12 Grilling Recipes for Memorial Day

Fire up the grill and cook everything from grilled vegetable pizzas to char siu chicken for a Memorial Day cookout filled with flavors everyone will enjoy.

Three grilling recipes pictured side by side.

Simply Recipes

Americans gather on Memorial Day with flags flying high and grateful hearts, to remember those that gave their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. This federal holiday, on the last Monday in May, is also viewed as the official start to summer. 

Like any other holiday, celebration, or remembrance food is in order. The unofficial official start of summer is the perfect time to fire up the grill and head to the backyard for a barbecue. 

All of these amazing recipes work for grilling masters as well as newbies. We also have some tips to help you master cooking on the grill so you can impress your guests. I compiled a comprehensive list of grilling recipes to inspire your Memorial Day menu.

I wanted this list to reflect a variety of flavors and include main dishes as well as sides. Who says you can’t put a pork shoulder in the slow cooker and then grill a side to go along with it? Do whatever works best for you! 

I suggest buying local, chilling a favorite drink, and spending the afternoon outdoors. Breathe in the fresh air and thank your lucky stars for those that served this country by giving it all.

  • Citrus-Brined Grilled Pork Chops

    Grilling Pork Chops
    Nick Evans

    Giving thick chops an hour to brine is well worth the added step to keep them nice and juicy. They’re topped with a brown sugar and paprika rub and hit the grill for six minutes per side. Use an instant read thermometer to ensure perfectly cooked pork chops.

  • Spicy Grilled Turkey Burger with Coleslaw

    Spicy Turkey Burger with Coleslaw
    Elise Bauer

    A shake or two of tabasco sauce ups the wow factor for these easy turkey burgers. Fresh basil and mayo are used for both the burgers and the coleslaw, which helps tie the meal together and makes prep time a breeze.

  • Grilled Romaine Lettuce

    Grilled Romaine Lettuce
    Elise Bauer

    If you’re looking for an easy upgrade to the side salad, try grilling whole romaine hearts! A herb vinaigrette is lightly brushed on right before grilling on high heat. Serve whole or chopped, for a simple grilled salad.

  • Char Siu Chicken

    Stove Top Char Siu Chicken
    Alison Conklin

    Only requiring eight ingredients and 30 minutes of active time, this dish is sure to delight. Chicken thighs are quickly marinated in a combination of ginger, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce before grilling. Serve with classic potato salad or daikon and carrot pickles.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

    Mexican Street Corn topped with crema and cilantro on a plate
    Megan Keno

    This is a quick and easy (can feed a large crowd) side dish. Sweet, char-grilled corn is topped with a tangy sauce of crema, lime, and cilantro—serve with carne asada and you will not disappoint your guests.

  • Slow and Low Country Ribs

    Country style Rib recipe - cooking country ribs slow and low
    Elise Bauer

    Cooking meaty pork ribs over low heat for hours lends a tender, perfectly juicy rib. Baste in barbecue sauce, serve with coleslaw and a fistful of napkins.

  • How to Grill the Best Steak

    How to grill steak recipe
    Nick Evans

    I love a thick ribeye steak for special occasions, especially for a smaller gathering. Season the steak and let it dry brine in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours before grilling. Thirty minutes before you want to eat, make the herbed butter on the stovetop and heat up the grill. Cook the steak to desired doneness and let it rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.

  • Grilled Chicken with South Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce

    Grilled BBQ Chicken
    Elizabeth Stark

    It’s surprisingly easy to make your own mustard-based barbecue sauce. This one uses seven basic pantry ingredients and is ready in ten minutes. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Leftovers can be used to make an excellent pulled chicken sandwich.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • Grilled Fish Tacos with Strawberry Pineapple Salsa

    Grilled Fish Tacos with Strawberry Pineapple Salsa
    Sabrina Modelle

    Kick off summer with light and fresh fish tacos. The strawberry pineapple salsa is perfectly in-season and can be put together two days beforehand.

  • Hot Dogs with Spicy Kimchi Slaw

    Hot Dogs with Kimchi and Gochujang
    Nick Evans

    Make your backyard barbecue seamless and easy by setting out a variety of toppings for a build-your-own hot dog bar. This kimchi slaw is a fresh and easy addition to an all-meat or meatless hot dog.

  • Grilled Vegetable Pizza

    The best grilled pizza topped with halved tomatoes, black olives, cheese, zucchini ribbons and sliced potatoes. The pizza is set on a slate background and a piece on the right is pulled away from the rest.
    Sally Vargas

    Who says you can’t grill up a variety of pizzas for your Memorial Day celebration? Grilled potatoes, zucchini, olives, and feta are added to a grilled pizza crust for an unforgettable vegetarian pie. Feel free to experiment and use any other veggies, cheeses, and meats you have on hand.

  • Grilled Artichokes

    Grilled artichokes
    Elise Bauer

    Simply prepared artichokes are steamed first and then brushed with a herb infused oil. Set them on the grill to take on a little char and you’ll never want to eat artichokes any other way.