Memorial Day Barbecues: Grilling tips, recipes for at home cookout or where to go to pick up food

By Suzanne Corbett

Summertime grill season traditionally arrives  with Memorial Day. Where are the Barbecues for Memorial Day?

St. Louis County Greek Festival- Scroll down for information.

Food Truck Friday in Belleville, IL: Fri, May 26, 5:30 – 8:30 PM. The Weingarten. 1780 IL-15, Belleville, IL

Monday May 29, 2023 10 a.m.-1:30 Washington, MO- Memorial Day Parade, Service, and BBQ/Fried Chicken Lunch- American Legion, 205 N Washington Avenue Union, MO 63084

For more things to do on Memorial Day CLICK HERE.

If you know of any other barbecues, let us know. We’ve got grilling tips plus a few recipes in this article, read on.

Make Memorial Day BBQ a Winner with affordable cuts and grill master tips  

With Cardinals baseball on in the background, the great St. Louis pasttime in the summer is the backyard barbecue. It doesn’t really matter what you cook– throw some drumsticks on the grill– the point is get outside and enjoy the weather with your family or friends– or even just yourself. A backyard cookout is sometimes just what the doctor should be ordering to restore your peace of mind.

And this year the classics, burgers, brats, and pork steaks, will fill once again be the star attraction at countless backyard barbecues. With meat prices higher than ever, creating an affordable barbecue bash is a challenge. However, cheaper, which are usually less tender meat cuts are out there.  For example, consider the sparerib.

While spareribs have increased in price over the past few years, they are still more affordable that baby backs ribs  or St. Louis Style ribs. I love to have ribs on the menu, especially when you can find them on sale.  Just remember ribs need to cook low and slow> it’s the only way to get them tender.

Another money saving tip, consider grilling chicken wings instead of chicken breast.  Wings are often more affordable than chicken breasts. Craving steak and fearful of the price. Then choose flank steak instead of sirloin. Of course, don’t forget the pork steaks. The MVP on St. Louis grills since the 1950s along with the humble hot dog and brat, which I like to grill with a side of  onions and swell bell peppers or fresh green chiles.  Simple toss the onions and peppers in a little seasoned oil or Italian salad dressing, place on a sheet of foil and grill.

The best money saving tip any barbecue expert can give is to not overcook your food. Overcooking dries foods out.  To prevent overcooking know when to use direct or indirect heat. Direct heat is great for fast grilled items and meats you want to sear and cook fast like a brats or burgers.  Indirect is for slow cooking such meats as ribs.  Here’s a refresher on how to set up a grill using indirect and direct heat.

To grill by using the direct method on a charcoal grill:  Spread prepared coals evenly across the charcoal grate. Set the cooking grate over the coals and place food on the cooking grate. Place the lid on the grill and lift it only to turn food or to test for doneness at the end of the recommended cooking time. To grill by the direct method on a gas grill: Preheat the grill with all burners on High. Place the food on the cooking grate; adjust all burners to the temperature noted in the recipe. Close the lid of the grill and lift it only to turn food or to test for doneness at the end of the recommended cooking time.

To grill by the indirect method on a charcoal grill: Arrange hot coals evenly on either side of the charcoal grate. A drip pan placed in the center of the charcoal grate between the coals is useful to collect drippings that can be used for gravies and sauces. It also helps prevent flare-ups. For longer cooking times, add water to the drip pan to keep drippings from burning. Place the cooking grate over the coals and place the food on the cooking grate, centered over the drip pan or empty space. Place the lid on the grill and lift it only to baste or check for doneness at the end of the suggested cooking time.

To grill by the indirect method on a gas grill: Preheat the grill with all burners on High. Then adjust the burners on each side of the food to the temperature noted in the recipe and turn off the burner(s) directly below the food. For best results, place roasts, poultry, or large cuts of meat on a roasting rack set inside a disposable heavy-gauge foil pan. For longer cooking times, add water to the foil pan to keep drippings from burning.

No matter what your food budget will allow start this Memorial Day right by getting your grill cleaned and ready. Here’s a few basic tips to keep the summer grilling season sizzling.

Always start with a clean grill. And give yourself  time to preheat your grill or prepare your charcoal for grilling.

Create heat zones on your pit using direct and indirect heat. For indirect heat, coals or flames are placed on one side of the grill.

Keep a water spray bottle on hand to prevent flare ups.

Use a meat thermometer to check temperature of meats.

In a hurry? Cut meats into smaller pieces to reduce cook time.

If sauce on the grill (my preference) don’t sauce too early. Wait and brush on the sauce the last few minutes of cooking.  This will reduce the chance those sweet sauces from burning.

St Louis Style Pork Steaks

4 pork steaks, cut 1/2-inch thick

½ cup barbecue sauce

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon garlic salt

pepper to taste

½ teaspoon dry mustard

Prepare medium-hot fire. Season pork with salt and pepper; grill directly over fire, turning to cook and brown evenly, for 15 minutes. In a small bowl combine  remaining ingredients. During the last five minutes of grilling, brush on sauce. Serves 4

Recipe courtesy of the Pork Checkoff

Note: The Pork Checkoff reports the safe internal temperature for pork is 145 degrees, which will yield a pink center.

Maple Mustard Glazed Spareribs

4 pounds spareribs

salt, as needed

1/2 teaspoon mixed pickling spices

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup maple-flavored syrup

1/4 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground pepper

Sprinkle spareribs with salt. Tie pickling spice in cheesecloth and set aside. In a medium saucepan cook onion in oil until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add cheesecloth packet, syrup, vinegar, water, mustard and pepper; simmer 20 minutes. Remove cheesecloth.

Prepare medium banked fire in covered kettle-style grill. Grill ribs over indirect heat 1 1/2-2 hours, until tender. During last 5 minutes of grilling, brush ribs occasionally with maple glaze, turning to glaze evenly.

Serves 4.

Don’t feel like cooking? OPA! St Louis County Greek Festival Returns in-Person Memorial Day weekend

Looking for something beyond brats and pork steaks this Memorial Day weekend? Celebrate the weekend with Greek food.

For the first time since the pandemic, the St. Louis County Greek Festival is back in-person with live music, traditional folk dancing, church tours, a vendor market and delicious, authentic Greek cuisine at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church located at 1755 Des Peres Road in Town & Country.

The annual festival takes place over the Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-29. Hours are Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Monday, May 29 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Guests can enjoy a variety of food from Greece, including Souvlaki, Greek Chicken, Gyros, Kebabs, Baklava BBQ story and my pick of barbecue- go Greek.

A charity 5K/10K walk/run will also take place on May 27 benefiting FOCUS Gateway City. To register, visit

This year’s event is credit/debit card ONLY. Cash will not be accepted. Service animals are permitted in all areas of the festival that are open to the public. Pets are permitted and must be leashed.

For more information and to download the ultimate Greek Fest playlist, visit

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