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15 Grilling Projects For Your Memorial Day Weekend

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With America’s recent embrace of project cooking, it’s time to take that ethos outdoors. These recipes are the opposite of a quick steak or chicken breast that you slap on the grill. They take time, in the form of marinating, braising, or low-slow smoking. That doesn’t mean they’re difficult though: for the most part, you can kick back at home (which you’re doing anyway) and let the grill do its work.

  • Recipe

    Fred’s Ultimate Smoked Pork Shoulder

    This North Carolina-style pulled pork takes cues from many barbecue other traditions: the rub is more Memphis, and he injected brine, which keeps the pork moist, is Cuban in influence.

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  • Recipe

    Barbecue-Braised Vietnamese Short Ribs with Sweet Vinegar Glaze

    Thought you couldn’t get slow-cooked flavor from the grill? When barbecue-braising, your grill performs like an oven: You just put your pot on the grill, cover, and let the meat simmer. After braising, add the flavor-packed glaze. The result is delicious, saucy, fall-off-the-bone meat, perfect for summertime entertaining.

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  • Recipe

    Barbecue Paella with Chicken, Shrimp & Chorizo Sausage

    Though it might seem unorthodox, the classic rice dish from Valencia, Spain, was originally cooked over an open fire. It can made with a multitude of different ingredients, including chicken, pork, shellfish, fish, eel, sausage, beans, peas, peppers, or artichokes.

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  • Recipe

    Hickory-Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Apricot-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

    Tender baby backs get big flavor from a quartet of seasonings—a spice rub, a tangy mop that keeps the ribs moist on the grill, hickory wood smoke, and a sweet-tart glaze and dipping sauce.

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  • Recipe

    Spit-Roasted Chicken with Tarragon Butter

    When it comes to grilling a whole chicken, nothing beats spit-roasting. You'll need a special rotisserie attachment for your grill (there are models available for both gas and charcoal grills), but it's well worth the investment: As the bird slowly rotates above the grill, it bastes itself both inside and out, which produces incredibly moist meat and beautifully browned skin. Even the breast meat stays succulent. When the chicken comes off the spit, be sure to let it rest for a few minutes so the juices are evenly distributed through the meat. 

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  • Recipe

    Barbecue-Braised Bourbon Beef with Mustard Glaze

    Think ultra-tender pot-roast, but with smoky notes from the grill and a bourbon mustard sauce.

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  • Recipe

    Cedar-Planked Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Rub and Horseradish-Chive Sauce

    Grilling on soaked cedar planks has a lot of benefits: the planks char lightly, creating cedar smoke that delicately perfumes the food, and fish doesn’t stick to the grill grates because it’s on the planks. Plus, this spice rub—a simple mixture of salt, cracked black pepper, lemon zest, fresh thyme, and a bit of sugar—pairs really well with the cedar-smoke flavor. Because it's a simple technique, it's easy to grill two fillets at once and use the leftover fillet the next day in a salad or sandwich.

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  • Recipe

    Jamaican Jerk Pork

    This juicy, flavorful pork takes time—a few hours to brine, overnight to marinate, and 7 or 8 hours to smoke. It’s mostly hands off, and well worth it. In Jamaica, this is street food that’s eaten with rice and peas, grilled corn, or fried cornbread called festival.

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  • Recipe

    Smoked Lamb Ribs with Rosemary and Fig Barbecue Sauce

    This recipe won Best Lamb Ribs and overall Grand Championship at the Meatopia Bare Bones BBQ Contest at the Eat Real Festival in Oakland, California, in 2012. The seasoning paste and sauce do nothing to mask the great flavor of lamb; they only help to enhance and celebrate this bold meat.

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  • Recipe

    Grilled Whole Wild Salmon with Preserved Lemon and Fennel

    This showstopping main course is perfect for a summer cookout or celebration. The salmon comes off the grill juicy and tender, perfumed with the preserved lemon-fennel stuffing and deeply seasoned from the cumin-and-garlic-spiked spice paste rubbed into the skin and cavity. Serve with grilled zucchini and eggplant, and warm flatbread.

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  • Recipe

    Smoked Chicken Halves with Lemon-Ginger Barbecue Sauce

    This chicken gets its rich complexity from wood smoke and layers of flavors: a spice rub, a mustardy mop sauce, and a zesty-sweet barbecue sauce that’s seared onto the meat for a gorgeous lacquered finish. For the best smoky flavor, use a charcoal grill. 

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  • Recipe

    Lechon Asado con Mojo (Cuban Grilled Pork with Mojo)

    This is the garlicky and grand centerpiece of the Cuban celebration. The pork needs at least 8 hours to marinate in the mojo and about that long to cook, but the results—unbelievably tender meat and crisp, crackly skin—are worth the wait.

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  • Recipe

    Apple-Bacon Barbecued Ribs (Gas Grill Version)

    The smoky-sweet-spicy flavor of this rub and sauce is a classic complement for pork ribs, the perfect celebratory meal for Father's Day or any barbecue. You can use either spareribs or baby back ribs for this recipe; baby backs will require about an hour less cooking time. To make these ribs on a charcoal grill, see the charcoal version of the recipe. And, visit the Guide to Grilling for hundreds more recipes for ribs, beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables.

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  • Recipe

    Grill-Roasted Honey Barbecued Chicken

    This whole grill-roasted chicken is rubbed with an intense spice paste and then basted with a tangy honey glaze on the grill for a double dose of flavor. It's easy to double for a summer BBQ.

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