9 Classic Memorial Day Weekend Grilling Recipes

9 Classic Memorial Day Weekend Grilling Recipes

Nothing says Memorial Day Weekend like the overpowering smell of the fired-up BBQ. Memorial Day is a national holiday created to celebrate the men and women serving in the US Military, but also marks the unofficial start of summer to most people across the country.

Fire Up that Grill This Memorial Day

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. Still, the celebrations usually start Friday and run through Monday, giving you plenty of time to gather with family and friends for a memorable weekend of fun, food, relaxation, and reflection.

Whether you go camping, head out to the lake, or hunker down in your outdoor backyard kitchen for the holiday weekend, you won’t need to worry about what to add to the menu. While we love tasty, yet reliable year-round grilling recipes here at Kick Ash Basket, a special event like the Memorial Day BBQ ideas deserves their own specially curated menu.


In this article, we’ve included 9 of our favorite recipes for:

  1. Poultry

  2. Pork

  3. Fish

  4. Vegetables

9 Classic Grilling Recipes for Memorial Day Weekend

Poultry Recipes

Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken Thighs

If you love BBQ sauce but want to switch it up a bit, this tangy cilantro-lime marinade screams “summer” and adds a zesty kick to these tender, juicy chicken thighs. Best of all, prep and grill time takes less than 30 minutes.


  • 6 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)

  • ½ cup of olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest

  • 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro (extra for garnishing)

  • 1 ½ teaspoon of minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper

  • 1 teaspoon of salt


  1. Add chicken thighs to a shallow dish or gallon-sized bag.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, pepper, and salt. Whisk them together.

  3. Pour the chicken marinade over the chicken. Allow the chicken to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour, but no longer than 24 hours.

  4. Preheat your grill to medium or medium-high heat.

  5. Place chicken on the grill in a single layer and cook 6 to 8 minutes per side.

  6. Once the internal temperature reaches 165º F and you see grill marks, remove the chicken from the grill.

  7. The chicken should rest for about 5 minutes.

  8. Slice the chicken and garnish it with extra cilantro and serve.

Other honorable mentions:

Grilled BBQ Chicken - Serve up this classic Memorial Day recipe with a baked potato, a pasta side dish, and a fresh green salad for a tasty introduction to summer.

Photo by Alex Munsell on Unsplash

Pork Recipes

Honey Soy Grilled Pork Chops

When pork chops aren’t cooked correctly, they can come out dry and bland. Thankfully, this delicious marinade will give the meat a little extra flavor and keep it moist and tender.

It’s also crucial that you don’t overcook pork. Use a thermometer and remove it from the grill when the internal temperature is at 140° F. This grilled pork chops recipe calls for boneless pork chops, but don’t be afraid to substitute it with bone-in pork chops.


  • ¼ cup of honey

  • ½ cup of soy sauce

  • 2 minced garlic cloves

  • Red pepper flakes

  • 4 boneless pork chops


  1. In a small bowl, mix the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes to create the marinade.

  2. Place pork chops in a larger bowl or dish and add the marinade.

  3. Refrigerate the marinated pork chops for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

  4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

  5. Add pork chops to the grill and cook for about 8 minutes per side.

  6. Let rest for 5 minutes and ensure they have an internal temperature of 185° F and serve.

Other honorable mentions:

Chili-Rubbed Ribs - Grilled ribs are a staple to any Memorial Day weekend. This recipe combines a savory chili powder dry rub with a sweet BBQ sauce glaze.

Seafood Recipes

Fast and Flaky Grilled Salmon

Grilled salmon is a delicious summertime tradition that can be enjoyed with rice, salad, or pasta. Grilling fish doesn’t have to be complicated. This recipe only uses a few simple ingredients and takes 15 minutes to prepare!


  • 1½ pound salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces

  • Olive oil

  • ¼ cup garlic powder

  • ¼ cup salt

  • ¼ cup dried parsley

  • ¼ cup dried minced onion

  • ¼ cup basil


  1. Mix together all the dried ingredients. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

  2. Rub each piece of salmon with olive oil and about ¼ teaspoon of the seasoning mix per piece.

  3. Heat the gas or charcoal grill to medium heat.

  4. Wrap salmon in foil to keep it from sticking to the grill.

  5. Place foil packs directly on the grill, cover, and cook salmon up to 5 minutes per side, until it flakes easily.

  6. Serve while still hot.

Other honorable mentions:

Grilled Garlic Herb Shrimp - Placing shrimp on skewers is the easiest way to prevent raw shrimp from falling through the grates. This recipe takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and includes a savory shrimp marinade.

Grilled Halibut Steak - For those white fish fans, this seasoned halibut recipe is simple, easy, and a great option if you prefer a more mild fish taste.

Photo by Christina Rumpf on Unsplash

Vegetable Recipes

Grilled Balsamic Vinegar Asparagus

If you can’t get your kids to eat their veggies, it’s probably because you’ve never tried this delicious grilled asparagus recipe.


  • 1 pound of fresh asparagus spears

  • 3 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Trim the bottom of the asparagus and wash them well

  2. Combine all ingredients in a large plastic bag or a shallow dish.

  3. Marinate the asparagus for 30 to 60 minutes in the refrigerator

  4. Preheat the grill and oil the rack.

  5. Remove asparagus from the marinade and place directly on the grill rack.

  6. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or until pieces are lightly charred and can be pierced with a fork.

  7. Serve as is or top with a light layer of parmesan cheese.

Other honorable mentions:

Grilled Lemon Garlic Zucchini - This grilled zucchini recipe is the ideal summer side dish. Place it directly on the grill or a grill pan. You can use the same lemon juice and fresh herbs found in this recipe on summer squash.

Spend Memorial Day Weekend At the Grill

Observing Memorial Day in the United States is about honoring our fallen soldiers and this time means a lot to families as well. This federal holiday also gives families a chance to spend quality time together. Make the most of your vacation time by pulling out the grill and celebrating the unofficial start of summer with these classic Memorial Day weekend grilling recipes the whole family will love.