If you invited your friends over for a backyard Memorial Day barbecue during a moment of culinary hopefulness, then right about now you might be = wrestling with the fact that you don’t actually own a grill. Nor do you know how to prepare any of the types of things that would generally need to be cooked on said grill.
Or, maybe you’re already a young Jacques Pépin but you’re simply not up for the task of manning the grill all day while your friends get to eat and drink delicious things. Either way, it is fully possible to throw a Memorial Day celebration without forking over $1,000 for a brand spanking new Weber at the last minute. Use your oven, your stove and a few of our favorite no-cook recipes to get your party started…and one of our favorite cocktails to make it last all day or night.
Hamburgers and Hot Dogs
If you’re set on cooking your favorite picnic foods without access to an outdoor open flame, look for alternative ways to cook them. Cook hot dogs on the stovetop for best results and for hamburgers, invest $20-30 in a quality grill pan so you can make your favorite sliders with chipotle mayonnaise or feta stuffed turkey burgers in the oven or broiler.
Cold Salad Bar
If you really want to do absolutely no cooking, but can handle some light assembly, opt for a few cold salads. As the summer season kicks off and people start to think about wearing bathing suits out in public, your guests will undoubtedly be thankful to have some lighter options that meat and more meat with a side of meat.
Choose one heartier option, like creamy crunchy chicken salad with assorted bread and rolls, alongside a few simpler options like cucumber, tomato and avocado salad and watermelon, feta and basil salad.
Be sure to keep your salads indoors or in a cooler filled with ice. Keep food our of direct sunlight to avoid food spoilage issues when the weather starts to heat up.
When I throw parties, I like to make one signature cocktail and then give guests the option of bringing their own beer, wine or spirits. Even though I like to keep a well-stocked home bar, a little BYOB never hurt anyone and it will free you up to focus on more important things, like strawberry sangria, pomegranate sangria or fresh basil lemonade (spiked or non-alcoholic).
Even though I know plenty of people who would have no problem polishing off one or five homemade brownies or spirited chocolate chip cookies (present company included) I tend to keep desserts simple at outdoor parties: berries topped with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or a big fresh fruit salad. If you’re drinking wine, beer or a sweet cocktail, you’re probably already on sugar overload and dessert is an afterthought
The Grill-Free Memorial Day Party Menu
Fresh strawberries and blueberries topped with vanilla ice cream