Making a Labor Day Feast

This upcoming weekend (Labor Day) is the last great chance we have for an outside gathering before school and cold weather get in the way. Maybe you should get ambitious and make a feast of epic proportions.

Have you considered doing a BBQ weekend? 

This weekend, I am going to be firing up my smoker and making a bunch of food. I’ll be having a small gathering of people I see regularly outside my house on Monday, and we’re excited to be able to enjoy food and friendship in a socially responsible way. I think a lot of people want to be able to enjoy something similar, which is why I decided to share this guide with all of you.

I’m going to walk you through what I’ll be making and include the recipes I’ll be using (plus a recipe that works if you don’t have a smoker) so you can also enjoy a delicious weekend full of BBQ. I hope you enjoy this guide to a BBQ weekend and get inspired to make something delicious. Here’s the guide:

Pulled Chicken

I think having pulled meat is important for a BBQ. Whether you like chicken or pork, pulled BBQ meat is kid friendly, crowd pleasing, and makes great leftovers. It can also be made far in advance and reheated without losing flavor, which is perfect for this weekend.

I will be smoking and pulling two whole chickens on Friday night, then packaging up the meat (after quality testing it of course!) and reheating in the oven to serve on Monday. Here are the recipes:

Smoked Brisket

My next meat is probably my favorite – beef brisket!

I just watched a new episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix that featured 85-year-old Tootsie Tomanetz who is still making authentic coal fired Texas BBQ and I am all fired up (ha, love that pun!) to make some amazing Texas-style brisket myself.

I’ll be cooking this on Sunday night into Monday morning. It’s important to remember that each brisket is a little different and will take more or less time to get cooked to the proper temperature. Once the brisket is done, I’ll pack it up in foil, add a little water to the packet to maintain humidity, and let it stay warm in an oven until I slice and serve on Monday afternoon.

I’ll be taking home an approximate 8# brisket with 1/4″ fat left on top. I wouldn’t recommend ordering smaller than a 6# brisket – they dry out too easily after that!

Here are the recipes:

Baby Back Ribs

Alright, the final meat is pork baby back ribs!

I’ll make 3 slabs on Monday morning and serve them hot off the smoker on Monday afternoon. Honestly, the easiest way to make great baby back ribs is in the slow cooker, but my wife and I just love the extra flavor you get when you smoke ribs. Our baby backs are meaty and already peeled, so you don’t need to worry about trying to peel off silver skin before smoking.

Here are the recipes I recommend for delicious Baby Back Ribs:

PS – I may also grill some of our Smoked Polish sausage for a snack. Yeah. I definitely may also have some sausage. Have you ever had our Smoked Polish? It’s a criminally underrated sausage.

Side Dishes

I know this is a lot of meat, but we also need some side dishes. Here’s what I’ll be making to enjoy on the side:

  • Barbecue Beans – from Serious Eats. This is a make your own / make ahead recipe, but canned baked beans work really well too!
  • Smoked Mac & Cheese – from Amazing Ribs. Mac and Cheese is a key BBQ side, and it’s even better when it’s smoked!
  • Corn Bread – from Jiffy. Yep, I use the box mix for this. It’s unbeatable.

Adult Beverages

Finally, we’re going to have some adult beverages. I’ll have a fridge full of drinks for everyone to enjoy. Here are my top BBQ beverage pairing picks:

  • 3 Sheeps Pils – this delightfully Wisconsin lager is crisp, refreshing, and has a little bit of corn sweetness.
  • Boundary Breaks Riesling – this Riesling from New York has a touch of sweetness but lots of refreshing acidity. Great between bites of BBQ!
  • Silk & Spice Red Wine – this Portuguese red blend is medium-bodied with nice berry and spice flavors. It’s one of my favorite grill out wines!
  • Carlos Serres Tempranillo – this red wine from Rioja, Spain is a bit drier than the Silk and Spice but still has the combo of fruit and earthy spice notes that are perfect with BBQ!
  • Whiskey Lemonade – I batch make an adult whiskey lemonade and let everyone have a mason jar full. It’s refreshing end to summer drink. Get Martha Stewart’s recipe right here.

Thanks for reading – I hope you have an excellent weekend and enjoy delicious food and great company no matter what you choose to make.

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