Best Memorial Day Food: Delicious Recipes for Your Holiday BBQ

best memorial day food

Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember those who have served in the armed forces, as well as to celebrate the arrival of summer. For many people, this means firing up the grill and enjoying some delicious food with family and friends. Whether you’re planning a backyard BBQ or a picnic in the park, there are plenty of great Memorial Day food ideas to choose from. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best Memorial Day foods to make your holiday celebration a success.

1. Grilled Burgers and Hot Dogs

No Memorial Day BBQ is complete without classic grilled burgers and hot dogs. These all-American favorites are easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser. Start with high-quality ground beef or all-beef hot dogs and season with your favorite spices. Serve on a toasted bun with all the fixings, like ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onions. For an extra-special touch, try making your own burger patties with a mix of ground beef and pork.

2. BBQ Ribs

If you’re looking for a more substantial main course, BBQ ribs are the way to go. Slow-cooked and smothered in tangy BBQ sauce, these juicy ribs are sure to impress. Whether you prefer baby back, spare, or beef ribs, there are plenty of delicious recipes to choose from. For the best results, marinate the ribs overnight before grilling or slow-cooking for maximum flavor.

3. Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is a healthy and delicious option for Memorial Day. Whether you prefer boneless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, there are plenty of ways to season and cook your chicken to perfection. Try marinating your chicken in a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs before grilling for a flavor-packed main course.

4. Potato Salad

No BBQ is complete without a side of potato salad. This creamy and tangy dish is a classic American favorite and the perfect complement to grilled meats. Start with boiled potatoes and mix in a dressing of mayo, mustard, vinegar, and spices. Add in some chopped celery, onion, and hard-boiled eggs for extra flavor and texture.

5. Corn on the Cob

Fresh corn on the cob is a summertime staple and the perfect side dish for Memorial Day. Grill or boil your corn until tender and serve with butter, salt, and pepper. For an extra-special touch, try adding some chopped herbs or spices to your butter for a flavorful twist.

6. Watermelon Salad

For a refreshing and healthy side dish, try making a watermelon salad. This colorful and flavorful salad is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. Start with diced watermelon and mix in some chopped mint, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar for a sweet and savory flavor explosion.

7. Grilled Vegetables

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option for your Memorial Day BBQ, grilled vegetables are the way to go. Zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, and mushrooms are all great options for grilling. Season with olive oil, garlic, and herbs for a delicious and healthy side dish.

8. Strawberry Shortcake

For a sweet and indulgent dessert, try making strawberry shortcake. This classic dessert features layers of buttery cake, whipped cream, and juicy strawberries. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint for a beautiful and delicious dessert.

9. Lemonade

No Memorial Day BBQ is complete without a refreshing pitcher of lemonade. This classic summertime drink is easy to make and always a hit with kids and adults alike. Start with fresh lemons and mix with water, sugar, and ice for a sweet and tangy beverage that everyone will love.

10. Patriotic Fruit Skewers

For a fun and festive appetizer, try making patriotic fruit skewers. Thread blueberries, strawberries, and marshmallows onto wooden skewers for a red, white, and blue treat that’s perfect for Memorial Day. Serve with a side of whipped cream for dipping.

11. Barbecue Beans

Barbecue beans are a classic side dish that’s perfect for a Memorial Day BBQ. Start with canned or dried beans and mix with barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and spices for a savory and sweet dish. Slow-cook in the oven or on the grill for maximum flavor.

12. S’mores

No camping trip or backyard BBQ is complete without s’mores. These ooey-gooey treats are easy to make and always a hit with kids and adults alike. Toast marshmallows over the grill or a campfire and sandwich between graham crackers and a square of chocolate for a classic summertime dessert.

13. Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a refreshing and crunchy side dish that’s perfect for a Memorial Day BBQ. Mix shredded cabbage and carrots with a dressing of mayo, vinegar, and sugar for a tangy and creamy dish. Add in some chopped apples or raisins for extra sweetness and texture.

14. Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a comfort food classic that’s perfect for a Memorial Day BBQ. Mix cooked macaroni with a cheesy sauce made from butter, milk, and your favorite cheeses. Bake in the oven or cook on the grill for a warm and gooey side dish that everyone will love.

15. Ice Cream Sundae Bar

For a fun and interactive dessert, set up an ice cream sundae bar. Provide a variety of ice cream flavors, toppings like hot fudge, caramel sauce, sprinkles, and whipped cream, and let guests build their own sundaes. It’s the perfect way to end a delicious Memorial Day BBQ.

In conclusion, Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember those who have served our country while celebrating the arrival of summer with friends and family. These 15 delicious Memorial Day food ideas are sure to make your holiday BBQ a success. From classic grilled burgers and hot dogs to tangy BBQ ribs and refreshing watermelon salad, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t forget to end the night with some s’mores or an ice cream sundae bar for a sweet and satisfying dessert.


  1. What other types of meat can be used for a Memorial Day BBQ?
  • Other popular options include steak, chicken wings, and shrimp skewers.
  1. How can I make my potato salad healthier?
  • Try substituting Greek yogurt for mayo and adding in some diced avocado or hard-boiled egg for extra protein and healthy fats.
  1. What type of wood should I use for smoking my BBQ ribs?
  • Hickory and mesquite wood are popular choices for smoking ribs, but applewood and cherry wood also work well.
  1. What can I do with leftover grilled vegetables?
  • Try using them in a salad or sandwich, or chop them up and mix with pasta for a healthy and flavorful pasta salad.
  1. What are some creative ice cream sundae toppings?
  • Some fun options include crushed Oreo cookies, gummy bears, diced fresh fruit, or even bacon bits for a sweet and salty twist.

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