Memorial Day BBQ Menu & Recipes

Of course, you can throw the usual burgers and brats on the grill, but if you’re feeding more than a handful of people burgers can be dry or cold before your guests get one on a bun.  BBQ Pulled Pork and Pulled Chicken Sandwiches are an ideal choice to feed a crowd.  Easily prepared ahead of time an kept warm in a crockpot for serving gives you more time to attend to guests or other scheduled holiday eventsSee Special Note about Memorial Day below.

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Coleslaw

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Coleslaw

Recipe adapted from Emeril

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  • 1 whole boneless pork shoulder - (about 4 lbs)
  • 3¾ tablespoons dark brown sugar or palm coconut sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons Emeril's Essence
  • 1¼ tablespoons sea salt
  • 1¼ tablespoons cumin
  • 1¼ tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1¼ tablespoons black pepper
  • 1¼ tablespoons cayenne
  • 1 bottle barbecue sauce (Show Me BBQ)
  • 10 hamburger buns
  • 2½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1¼ tablespoons dark brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
  • 1¼ tablespoons dried red pepper flakes
  • 1¼ tablespoons black pepper
  • 1¼ tablespoons sea salt
  1. Place the pork in a baking dish. In a bowl, combine the sugar, Essence, salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, and cayenne. Rub the seasoning evenly over the pork to coat. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Wet Mop Basting Sauce: The night before you cook the pork, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well. Refrigerate and let the flavors blend overnight. (Makes 2¼ cups)
  3. Preheat an oven 225°. Bring the pork to room temperature and place in a roasting pan, fat-side up. Slow cook in the oven, basting with the Wet Mop Basting Sauce every hour, until tender and the internal temperature reaches 160°, about 6 to 7 hours. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. With a knife and fork or two forks, pull the meat apart into small slices or chunks. Toss with the barbecue sauce and divide among the hamburger buns. Top with coleslaw. [Recipe Below]
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 10
BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
  • 8 whole chicken thigh -- bone-in, skin removed
  • onion powder
  • granulated garlic
  • smoked paprika
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 7"x16" cedar plank -- untreated, designed for grilling
  • 1 large onion -- peeled and quartered
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ cups ketchup
  • 1½ cups apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons palm coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic -- minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or a splash or two of Chipotle Tabasco
  1. Soak cedar plank in water for an hour or so. Remove skin from chicken thighs. Sprinkle both sides of chicken pieces with onion powder, granulated garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.
  2. On a gas grill, place soaked cedar plank directly over medium heat and allow wood to get hot, 3-5 minutes. Place chicken directly on the cedar plank and cook over medium-low heat (this will depend on the grill, so you may have to adjust the temp to be sure the plank stays hot enough). As chicken cooks, rotate one or two pieces at a time and cook directly on the grill for a few minutes, then back to the plank. This will help the chicken cook through. During the cooking process, the wood plank will char and smoke which is ideal. If the wood should begin to catch fire, simply spray those parts with a little water.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked through, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and allow to cool until easy to handle. This is the time to make the sauce.
  1. Process onion and water in food processor until pureed. Pass mixture through fine-mesh strainer into liquid measuring cup, pressing on solids; this should produce approximately ¾ cup strained onion juice. Discard solids.
  2. Whisk onion puree, ketchup, apple cider, sugar, Worcestershire, mustard, molasses, pepper, cider vinegar, and liquid smoke together in medium bowl. Heat oil in nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until shimmering; add garlic, chili powder, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in ketchup mixture; increase heat to medium-high, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until flavors meld and sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. This will yield approximately 4 cups of sauce.
  4. Remove chicken from the bone with fingers. Remove any gristle, fat, or connective tissue so that only the meat remains. Pull chicken meat apart so that it is in small strips and pieces.
  5. To serve, toss chicken with desired amount of sauce in a separate large skillet or oven dish--add as little or as much sauce as you prefer. Extra sauce can be stored in the refrigerator. Heat chicken with sauce in the skillet over medium-low heat or in the oven at 350° until incorporated and heated through. Serve on whole wheat buns with coleslaw on top.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 6-8
Baked Beans
Serves / Yields: Serves 8
  • 1 pound dry white beans
  • 2 cups hot water
  • ½ pound bacon -- ½ cut into ¼" slices
  • 1 medium onion -- chopped
  • 1 cup mild green chilies -- chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic -- minced
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ½ cup Show-Me BBQ sauce -- or favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • sea salt -- to taste
  1. Rinse and cover dry beans in water and 2 tablespoons of salt, soak overnight or for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse beans, cover beans with water and cook for 1-2 hours or until beans are tender.
  2. In a skillet, fry the bacon pieces until fat is rendered and bacon is fairly crisp. Remove from skillet and set aside. Saute chopped onion in 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat until caramelized; add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. Mix hot water, vinegar, mustard, sugar, molasses, bbq sauce, bay leaf, and pepper in a bowl until well combined. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning as desired. Mix cooked beans, bacon, onions and garlic, and green chilies in a separate bowl until combined. Once mixed, pour into a large casserole dish and cover with the sauce mix. If needed, add additional water to cover the beans.
  4. Cover and bake in slow oven 325º for 3-4 hours. Add liquid if necessary to keep beans just covered. For the last hour of baking, remove cover to allow sauce to evaporate and thicken, if needed. Remove bay leaf before serving.
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage -- (about ½ head)
  • 3 cups shredded red cabbage -- (about ½ head)
  • ½ green bell pepper -- finely diced
  • 1 large carrot -- peeled and shredded
  • ½ cup grated yellow onion
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  1. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, buttermilk, celery seeds, salt and pepper; whisk well to dissolve the sugar.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Toss with the dressing until evenly coated. Adjust seasoning, to taste. Place in the refrigerator, covered, to chill and meld flavors for at least 1 hour before serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 6-8


Bow Tie Pasta Salad
  • 1 16-ounce package mini bow tie pasta -- cooked and drained
  • 1½ cups grape tomatoes -- halved
  • 1½ cups zucchini -- coarsely chopped
  • 1½ cups yellow summer squash -- coarsely chopped
  • 1 12-ounce jar artichoke hearts -- drained and quartered
  • 1 whole red pepper -- chopped
  • 1 can sliced black olives -- drained
  • ½ cup red onion -- chopped fine
  • 1 cup feta cheese -- crumbled
  • 1 cup Provolone cheese -- ¼" dice
  • ½ cup fresh basil -- chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parley -- chopped
  • vinaigrette or Italian dressing -- as desired
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss with enough dressing to coat well just before serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 8-10
  • 3 medium avocados -- peeled and crushed
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes -- drained
  • ½ cup cilantro -- chopped
  • ½ cup green onion -- finely chopped
  • 2 clove garlic -- minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons red bell pepper -- minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley -- minced
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper -- as desired
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  1. Peel avocados and remove large seed in the center. Drain Rotel tomatoes. Chop onions and cilantro. Mince garlic.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl; stir while smashing the avocados gently, leaving some chunks. Serve with tortilla chips.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 6-8
Primo Salsa
  • ⅓ yellow onions -- chopped fine
  • ¼ Serrano pepper -- chopped fine
  • ¼ green pepper -- chopped fine
  • ½ yellow chili pepper, mild -- chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic -- chopped fine
  • 5 Roma tomatoes -- coarsely chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro leaves -- coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt -- to taste
  1. Put garlic, peppers, and onion in food processor and pulse to chop fine. Cut stems off of cilantro just below leaves. Add tomatoes and cilantro to processor and pulse to chop slowly so that tomatoes do not become too small.
  2. Remove from processor and squeeze fresh lime over mixture, stir well. Add salt and stir well. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.
Notes & Suggestions
For spicier flavor use whole Serrano pepper. For milder flavor use more tomatoes or less peppers
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 6-8
Magic Cookie Bars
Serves / Yields: 24 Bars
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk -- 14 oz.
  • 2 cups Ghirardelli double chocolate chips -- 12 oz package
  • 1⅓ cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350° (325° for a glass dish). In a 13x9 inch pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle crumbs over butter; pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Layer evenly with remaining ingredients; press down firmly. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars. Store loosely covered at room temperature.


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Special Note

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.  All holidays are difficult for families who have lost loved ones, but Memorial Day must be especially difficult to process as others plan picnics and backyard parties.  Parades, street fairs, vacation plans coincide with graveside visits.

This is an excerpt from an article featured in The Gazette, What to say to grieving families, and why it’s important to remember, about the grief families experience as they remember those they have lost:

“But after the crowds go home, grief is rarely tidy, say those who have lost a child in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some people inadvertently contribute to the heartache with awkward talk of closure or a tone-deafness about the significance of Memorial Day.”

So what expressions of sympathy are truly helpful?

“The kindest thing you can do is just say, ‘Tell me about him,’ because if you don’t talk, you get sick. I’ve had some terrible times after Jake was killed, but for me, being of service is the way to go. I’d hope Jake would say, ‘I’m proud of you, Pops.'”

Read the full article here.



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