We gather the greatest recipes to help you bring a little heat and flavor to this year’s holiday-weekend feast.
Although Memorial Day parties might be smaller and lower-key this year as the country slowly begins to re-open, nothing should stop all of us from taking time during the long weekend to honor those who’ve sacrificed everything for America. Memorial Day serves as a reminder of how those sacrifices have protected us, and it also gives families and close friends chances to re-connect and share a feast.
About that feast: Chances are you might be cooking for a smaller crowd this time around, so why not go the extra mile with what you serve? Simple burgers, dogs, and ice cream have their place, but hungry loved ones always appreciate new and exciting flavors. That in mind, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to work up a list of great recipes to boost your weekend menu.
Mike’s Mexican Chicken
Our friends over at Cowboy Cauldron are holiday-weekend experts. Available in different sizes, their steel cauldrons make possible a whole range of outdoor cooking and campfire options, so much so that they become a natural centerpiece for a gathering. This Memorial Day, it’d be a good idea to use one of the cauldrons for the meats on your menu. You could even try the Cowboy Cauldron team’s recipe for Mike’s Mexican Chicken. You’ll chuckle as you read the directions, thanks to tips like this one: “Most people don’t realize that chicken needs a lot of heat. Few things in life are more disappointing than whitish-pinkish, flabby-ass chicken meat next to the bone.”
Prize-Winning Cowboy Chili
We’ve featured Kent Rollins and his wife, Shannon, a few times in C&I. As the king of chuckwagon cooking, Rollins has offered more than a few recipes over the years that we’d consider “keepers.” None have gotten as much positive feedback from readers and contributors as Rollins’ Prize-Winning Cowboy Chili recipe. Surprisingly simple preparation with a huge payoff. Eat it alone or put it in a bowl with corn chips, chopped onions and cheese if you want some Frito Pie magic.
Green Chile Cheeseburger
Once you’ve had this New Mexico specialty, it’ll be mighty hard to return to a plain-jane burger. There are plenty of recipes out there, but we like this one from the site I Am New Mexico. Bring on the heat!
If you have a lot of extra kosher salt on hand, you ought to try this recipe. From the book Will It Skillet?, it’s a way to prepare potatoes for “providing some close-up, intense heat and locking in moisture.” And, it’s a visual crowd pleaser.
Smoked Corn With Alabama White Sauce
This heavenly side item recipe comes from Missoula, Montana, eatery Notorious P.I.G. BBQ. And there’s obviously a little bit of Alabama influence in there to boot.
Spicy Quinoa Salad
You have to have something light and flavorful to counteract all the heavy dishes, and this recipe from CBD Provisions brings some spice into the mix of greens and grains.
Chocolate Chess Pie with Red Chile and Nuts
Continuing the trend of unexpected spice, here’s a delicious and non-messy take on a classic chocolate chess pie. It’s a trustworthy choice because it comes to us from the owner of the Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, New Mexico.
Johnny Cash’s mother originated this easy-but-delectable recipe, available from Food Network. If you have a can of crushed pineapple and a few other baking essentials, you’re in business. And there won’t be leftovers – we know from experience.
American Peach Tea Whiskey Cocktail
Peach whiskey, iced tea, and lemonade, a concoction from the folks at American Born Whiskey. Can we start with a double?
Watermelon Basil Punch
Another potential centerpiece, this one from Tequila Avión. Just don’t be the guy who picks up the entire thing and takes a swig. Not cool at all.
MORE MEMORIAL DAY RECIPES: Check out a past roundup of dishes fit for your feast. If you are looking for brisket, you’ll find it there.
Photography: Courtesy Cowboy Cauldron, courtesy Kent and Shannon Rollins, courtesy Workman Publishing, courtesy Pie-O-Neer, courtesy Tequila Avión