memorial day food

There are plenty of Memorial Day food options you can prepare for a truly fun and unforgettable experience. If you want to impress your guests with a home-grilled menu with a tasty dessert, this is the list you’re looking for.


The Best Memorial Day Food Ideas for Your Celebration

Memorial Day is just around the corner, which means celebrations are in order. The holiday weekend is the best time to gather with loved ones and enjoy a cookout. Here are the top Memorial Day food ideas you can use this upcoming holiday.


1. Grilled Cajun Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are usually fried, but grilled ones can make for one of the most memorable Memorial Day dishes, too.


  • 1 1/4 tsps garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 lbs whole chicken wings (not split)
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest plus 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil, plus more for the grill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tsps Cajun seasoning


  1. Prepare a grill for medium heat.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the chicken wings with vegetable oil, Cajun seasoning (2 tsp), garlic powder (3/4 tsp), salt (1 tsp), and several grinds of pepper until evenly combined.
  3. Lightly brush the grill grates with oil. Cover the chicken wings on the grill in a single layer with the lid. Cook, flipping occasionally, until they are well browned and cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. While the wings are cooking, combine parsley, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add the remaining Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well until combined.
  5. Once the wings are done, transfer them to the bowl with the Cajun lemon pepper seasoning and toss until evenly coated. Arrange them on a large serving platter for serving.


2. Grilled Pork Chops

Want to round out your Memorial Day meals with a hearty dish? These grilled pork chops will surely hit the spot!


  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt, for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • 2 tbsps light brown sugar
  • 6 bone-in pork loin chops (about 1-inch thick)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Fresh thyme for garnish


  1. Arrange the pork chops in a 13×9-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Mix soy sauce, smoked paprika, vinegar, garlic powder, olive oil, thyme, and brown sugar in a medium bowl to make the marinade. Pour the marinade over the pork chops, ensuring they are evenly coated. Cover the dish and let the pork chops marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator, flipping them halfway through if marinating for an extended period.
  3. Take the pork chops out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, around 400°F to 450°F, and oil the grill grates thoroughly.
  4. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and discard any excess marinade.
  5. Grill the pork chops uncovered until grill marks form, which usually takes 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the chops and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 145°F, another 5 to 7 minutes. Once done, take the pork chops off the grill, cover them with foil, and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Just before serving, season the pork chops with additional salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, garnish with fresh thyme for added flavor.


3. Surf and Turf Skewers

If you’re in the mood for surf and turf, you can’t go wrong with these Memorial Day food skewers!


  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • Two 4- to 5-oz raw lobster tails, meat removed from the shell
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsps butter, melted
  • 12 oz tenderloin steak
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder


  1. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Cut the steak and lobster tail meat into 1-inch chunks. Thread the beef onto four 12-inch skewers, alternating between steak and lobster (about 4 pieces of steak and 3 pieces of lobster on each skewer). Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine salt, sweet paprika, cayenne, onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and thyme to make the spice rub.
  4. Drizzle or brush the skewers with olive oil, then lightly sprinkle them with the spice rub.
  5. Grill the skewers, brushing them with melted butter and turning them every minute until the lobster is cooked through and the steak is rare, which should take about 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Allow the skewers to rest for 5 to 7 minutes before serving and enjoying.


4. Grilled Asparagus

Looking for a simple vegetable option for your Memorial Day food menu? Grilled asparagus has got you covered!


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes, optional


  1. Rinse the asparagus thoroughly and pat it dry with a clean towel. Use a sharp knife to trim about 1 inch from the base of the asparagus stalks and discard the ends.
  2. In a large bowl or on a rimmed sheet pan, combine the trimmed asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss the asparagus until it is evenly coated with the seasoning.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, typically around 400 to 450°F. Place the asparagus on the grill, positioning them crosswise on the grill grates to prevent them from falling through. Grill the asparagus, turning them as needed, until grill marks form, usually about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  4. Once the asparagus is grilled to your liking, transfer it to a serving platter. Squeeze half a lemon over the grilled asparagus and sprinkle with red pepper flakes for added flavor. If desired, you can also season with more salt and pepper to taste.


5. Grilled S’mores Pie

No celebration is complete without Memorial Day dessert, and this grilled s’mores pie will leave guests wanting more!



  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 oz graham cracker
  • 2 tbsps granulated sugar
  • 4 oz unsalted butter


  • 24 regular marshmallows
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 3 large large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Fully open the bottom and top vents of your ceramic grill. Light charcoal briquettes in the firebox of the grill. Once the briquettes are covered with gray ash and the flames have died down, spread them into an even layer.
  2. Using heatproof oven mitts, place an indirect heat plate and grate inside the grill. Close the lid and preheat the grill to 300°F, making any necessary adjustments to the top and bottom vents.
  3. Prepare a 12-inch cast-iron skillet by lining it with four layers of aluminum foil. Set the skillet aside for later use.
For the Crust:
  1. Using a food processor, pulse graham crackers until finely ground, typically around 10 to 18 pulses.
  2. Add butter, sugar, and salt to the ground graham crackers in the food processor. Pulse the mixture until it is well combined and reaches the consistency of wet sand, usually about 5 pulses. Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch aluminum pie pan.
  4. Place the pie pan containing the crust into another 9-inch aluminum pie pan, stacking them together. Then, place the double-stacked pie pans inside the prepared skillet for baking.
For the Filling:
  1. Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set it aside. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once simmering, remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate in the bowl. Allow it to stand without disturbance for 5 minutes, then whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the eggs, cayenne, and vanilla until smooth. Pour this filling into the prepared crust.
  2. Place the pie in the skillet on the preheated grill. Cover the grill and cook until the edges of the filling are set and puffed, and the center is just set but slightly underdone (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should register between 182°F to 185°F). This usually takes about 50 minutes to 1 hour, adjusting the grill vents as needed to maintain a temperature of 300°F. Try to avoid opening the grill lid too frequently to prevent heat loss.
  3. Remove the skillet from the grill. Carefully remove the double-stacked pie pans from the skillet and transfer them to a wire rack. Let the pie cool for about 30 minutes. Then, transfer the pie, still on the wire rack, to the refrigerator and chill until it is set, which takes approximately 40 minutes.
  4. Once the pie has chilled, open the vents to increase the grill’s temperature to 425°F. Return the pie to the skillet and top it with marshmallows. Place the skillet with the pie back on the grill, close the lid, and cook until the marshmallows are golden and toasted, usually 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust the vents as needed to maintain the temperature.
  5. Remove the skillet from the grill and transfer it to a wire rack. Let the pie cool for 5 minutes. Then, slice it with a knife and serve. Leftover pie can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.


Eat Memorial Day Food to Your Heart’s Content

Memorial Day signals the unofficial start of summer, which means cookouts are going to take over. Spend your holiday weekend with friends and family, munching on Memorial Day food that is prepared with love and straight from the grill!