Sorry to bum you out, but summer is over. Sure, it'll still be hot as hell outside for a little while longer, but the energy changes after Labor Day weekend—summer was the rager, and September is the head-pounding hangover.
Get your last ya-yas out during this long weekend with a proper cookout, and make sure it does summer justice. That means treating your meat right and giving it some sides to share the spotlight with.
Luckily, some of the easiest sides are the best ones—perfect for No Labor day. Like this anchovy, little gem, and tomato salad. Simply toss a few ingredients together, and you've got just the thing to offset a giant hunk of steak. Avocado, grapefruit, and crab salad is so straightforward, you can throw it together even after you've tossed back a few beers. And how about this cucumber salad—it makes it's own freakin' vinaigrette. Or, after you've grilled up your meaty mains, throw some veg right on the embers to make this zucchini and white bean salad. Stupid easy.
But hey, it's summer's last hurrah, and that means you should take some risks. Get weird. Put cucumbers on the grill. Brush grilled corn with a sweet, coconutty, turmeric-laced sauce. Toss ramen, quinoa, and almonds into cabbage for the crunchiest slaw ever.
OK, ready to have your mind blown? Amp up simple greens with watermelon dressing. Mic drop.
Now go on, kick this Labor Day barbecue's ass. 'Til next year, summer.
Need to make mains or desserts? Check out our full Ultimate Summer Recipe Collection.