Entertain/Food / September 7, 2021

Leveled-Up Barbecue Recipes & Pairings

People waiting for burgers at the BBQ grill for outdoor backyard celebration.

We like to think we have perfect grilling weather all year long here at our home base in California. However, we do understand that Labor Day weekend is one of the last hurrahs of grilling season for many in our Wine Sisterhood community. So, we’re here to help you send off summer with a whole lot of flavor!

We love a meal centered around an entrée perfectly charred off the grill and that it leaves no messy stovetop to clean up. Plus, we feel like we’ve hit the pinnacle of summer when one hand is holding a full wine glass and the other is flipping something delicious on the grill.

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Because any great home chef can struggle with creativity from time to time, we wanted to share some simple substitutes to upgrade your weekend grilling favorites. Wow friends and family at your Labor Day barbecue with these ideas:

Portrait of young woman holding burgers for friends.

DIY Special Burger Sauce

We love a classic burger fresh off the grill with all the fixings. While you can get by with just your regular, run-of-the-mill toppings we believe we’ve hit the point in the summer where we need to take it up a notch. The easiest way to make that happen is by crafting your very own special sauce. With just a few ingredients, you could be on your way to In-N-Out copycat heaven with this simple recipe from Tasty.

Pair your beef burgers, complete with special sauce, with a bottle of Bar Dog Pinot Noir.

Pair your beef burgers, complete with special sauce, with a bottle of Bar Dog Pinot Noir. This matchup will have you howling for seconds!

Person cutting grilled chicken

Crispy Chicken Brick Trick

Have you ever considered adding a brick to your cooking-tool collection? Well, here’s the trick you never knew you were missing. After spatchcocking your chicken (aka. splitting it so it lies flat on the grill), use foil-covered bricks to help flatten and evenly cook your bird. We love this simple recipe from Bon Appétit that will keep your food laboring to a minimum over the holiday weekend.

Bottles of Middle Sister White Wines

We think Middle Sister Smarty Pants Chardonnay would approve of a clever cooking technique and she just so happens to make a classic pairing with simple grilled chicken. We also suggest trying a few of the other Middle Sisters on the lighter side like Middle Sister Sweet & Savvy Moscato, Surfer Chick Sauvignon Blanc, and Drama Queen Pinot Grigio.

BBQ Grilled Vegetables on Skewers with Fresh Herbs and Spices. Summer Barbecue Food.

Bold Marinated Veggie Skewers

So, how many neighbors have offered you their excess zucchini supply this season? We think it’s a good problem to have! Use up all of those extra veggies this weekend with this fresh veggie kabob recipe from Damn Delicious. They make a perfect side dish to either of the recipes above or make a fabulous main when plated with rice and beans if you’re on a meat-free diet.

Girl & Dragon Pinot Grigio in the Park

Grilled veggies and Girl & Dragon Pinot Grigio are a delicious summertime pairing. The fresh and fruity notes in the wine will complement the lemony veggie marinade. 

Fresh Mexican Ceviche with lime.

Chill Out with Ceviche

Now, it’s time to step away from the grill and chill out. Seafood prepared ceviche-style provides a fresh, zesty addition to summertime cookouts. We like this recipe from The Kitchn that takes the worry out of the preparation by poaching shrimp quickly in hot water, then marinating it in lime and lemon juice.

Hand holding Gaze Blueberry Pomegranate Wine Cocktail

The sweetness and bubbles in Gaze Blueberry Pomegranate Wine Cocktail will pair well with a mild ceviche like this. Plus, Gaze cans are easy to pack up and add to any backyard barbecue cooler!

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