As the summer heat starts to give way to a slightly less humid breeze, and the Back to School sales are in full swing, we start to feel the season coming to end. And we want one last special summer memory.

That is why the Labor Day barbecue was invented. It is one last time to savor the glory of summer before heading into the more hectic fall. Of course, the holiday itself commemorates the brave workers who make our country great (so take a moment and remember them), then get to work on making this Labor Day special.

So, pitch the burgers and dogs and corn on the cob. This Labor Day try one of these more intriguing foods!



Grill these tasty bivalves for 7-8 minutes until they start opening up. Remove from the grill and douse with butter and a little bit of lemon.



This one takes a bit of planning: Tenderize your octopus by boiling with wine and herbs for up to 90 minutes. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours, allowing the octopus meat to rest. Toss it in some olive oil, lemon, salt and herbs and grill at about 4 minutes each side. Serve the tentacles with more oil, lemon and salt and pepper.



Grilling pizza is a fun, family way to use your barbecue. Oil your pizza dough to prevent any sticking, and start to grill it topping-less. (This writer loves grill peaches a the same time to make a goat cheese and peach pizza on the grill.) Once the dough has risen a bit (about 3 minutes), top the pizza with your favorites. Grill the pizza for another 6 minutes with the top down


Pineapple or Watermelon

Grilled fruit is delicious, giving an umami touch to super sweet favorites. For pineapple, marinade large, thin slices in butter, honey and cayenne and grill 2-3 minutes per side. For watermelon, remove the rind and chop thicker steak-size pieces, and grill directly for 2 minutes on each side.


Pound Cake

Pound cake, often the plainer of the supermarket dessert options, can come to live with a little BBQ TLC. Spread butter on either side of thick slices of the cake and toast on the grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Add fruit, compote or ice cream for a delicious summery dessert.


Lobster/Lobster tail

Clean your lobster and remove the tail (or cut in half for half lobsters on the grill). Grill on medium to high heat – shell side down. The tails alone take about 6 minutes to get red and perfect. Claws and half lobsters might take 8-9 minutes. Serve with butter, lemon and white wine.


Green beans or asparagus

Green veggies (even broccoli or rabe) can be grilled. Toss in some olive oil and salt and grill for 2-3 minutes, or until the veggie softens and starts to blacken.



Choose the healthiest (closed) oysters and place oysters cup side down on a medium-high grill. Close the lid and wait about 7-9 minutes until the oyster shells start to open. Remove the oysters and pry open with oyster knife. Serve with lemon and hot sauce.



Cut and remove the avocado seed. Brush the top with lemon and olive oil and grill (flat side down) for 3 minutes. Stuff grilled avocados with seafood, spicy salsa or cheese and grill one more minute (flat side up, to avoid filling from spilling)



Bacon is delicious, but be sure you use a charcoal grill for this one. Opt for a thicker cut of bacon and grill bacon farther away from the coals on indirect heat. (The fat makes a flare that can char the bacon, or worse, injure the griller.) Continually flip bacon every five minutes until it is crunch and brown. (Some prefer to skewer the bacon, especially if your grate is larger.) Grilled bacon is less greasy and often a bit crunchier.



Prepare your quesadilla any way you like. If you are using steak, chicken or any meat, cook the meat before preparing the quesadilla. Be sure to add a good amount of cheese (that is what quesadillas are about, right?) and brush each side with butter. Grill 2-3 minutes each side so that tortillas start to brown but cheese is only melted about 60%. Let stand for a minute, cut and serve.


Happy Labor Day, and happy grilling!