13 fun and flavorful cookout recipes to make this Labor Day weekend

If you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer, don’t worry you’re not alone. To help savor the tastes of the sunniest season, whip some of TODAY Food’s favorite barbecue staples on Labor Day.

To help ease the menu-planning stress, here are 13 delicious recipes that are perfect for any backyard barbecue or small, socially distanced gathering. From savory mains to delicious desserts, we’ve got you covered.

Want to create the perfect menu? Just pick one dish from mains, a dish from sides and one dessert — and throw a few extra burgers on the grill, because why not? — and enjoy!

Mains

Spiral-cut hot dogs, braided hot dogs, and cheesy bacon-wrapped hot dogs (Samantha Okazaki / TODAY)
Spiral-cut hot dogs, braided hot dogs, and cheesy bacon-wrapped hot dogs (Samantha Okazaki / TODAY)

What’s better than a hot dog wrapped in bacon? Probably nothing. This delightfully cheesy dish is also super easy to make. Use your favorite bacon for a smoky dog that will be a surefire hit with meat lovers.

Green Chile Burger (Rockit Ranch)
Green Chile Burger (Rockit Ranch)

Tomato and lettuce are so yesterday. Spice things up with this juicy burger topped with crumbled queso fresco, tangy pickled red onions and spicy green chile salsa.

Grilled brick chicken (Samantha Okazaki/TODAY)
Grilled brick chicken (Samantha Okazaki/TODAY)

“I love grilling chicken under a brick,” Glenn Harris, chef and co-owner of New York City restaurants Jane and The Smith, told TODAY Food. “(Grilling) cooks the meat perfectly evenly. You won’t get some spots that are overcooked.” Plus, the technique gets all of the skin extra crispy.

Salmon & Zucchini Skewers (Maya Visnyei)
Salmon & Zucchini Skewers (Maya Visnyei)

These healthy kebabs are an elegant addition to a cookout spread beyond hot dogs and hamburgers. Simply marinate the salmon in a combination of gin­ger, soy sauce, rice vine­gar and sesame oil for 20 minutes. Then thread the pieces onto pre-soaked skewers and grill.

Katherine Heigl cooks her favorite summer pasta recipe and Italian margarita (Samantha Okazaki / TODAY)
Katherine Heigl cooks her favorite summer pasta recipe and Italian margarita (Samantha Okazaki / TODAY)

For a simple summer pasta, actress Katherine Heigl tosses warm spaghetti with creamy brie cheese and freshly chopped tomatoes. Garlic and fresh basil infuse the dish with classic Italian aromas.

Sides

Sunda Street Corn (Rockit Ranch)
Sunda Street Corn (Rockit Ranch)

Say bye-bye to plain old butter. A spicy coconut cream sauce, sweet and crispy shredded coconut flakes and fried scallions take grilled corn to delicious new heights.

Weldon Owen
Weldon Owen

Break out the muffin tin for these fun, unexpected and absolutely fabulous cheesy cupcakes. They’re as easy to make as they are to eat. Plus, the fork-free dining experience is perfect for outdoor dining or beach parties.

Samantha Okazaki
Samantha Okazaki

Don’t put away the muffin tin yet! Turn it upside down, then layer bacon slices on top of the cups and bake until the strips form delightfully crispy vessels for a fresh salad.

Avery
Avery

Even people who love meat (and mayo!) will be obsessed with this delicious spin on the classic cookout side dish. Avocado blended with fresh dill, green onion and lemon juice creates a tangy, creamy dressing for the roasted potatoes and asparagus.

Desserts

Kevin Hartmann / Rockit Ranch Productions
Kevin Hartmann / Rockit Ranch Productions

Wondering what to do with all of those leftover hot dog buns? This is the answer! For an irresistible cookout dessert that will definitely yield some leftovers, just tear them up and coat them with a mixture of melted butter, eggs, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract.

Muffin Tin Fruit Pies (Casey Barber)
Muffin Tin Fruit Pies (Casey Barber)

“With these miniature versions of your favorite apple and peach pies, you can have all the juicy, fruity satisfaction of summer’s bounty without the knowledge that, well, you know, you ate a whole pie,” cookbook author Casey Barber said of her summery dessert.

Peach Blueberry Skillet Cobbler (Lucy Schaeffer Photography)
Peach Blueberry Skillet Cobbler (Lucy Schaeffer Photography)

Put that cast-iron pan to work with this irresistibly comforting dessert that combines two of summer’s juiciest fruits. When you’re ready to serve the cobbler, don’t forget the homemade vanilla ice cream.

Cherry hand pies (Maya Visnyei)
Cherry hand pies (Maya Visnyei)

We’ll take pie any way we can get it but cutting the dough into hearts makes these delicious little treats even sweeter. Plus, they can be served warm or at room temperature.

This article was originally published on Sept. 2, 2015.