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August 29, 2023 | Cooking

Labor Day Cookout Ideas for Your Last Summer Cookout in 2023

Brioche bun burger - Labor Day Cookout Ideas

Labor Day is an occasion that calls for celebration, relaxation, and of course, delicious food. But planning the perfect cookout can be a challenge, especially if you’re aiming for something memorable and unique. That’s where these Labor Day cookout ideas (and your outdoor kitchen suite or gas BBQ grill ) come in, promising to make your last summer cookout a hit with dishes that surprise and delight.

Keep reading to discover the most mouth-watering Labor Day cookout ideas your family and friends will remember forever!

Labor Day Cookout Ideas

Labor Day signifies the unofficial end of summer, and what better way to bid farewell to the season than with classic cookout favorites infused with new flavors?

Here are some delicious Labor Day cookout ideas that will help take your last Summer cookout in 2023 to the next level:

1. Toasted Brioche Bun Burgers

Serving burgers on toasted brioche buns can elevate your Labor Day cookout from a casual gathering to a gourmet feast.

Brioche, known for its rich, buttery flavor and slightly sweet undertone, offers a luxurious complement to the savory goodness of grilled burgers. Toasting the buns on the grill adds a layer of crunchy texture, creating a harmonious interplay with the juicy meat and toppings. Moreover, the brioche’s soft yet sturdy structure holds up well against loaded burgers, ensuring each bite is as delightful as the last.

Elevate your Labor Day cookout experience by opting for toasted brioche buns—it’s a culinary decision that’s sure to impress.

2. Beer-Can Chicken with Citrus Glaze

Beer-Can Chicken with Citrus Glaze offers an innovative twist to traditional grilled chicken, providing a moist and flavorsome feast perfect for any cookout.

The chicken is perched on a can of beer, which steams the inside of the chicken as it grills, ensuring tender and juicy meat. The citrus glaze, made from a blend of citrus juices, herbs, and spices, is brushed onto the chicken, imparting a zesty and tangy flavor that complements the smoky aroma from the grill.

This unique combination of flavors elevates the humble grilled chicken into a gourmet dish that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

3. Classic BBQ Ribs

BBQ Ribs are a beloved staple at many cookouts, known for their tantalizing smoky flavor and succulent, fall-off-the-bone tenderness.

Whether slow-cooked over an open flame or smoked to perfection in a specialized smoker, the rich taste of the meat is often enhanced with a carefully crafted rub of herbs and spices. Basting the ribs with a tangy or sweet BBQ sauce adds another layer of flavor that can be customized to personal preferences.

The result is a culinary masterpiece that embodies the essence of outdoor cooking and makes BBQ Ribs a must-have dish for any serious grill enthusiast.

4. Jalapeño Popper Hot Dogs

Jalapeño popper hot dogs combine the irresistible flavors of spicy jalapeños and creamy cheese with the beloved classic hot dog.

This creation starts with a juicy, grilled hot dog nestled in a soft bun. It’s then topped with a tantalizing mixture of roasted jalapeños, cream cheese, and sometimes cheddar or another favorite melting cheese. To add crunch and texture, crispy bacon bits might be sprinkled on top.

The resulting jalapeño popper hot dog delivers a satisfying balance of smoky, spicy, creamy, and savory flavors in every bite, making it a show-stopping addition to any BBQ or cookout event.

5. Stuffed-crust Pizza

Serving stuffed-crust pizza during a Labor Day cookout brings an exciting twist to the traditional BBQ fare.

The luscious cheese-filled crust adds a rich and indulgent dimension that can be a delightful surprise for guests. Whether grilled on the barbecue for a smoky flavor or baked to golden perfection, stuffed-crust pizza offers versatility to suit various tastes. Pair it with toppings ranging from classic pepperoni to gourmet vegetables, and you have a crowd-pleaser that transcends generations.

This creative addition to the cookout menu can elevate the dining experience, showcasing a fusion of comfort food and culinary innovation, and make the celebration uniquely memorable.

Whether you’re baking pizza in an outdoor kitchen pizza oven or a powerful electric wall oven, your stuffed-crust pizza is sure to please everyone at your cookout.

6. Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a versatile and nutritious addition to any cookout, offering vibrant colors, textures, and flavors.

By charring vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus, and tomatoes on the grill, you can coax out their natural sweetness and add a smoky depth that elevates their taste. Seasoning with herbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper allows you to customize the flavors to match your menu.

Whether served as a side dish, salad component, or burger topping, grilled vegetables enhance the meal by adding freshness and sophistication. Plus, they provide a delightful option for vegetarian guests, ensuring everyone can enjoy the feast.

7. Smokey Mac and Cheese

Smokey mac and cheese takes a beloved comfort dish and infuses it with a rich, smoky flavor that adds depth and complexity to the classic recipe.

By smoking the macaroni and cheese on the grill or adding smoked cheese such as Gouda or cheddar, you introduce a distinctive taste that tantalizes the palate. The smokiness complements the creaminess of the cheese sauce, creating a harmonious blend that’s both familiar and unexpected.

Whether served as a main dish or a side at a BBQ, smokey mac and cheese is sure to become a favorite, satisfying both traditionalists and those seeking culinary adventure.

8. Fresh Fruit Salad

Serving fruit salad at a cookout offers a refreshing and nutritious complement to the typically rich and savory grilled fare.

Packed with vibrant colors and a medley of flavors, fruit salad adds visual appeal and a taste of summer to the table. It provides a light and hydrating option, which is particularly welcome on hot days.

The natural sweetness can balance spicier dishes, while the vitamins and antioxidants contribute to a more balanced and health-conscious menu. Furthermore, fruit salad can be prepared ahead of time, allowing hosts to enjoy the cookout with minimal fuss. It’s a versatile and beneficial addition to any outdoor feast.

9. Smoked Baked Beans

Baked beans are a BBQ staple, but why not elevate this classic side dish with a creative twist? Try smoking the beans on the grill alongside your meats to infuse them with a rich, smoky flavor.

Begin with a base of sautéed onions and garlic, then add a mixture of navy beans, maple syrup, brown sugar, mustard, and your favorite BBQ sauce. Transfer to a grill-safe pan and smoke them low and slow with a plank of wood like hickory or applewood.

The smoking process adds a layer of complexity and depth, transforming traditional baked beans into an exciting and flavorful BBQ accompaniment.

10. Traditional Coleslaw

Traditional coleslaw, a timeless side dish often featured at cookouts, is a harmonious blend of shredded cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing made with mayonnaise, vinegar, and various seasonings.

This crisp and refreshing salad plays a crucial role in balancing a cookout BBQ. Its cooling effect provides a pleasant contrast to smoky and spicy grilled meats, while the crunchy texture complements softer items like pulled pork or baked beans. The acidity in the dressing cuts through the richness of fattier dishes, cleansing the palate and enhancing the overall dining experience.

Simply put, coleslaw is a symphony of flavors and textures that elevates any BBQ feast.

11. Bottomless Refreshments

Offering a variety of refreshments at a BBQ ensures that every guest can find something to quench their thirst, enhancing the overall enjoyment of the meal.

Iced tea provides a refreshing, often non-caffeinated option with a touch of sweetness. Sodas cater to those looking for fizzy delights, while beer pairs wonderfully with grilled meats, offering a casual and relaxed vibe. Wine, both red and white, can be matched with various dishes, adding a touch of elegance. Sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime serves as a sophisticated non-alcoholic alternative, providing hydration with a festive fizz.

Together, these options create a well-rounded beverage selection, contributing to a satisfying and inclusive culinary experience.

12. Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Serving chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches during a Labor Day cookout is a delightful way to celebrate the end of summer.

These sweet treats combine the classic comfort of homemade chocolate chip cookies with the refreshing chill of ice cream. Guests can enjoy the playful nostalgia that this dessert brings, as it evokes memories of carefree childhood summers. As a make-ahead option, these ice cream sandwiches allow the host to enjoy the party without fussing over dessert preparation.

Perfectly portioned and easy to handle, chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches offer a whimsical and delicious conclusion to a festive Labor Day gathering.

Power up Your Cookouts with THOR Kitchen

Are you ready to turn your Labor Day cookout into a culinary masterpiece? Allow THOR Kitchen to become your ally in the quest for the perfect grill experience.

THOR Kitchen offers a wide variety of pro-style kitchen appliances, including powerful gas and electric ranges, microwaves, refrigerators, and even an outdoor kitchen suite designed to help you take your cooking to the next level.

Picture yourself impressing your friends and family with perfectly grilled burgers, succulent ribs, and even gourmet desserts, all thanks to your THOR Kitchen appliances.

Power up your cookouts with THOR Kitchen. Find a dealer near you and discover the professional kitchen of your dreams.


Labor Day cookouts are all about embracing the end of summer with joy, relaxation, and delectable food. Whether you’re sticking to the classics or looking to venture into new culinary territories, these Labor Day cookout ideas are bound to inspire. Power up your grill game with THOR Kitchen, and make this last summer cookout a celebration to remember. Happy grilling!