasty. The tart, sweet fruit pairs beautifully with grilled chicken. Arrange it on a big platter and serve family style for your Labor Day gathering.