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Everything You Need for a Memorial Day Barbecue

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who gave their lives in service of our country. This holiday also marks the beginning of summer, and it’s a time-honored US tradition to gather outside with friends and family to enjoy a barbecue over Memorial Day weekend.

No matter who you spend the holiday with this year, here is everything you need from fresh menu ideas to the reliable equipment suggestions. Since chicken is America’s most popular meat, chicken takes center stage. Yes, beef is an iconic American staple, but day in and day out, Americans have been eating more chicken than beef for over 25 years.

Here are some of our best and most requested BBQ chicken recipes. Whether you like to grill or smoke the whole bird, bone-in parts, or skinless boneless chicken breasts, we’ve got you covered. We even have a recipe for a citrus herb spatchcocked whole chicken that cooks quickly and evenly.

The rest of the menu features time-honored American classics like coleslaw, potato salad, and baked beans. We even included an award-winning grill and reliable thermometer in this list to make sure that your chicken is properly cooked before serving. So pull up a chair and your favorite drink, gather around the table with your family, and enjoy America’s most popular foods on our most venerable holiday.

Chickens dunked in Alabama white BBQ sauce at Big Bob Gibsons

Big Bob Gibson’s Bama Birds With White BBQ Sauce Recipe

By:

Meathead

Packed full of flavor, this recipe for Alabama white BBQ sauce is the perfect addition to grilled and smoked chicken. Adapted from the original white BBQ sauce that was created by famed Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que in Decatur, Alabama, this isn't your ordinary sticky sweet BBQ sauce as it relies on mayonnaise and vinegar.
Smoked chicken quarter

Sweet Georgia’s Brown Smoked Chicken Recipe, Parts Or Pulled

By:

Meathead

You've never truly had BBQ chicken until you bite into this recipe for smoked chicken, Georgia style.
Plated grilled spatchcocked chicken

Grilled Citrus Herb Spatchcocked Chicken Recipe

By:

Clint Cantwell

If you’ve been frustrated by unsuccessful grilled chicken, this recipe for citrus herb rubbed spatchcocked chicken will be a revelation. By removing the backbone and grilling it bone-side down, the chicken slow roasts without drying out or burning while also making sure the dark and white meat cook evenly.

ThermoWorks ThermoPop (TX-3100-XX) Review

By:

Bill McGrath

The ThermoPop is an inexpensive, high-performance, rapid-read handheld thermometer for food usage. It has a rotating display that makes it easy to read from any angle. It gives precise readings in under four seconds. We tested it thoroughly and gave it a top rating for its performance and build quality.
Grilled Cornell chicken

Crispy Grilled Cornell Chicken Will Have You Clucking With Joy

By:

Meathead

If you like grilled chicken with golden crispy skin then you're about to fall in love with this recipe for crispy grilled Cornell chicken. In New York's Finger lakes, Bob Baker's famous Crispy Cornell Chicken recipe is served in every home, every fire department cookout, and little league BBQ and now you can enjoy it!
Grilled boneless chicken breasts

You’ve Never Experienced Better Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

By:

Meathead

There's no reason to settle any longer for dry, flavorless grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts. The secret? My famous mustard marinade.

Perfect Grilled Boneless Chicken Breasts, The Sous-Vide-Que Method

By:

Clint Cantwell

Ensure moist and tender boneless chicken breasts on the grill every time with this ultimate guide to the sous-vide-que cooking method. By starting the boneless chicken breasts in a low and slow sous vide water bath then finishing them with a flavorful touch of smokiness on the grill and you've got chicken perfection.
Simon and Garfunkel rubbed grilled chicken

World Famous Simon & Garfunkel Grilled Chicken Recipe

By:

Meathead

Grilled chicken has never tasted better thanks to this recipe featuring our amazing Simon & Garfunkel Dry Rub, a wonderful herb based rub that is great on chicken, turkey, and veggies. As with most grilled chicken recipes, we recommend you cut the bird into parts so that you can ensure each is cooked to perfection.
Grilled huli huli chicken

Having A Luau? Here’s The Easiest Hawaiian Huli-Huli Chicken Recipe Ever

By:

Meathead

If you like teriyaki chicken, you'll flip for this Hawaiian Huli-Huli Chicken. Let's make this dish more popular on the mainland.

Weber Original Kettle Premium 22″ Charcoal Grill Review

By:

Max Good

Weber Kettles enjoy evergreen popularity from one generation to the next. They are durable and you can cook just about anything you want on them. Pile up coal on one side to sear steaks or set up 2-zone roasting, We tested and reviewed these iconic grills. You can't go wrong with our Platinum Medal winning Weber kettles.

The Science of Slawsome Slaw

By:

Meathead

No backyard cookout would be complete with a side of slaw, whether it is a creamy coleslaw with mayonnaise, sweet-and-sour vinegar law, or a custom creation. Begin putting together the one that is right for you with this extensive tutorial.
potato salad

Mom’s Old Fashioned Potato Salad Wows ‘Em Every Time

By:

Meathead

Make mom proud with this recipe for the perfect potato salad. No backyard BBQ is complete without potato salad but often times it can be lacking in flavor. The secret to old fashioned potato salad is the dressing, a simple blend of mayonnaise and sour cream that perfectly complements the other ingredients.
Boston BBQ baked beans

Simple Boston Baked Beans Recipe, As Easy As They Are Delicious

By:

Meathead

Looking for the perfect side dish for your next cookout? Nothing screams BBQ more than a sticky and smoky bowl of Boston baked beans. It was in Beantown that the notion of mixing dried beans with molasses was conceived. This flavorful recipe is an ode to the original while offering suggestions for amping them up.

Chasing the Dogs: What to Drink with a Hot Dog

By:

Meathead

Some drinks are perfect for hot dogs. Here are suggestions for beers, wines, and soft drinks.

Absolutely, Positively No Ketchup on Hot Dogs. Never. Fuhgeddaboudit.

By:

Meathead

Some people say there is a ketchup controversy. There is no controversy. Let Dirty Harry explain why you should never put ketchup on a hot dog.

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Published On: 7/1/2019 Last Modified: 5/28/2021


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Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

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Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater


Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special


Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.
Click here for our review of this superb smoker


GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone


GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke.

Click here for more about what makes these grates so special


The Efficiency Of A Kamado Plus The Flexibility Of The Slow ‘N Sear Insert

kamado grill
Built around SnS Grill’s patented Slow ‘N Sear charcoal kettle accessory, this 22-inch kamado is a premium ceramic grill that brings true 2-zone cooking to a kamado.

Click here for our article on this exciting cooker


The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One


The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

Click here to read our complete review


Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review