Hello, Summer! Recipes And Tips For The Ultimate Memorial Day Cookout Slideshow

Hello, Summer! Recipes and Tips for the Ultimate Memorial Day Cookout

To help put your mind at ease, we pulled together quick and easy tips to throw a Memorial Day cookout that your friends and family will rave about for weeks to come. To go along with each tip, we've also provided a recipe so that your menu planning is as painless as possible.

Tip: Shop Seasonally

Some of the freshest, most beloved fruits and vegetables are available in the late spring. From broccoli to spring peas to cherries and apricots, it's time to stock up at your local farmers market for your Memorial Day bash.

Recipe: Grilled Shrimp With Apricot Sauce

Skewered and grilled shrimp are a quick and easy thing to make for your party, giving you more time to mingle with your guests. Serve this dish with a homemade apricot sauce as an appetizer or as an accompaniment for heartier proteins.

For the Grilled Shrimp With Apricot Sauce recipe, click here.

Tip: Embrace the Idyllic Weather

The last weekend in May has some of the most gorgeous weather of the year. The chilly days of winter and early spring are long gone, but the dog days of summer are still weeks ahead. Host your party outdoors. Decorate lightly with twinkle lights and the natural greenery of your backyard.

Recipe: Barbecue Potatoes

You'll want to get outside yourself! Get out of the kitchen and cook your side dishes outdoors. These smoky grilled potatoes are lightly seasoned and super-easy to cook alongside your burgers and hot dogs.

For the Barbecue Potatoes recipe, click here.

Tip: Go Low and Slow

Barbecue ribs are the perfect Memorial Day dish, if we do say so ourselves. You may be tempted to cook these delicious meat morsels on the grill the entire time, but the trick to fall-off-the-bone ribs is to do the majority of cooking in a low-heat oven and then give them a final char on the grill.

Recipe: Best-Ever BBQ Ribs

This basic ribs recipe is irresistible. It follows the most basic rules of making ribs: 1. Season. 2. Bake. 3. Grill. It's really just that simple.

For the Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs recipe, click here.

Tip: Learn About Your Grill

If you're a newbie, learn some basic grilling tips before you burn your burgers to death or undercook your chicken. Remember: There's a difference between direct and indirect heat based on where you place your foods; and if you're looking, you're not cooking.

Recipe: Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Burger

A good burger is the first thing you should grill at your backyard barbecue. This basic burger is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, and its homemade bourbon barbecue sauce is a zesty alternative to tired ketchup and mustard.

For the Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Burger recipe, click here.

Tip: Avoid Foods That Get Wrecked in the Sun

Certain foods, such as fresh tomatoes, will get totally destroyed by sitting out in the late spring heat and sun. Others, such as mayonnaise-based salads and fish, will become unsafe to eat after some time spent outdoors (not to mention they'll become quite smelly). When planning your outdoor menu, skip the mayo.

Recipe: Summer Pasta Salad

Not only does this beautifully seasoned pasta salad feature a vinegar-based dressing as opposed to a mayonnaise one, it also features the best of the season's produce. Asparagus, cucumber, and tomatoes add a wonderful freshness.

For the Summer Pasta Salad recipe, click here.

Tip: Keep Your Menu Light

If you want to keep your party going after mealtime, don't bog your guests down with hearty foods and decadent desserts. Keep your menu simple with fresh flavors, satisfying dishes, and healthy snacks.

Recipe: Grilled Fruit Skewers With Spicy Maple Cumin Glaze

Forget the oven — keep your grill on to make dessert. These grilled fruit skewers utilize the best of May flavors, and the spicy sauce adds just the right counterbalance to the juicy charred fruits.

For the Grilled Fruit Skewers With Spicy Maple Cumin Glaze recipe, click here.