Labor Day Grilling Ideas to Kick-Start Your Celebrations

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Last Updated on June 12, 2021
Doug Stephen

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research, he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.


Celebrate the nation's workforce this Labor Day by trying an assortment of fresh and fun grilling ideas that will impress your guests at your backyard gathering.

If you want to stay relatively traditional, consider cooking baby back ribs low and slow on your outdoor grill, or mix a smooth daiquiri with a smoky citrus garnish. You could honor the beginning of fall with a delicious lamb chop recipe that combines the gamey tenderness of loin meat with the aromatic, lemony flavor of rosemary seasoning.

If it’s culinary inspiration you’re looking for, check out this list of Labor Day grilling ideas to pique your interest and whet your appetite.


Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs

Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs

First in the list of Labor Day grilling ideas is this new take on an American classic. Marinate the pork racks before grilling it to infuse the meat with a smoky, earthy flavor over several hours.


  • 4½ lbs. baby back ribs (2 racks)
  • ¾ cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper


STEP 1 - Trim the ribs, taking care to remove the peritoneum membrane that runs along the bottom of each cut. Mix the chicken stock, soy sauce, cider vinegar, minced garlic, olive oil, and ½ cup of the sugar in a saucepan.

STEP 2 - Put the trimmed raw ribs in a baking dish, then drizzle ⅔ of the marinade over the meat. Make sure you flip each cut over so that all the meat is coated. Cover and place the baking dish into the fridge and leave it to rest for 8-10 hours or overnight.

STEP 3 - When you take the ribs out of the fridge, use a colander to drain the surplus marinade, then put your ribs on a plate to the side. Use a smaller bowl to mix the remaining ½ cup of sugar with paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, and a pinch of salt. Apply this dry rub to the marinated pork.

STEP 4 - Put these seasoned ribs on your grill, on an indirect heat, cooking them for between 30-35 minutes on each side. When you’re satisfied with their color, use a baster to cover the meat with the remaining ⅓ of marinade mixture, and move the ribs, so they’re directly above your grill’s heat source. Slow cook them for 30-40 more minutes until they reach 145°F.

There are popular BBQ ribs recipe alternatives that you can also try to prepare. See our guide for cooking short ribs tips.


Rosemary Lamb Chops and Grilled Vegetables

Rosemary Lamb Chops

High-quality lamb has a gamey, distinctive flavor and a juicy texture, making it one of the tastiest meats available. Delight your Labor Day party guests or other public holiday with this recipe for tender, seasoned lamb chops.


  • 8 lamb loin chops
  • 3 tbsp. of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Salt and pepper


STEP 1 - Season your lamb chops with some freshly ground pepper and kosher salt and leave them to rest for a few minutes while you turn on the grill so that it reaches a medium-high temperature of around 375°F.

STEP 2 - Take out a large bowl, and mix the mustard, fresh rosemary, thyme, and minced garlic.

STEP 3 - Lightly oil the rack, then put the seasoned lamb loin chops over the heat for 6-7 minutes. When you turn each cut of meat onto its uncooked side, coat the cooked side with some of the mustard and rosemary mixture. Keep the meat on the grill for another 6-7 minutes. After this period, flip the chops every so often until you’re satisfied that the lamb is cooked properly.

STEP 4 - It’s best to use a thermometer to check the meat’s internal temperature before you take it off the grill rack. If you want a medium-rare cut, look for an internal temperature of between 130-135°F: for medium, wait for the temperature to reach between 140-145°F. If you prefer your meat well-done, make sure the internal temperature is between 150-155°F before removing them from the heat.

STEP 5 - While the meat is resting, prepare grilled vegetables as a flavorful accompaniment to your lamb chops, cut the vegetables into smaller chunks, then spread them over a baking tray or grill pan. Drizzle some olive oil across the vegetables, slide the pan onto the grill rack and close the lid. Cook for 15-25 minutes, opening the lid to move them around every 5 or 6 minutes. Once they look charred and golden, remove them from the heat and season with some salt and pepper. Serve them up alongside your juicy lamb chops.


Daiquiri With a Twist

Daiquiri With a Twist

Here’s a drink recipe to add to your list of Labor Day grilling ideas. Impress your friends this Labor Day with this twist on a refreshing and delicious cocktail classic. If you want to create a more wintry vibe with this drink, substitute the white rum with a dark, lightly spiced variety. Out of all the different types of rum this drink recipe will be the best for the holiday and even for a day watching TV's or even a vacation trip


  • 12 oz. white or silver rum
  • 6 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4½ oz. demerara simple syrup
  • 1 lime, finely sliced


STEP 1 - Preheat the grill to a medium temperature, then put the lime slices on the grill, cooking them for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and divide them between 6 stemmed coupe glasses.

STEP 2 - If you want to make your own demerara simple syrup, do this while you’re waiting for the grill to heat. Using a ratio of 1 part sugar to 1 part water, boil some tap water in a saucepan and add the demerara sugar, stirring the liquid until the sugar is dissolved.

STEP 3 - Add the light rum, freshly squeezed lime juice, and demerara simple syrup to a shaker that’s filled with ice cubes. Shake the mixture for 10-20 seconds, then strain the liquid into the stemmed coupe glasses. The smoky flavor of the grilled citrus slices will complement the sweet, syrupy cocktail mix perfectly.

Doug Stephen

Doug Stephen

Try Out These Tasty Labor Day Grilling Ideas

Labor Day is a time to kick back and relax with family and friends over a long weekend. Whether you want to add some aromatic flavors to a classic daiquiri mix or combine rosemary and thyme with juicy lamb loin chops, you’ll find some inspiration for tasty Labor Day treats with these recipes.

More ideas for easy grilling here and on a budget.

We have more tips especially if you are looking for spring grilling ideas, during cold season, for summer or camping and hiking trips.