Summer may officially begin on the solstice, the longest day of the year, but the unofficial start to the season is the long Memorial Day weekend, when many home cooks dust off their grills and declare that cookout season begun. This year might look a little different — maybe you’re cooking for your “quaranteam” or just yourself — but here are our best Memorial Day recipes, from side dishes to desserts and everything in between.
Fire it up! Meat eaters will find everything they need here: recipes for steaks, ribs and chops; barbecue, brisket, pulled pork and chicken. And burgers, of course. Sam Sifton’s basic (in a good way) barbecue sauce can be used on just about anything: whether beef, ribs or chicken. Speaking of the bird, if you think chicken breasts are sad and dry, you should try these grilled chicken breasts with turmeric and lime (also fried chicken!). One of our best-loved steak recipes is Melissa Clark’s sweet and spicy flank steak. Seafood lovers? Mark Bittman has a lot to choose from including grilled tuna with herbs and olives, salmon fillet with fresh salsa, spicy grilled shrimp or miso-glazed scallops. And if Memorial Day just isn’t a holiday to you without hot dogs, we recommend giving these Mexican hot dogs a shot. They can be made in the oven or on the grill.
Every summer needs a signature cocktail. A Paloma, made with just tequila and grapefruit soda, is an easy and refreshing candidate. A Tom Collins is a tad more work — you need simple syrup — but the lightly sweet and fizzy gin and lemon cocktail is, to this writer, the ideal summer drink. (Careful, though: It’s stronger than you think.) Margaritas, single or batch servings, never go out of style. And sangria: Try traditional, rosé or strawberry-peach. Teetotalers shouldn’t miss out on the fun. Here are plenty of nonalcoholic drinks to keep you hydrated and in good spirits. Our favorite is this dirty horchata, horchata spiked with cold brew concentrate or espresso. It really packs a punch.
By Margaux Laskey