The first Labor Day, observed with a parade in New York City in 1882, was meant more as a protest against unfair labor conditions in the US than anything else. Following the parade, workers all across the city celebrated with picnics to show their support for fair labor laws. Since Congress adopted the holiday officially in 1884, Americans have celebrated the first Monday in September with great food. Below are some of my favorite Labor Day BBQ recipes. Enjoy!
Brisket, when prepared well, is a delicious BBQ treat for celebrating Labor Day. A well-prepared brisket is a labor of love, to be certain.
Start with a fresh brisket. Soak overnight in the refrigerator as follows:
In a large pan or dish, add enough water to cover the brisket. Mix in about a tablespoon of salt for every two pounds of meat. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, the juice of 2-3 medium-sized limes and 1-2 large white onions cut into rings. Cover the pan or dish with foil and refrigerate for no less than 24 hours.
On Labor Day, start your grill early and be prepared to keep your fire going at a slow pace all morning and into the early afternoon.
While the grill is heating up, prepare the following “rub” for the brisket. All measurements are “to taste”:
Coarse black pepper
Chili powder (or Cayenne pepper if you prefer)
Rub the brisket down thoroughly and wrap tightly in foil, making sure the wrapping is tight enough to prevent the juices from leaking out. Put the wrapped brisket on your BBQ grill and close the lid down. You want a hot, but slow, fire. Let the brisket cook in the foil, turning it every hour or so, all morning while you enjoy the rest of your Labor Day activities.
After a few hours, check the brisket to make sure it isn’t overcooking. Once it is thoroughly cooked and becoming tender, unwrap the brisket and drain off any juices into a bowl. Bring your BBQ grill’s fire up a notch or two and put the unwrapped brisket on the fire. Let the fire sear the meat, without burning it, keeping it moist all the while with the juices you drained off into the bowl.
BBQ Stuffed Lamb Chops
In honor of the founder of Labor Day, Peter McGuire, lamb is a great choice for the BBQ on Labor Day.
Start with a 9 x 9 pan of cold corn bread. Crumble the cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Mix in two eggs, and just enough canned chicken broth to moisten to your preference. Add a teaspoon of crushed mint leaves.
In a large skillet, prepare frozen hash browns according to directions, with diced onions, salt and pepper to taste. Add to the cornbread mixture.
This should provide more than enough stuffing for 6 – 8 decent sized filleted lamb chops. Fill each chop with the stuffing.
Core 2 – 3 good sized apples (granny smith or johnathans are my favorite). Do not peel the apples, but cut into rings about 1/2 inch thick. Dredge the rings in a mixture of cinnamon, crushed mint leaves and sugar.
Put the lamb chops on the grill, turning frequently to prevent burning, until done. About 5 minutes or so before the lamb chops are fully cooked, put the apple rings on the grill. Cook the apple rings, turning before the grill-side burns, until tender (about 5 minutes). Garnish the lamb chops with the apple rings and enjoy!
Honey BBQ Chicken
Chicken is my favorite meat, and honey BBQ chicken is my favorite way to have it. This delicious chicken is a fantastic choice for your Labor Day BBQ menu.
You can use any form of chicken you like. This works equally as well with a whole chicken as it does cut up chicken. I prefer boneless breast fillets myself.
In a bowl, mix together:
2 cups of hot water
1 cup of honey
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tsp salt
2 tsp coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Put the chicken on the grill, cooking it as you normally do your BBQ chicken. Once the chicken has become hot, use a pastry brush and coat it thoroughly with the mixture you made above. Re-coat the chicken periodically as needed until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.