Memorial Day is observed the last weekend of May and is considered by many to be the official kick-off for summer. Most Americans know that Memorial Day is more than just a great time to fire up the outdoor grill – it’s a day to honor and remember our fallen soldiers. The first official observance of Memorial day was May 30, 1868 when, at Arlington Cemetery, flowers were placed on the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers. Though it may have somber roots, Memorial Day is a time to appreciate friends and family and remember those who are no longer with us.
It seems all patriotic holidays are best celebrated with an outdoor barbecue. Maybe that’s because outdoor cooking lends itself to casual, family-friendly entertaining and traditional American fare. This year you can kick up your Memorial Day menu with bold versions of classic summer foods.
You need a refreshing drink to balance the spicy, robust flavors of grilled foods, and what’s more Americana that classic sweet tea?
For 2 quarts:
- 2 cups boiling water
- 6 black tea bags
- ¾ cup raw sugar
- 6 cups cool water
Bring sugar to boil with 2 cups of water, stir to dissolve sugar completely. Place the mixture in a heat-proof 2-quart pitcher with tea bags. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Remove the bags (don’t squeeze them) and add cool water. Refrigerate until cold and serve with ice.
For a delicious adult beverage muddle several fresh mint leaves in an eight-ounce serving glass and fill with ice. Pour two ounces of vodka over the ice and top it off with cold sweet tea.
Chipotle Baby Back Ribs
Celebrity chefs like Rick Bayless know how to combine sweet, hot and tangy ingredients to make the perfect barbecue seasoning. This recipe for chipotle ribs from Bayless can be made spicier or tamer according to your family’s preferences.
Mix the following ingredients together and rub them onto raw meat. Wrap with cellophane and refrigerate up to 24 hours before cooking.
- 4 garlic gloves, chopped
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/3 cup ground ancho chile powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons black pepper
Bake ribs in a 300-degree oven for 1 ¼ hours or until the meat is fork tender. Remove from oven and finish the ribs on a grill to brown and infuse with delicious smoky flavor. Season ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce or one made by blending a 7.5-ounce can of chipotles in adobo sauce and ¾ cup honey.
Grilled Pineapple Sundae
No matter how full you are there’s always a little room for dessert. This simple sundae is light and quick to prepare and if you’re trying keep it healthy the pineapple alone is sweet and satisfying.
- Sliced fresh pineapple (1 slice per serving)
- Vanilla ice cream
- Caramel sauce
Place pineapple slices on a well-oiled grill and cook approximately 2 minutes per side, just enough to start caramelization and get some nice grill marks on the fruit. Top the pineapple with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce. Yum.
To help make your Memorial Day observance a success make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and cookware you need before the big day. Your favorite stores may be closed for part or all of this national holiday and you don’t want to get caught short. Enjoy your friends, family and good food this Memorial Day and take a moment to remember the reason behind that extra day off.