BBQ Recipes For Memorial Day

Even if it seemed to take an age this year, summer is finally creeping up on us, and nothing quite kicks off the season like the festivities on and surrounding Memorial Day.

Despite its solemn origins as a day to decorate the graves and tombs of fallen Civil War combatants, and continues as a day of remembrance of all our fallen heroes, Memorial Day is now the unofficial kickoff of summer vacation; a day for friends and family to get together and dust off what’s perhaps the most important tool of the warmer months: the grill.

If you’re planning a barbecue this year, or even if you simply plan to attend, here are a few easy recipes to consider that will be perfect for any party!

BBQ Chicken Wings They’re a classic for a reason. As soon as you make them (or bring them) to your barbecue this year, they’ll be gone. Wings are always a crowd-pleaser because you can do anything with them, from classic salt-and-pepper to more daring and exotic marinades (my personal favorite: soy sauce, brown sugar, crushed garlic cloves, and just a hint of Sriracha sauce).

To make some really memorable chicken wings on your grill this year, you’ll need 12-24 whole wings (I usually buy more than I need. If worst comes to worst, you have leftovers later!), salt, pepper, and your favorite BBQ sauce (I like Stubbs’ All-Natural, but it’s up to you).

Preseason your wings with the salt and pepper, and heat your grill to medium-high (if using charcoal, it’s when you can hold your hand about 5 inches from the surface of the grill for just a few seconds). Place the wings on the grill, brushing every so often with BBQ sauce, and turn every 3-4 minutes until you’re satisfied with the glaze. Serve immediately to retain deliciousness!

Mexican Corn on the Cob If you’re like me, elote is one of those foods that summer is really about. I wait all year to eat it—for some reason, Mexican corn in the winter just seems wrong—and it’s so easy to make that I often find myself buying the materials in bulk so I’ll have an endless supply all summer. It should be noted that Mexican corn is a great recipe because it’s very flexible. The following is what I like to put on it (and my tastes are pretty much the standard), but feel free to liven it up and really make it your own!

You’ll need a few ears of husked corn (I usually go with 4, but it depends on how many you’re serving), 1/4 cup of softened unsalted butter or mayo (my advice: always go for the butter), cotija cheese, cayenne powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, some veggie oil on standby, and a lime cut into wedges. Heat your grill to medium-high and brush the grate with oil, and combine the salt, pepper, chili and cayenne powders in a small bowl (a little of this delicious mixture goes a very long way). Grill your corn until it’s looking a little charred (10-12 minutes) and remove from the grill, making sure to spread mayonnaise/ butter on each. Sprinkle with cotija cheese and the chili powder mixture, and serve with your lime wedge. Perfecto!

Lemonade—With a Twist! You’ll be the life of the party if you make or bring this delicious (grownups only) drink. The flavors of lemon, ginger ale, and bourbon all blend together seamlessly, and you’ll even learn how to make your own lemonade out of the deal. Of course, if you’re short on time and/or patience (believe me, I understand), store-bought is fine as long as it’s high-quality!

To make some Kentucky Lemonade (aptly named), you’ll need 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, 3/4 cup of water, 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of fresh mint (depending upon your taste), 1/2 to 2/3 cup of Bourbon (again, depending on taste), 6 cups of ginger ale, and lemon slices.

Combine the sugar and water and place them on medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice, mint and Bourbon, and set aside, letting the mixture cool.

Afterward, pour through a strainer into a large-ish pitcher to remove mint leaves, and add your ginger ale! This should be served over ice, with lemon rounds and mint (optional) as a garnish.

Make sure you sip daintily, using your best southern drawl.

— Bronwyn Davila

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