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The BlueSmoke Gazette--Labor Day Cookout!
September 02, 2010

Labor Day Weekend!

Labor Day weekend is the last big summer celebration of the year. It's time to enjoy some fun in the sun before the fall chill sets in. You may decide to do a little boating, camping, fishing or swimming, or you might just decide to hang out in the backyard under the shade tree, cool drink in hand. But whatever you do, bring along the bbq grill or smoker and enjoy some great summertime eating.

Hamburgers and hotdogs have always been the traditional way to go for Labor Day grub, but there are lots of taste tempting options.

Top Labor Day Recipes

This is one of the best ways to barbecue a whole chicken. Beer butt chicken is juicy and tender, and the skin is browned to crispy goodness. A mix of dry spices and herbs seasons the chicken on the outside, and aromatics in the can flavor the bird from within.

Soaked in an apple juice marinade, and seasoned with a slightly spicy rib rub, this is my go-to recipe when I want to smoke a perfect slab of ribs. They can be cooked in a smoker, or grill-smoked. Apple wood chips give the ribs great flavor and a gorgeous brown hue.

They say good things come in small packages, and a grilled filet mignon is no exception. Though pricey, these little lean and tender steaks just melt in your mouth! Get that grill really hot if you want to burn on those perfect grill marks.

If you love the flavor of asparagus, this recipe for grilled asparaus is the one for you. Browning the spears ever so slightly adds a great nutty flavor you just don't get from steaming.

Another satisfying side dish you'll enjoy is grilled whole onions. Fill 'em with butter and grill with indirect heat until nice and tender. I like to bury half of a chicken or beef bouillon cube in the butter for richer flavor.

Start the Labor Day meal with some tasty grilled appetizers. A platter full of spicy jalapeno poppers are a great way to start the festivities!

Grilled shrimp skewers can be served as appetizers, or as the main course. And of course, be sure to make plenty of these, because they disappear quickly. Just before serving, brush these little critters with melted butter.

If you're looking for an all-day event, try smoking a turkey. It's not traditional Labor Day fare, but it's good time to fine-tune your turkey smoking technique for Thanksgiving. You don't have to have a smoker to enjoy turkey, either. Try grilling a turkey breast on your Weber kettle.

BBQ Safety

While trying to squeeze in all the summer fun you can this weekend, it's important to think about safety, too. Don't let an innocent mistake turn the fun into a scary situation.
  • Defrost frozen meats in the refrigerator, not on the countertop. Slow thawing prevents spoilage.

  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator.

  • Keep cold foods at or below 40 degrees and hot foods at 140 degrees or above.

  • Be aware of cross contamination. Use clean utensils and have plenty of clean towels on hand.

  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure meats are done before serving.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case...

  • Never leave a grill or smoker unattended, especially if children are present.

Enjoy the weekend. Be safe. And don't even think about putting your grills and smokers away for the season. The best time of the year to bbq is yet to come!

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