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Memorial Day backyard BBQ recipes

Kick-off summer the right way with a fantastic and fun-filled Memorial Day backyard barbecue. Plenty of food and drinks, decorations, activities, and music will make your party the perfect way to launch an enjoyable summer. Here is your Memorial Day party guide.


Memorial Day Decorations

The theme of the day is backyard barbecue, so embellish the idea with plenty of decorations and the right atmosphere.

For the general barbecue theme, use classic red and white-checkered tablecloths on your picnic tables. For a little added pizzazz, line the walkway with votives or nice stones and drape red and white crepe paper on tree branches. Also, hang twinkle lights on fences or railings, which will create a nice ambience when the sun sets.

If you have a sturdy tree, hang a tire swing from it and let the kids enjoy themselves. If you have a large open area, set up a tent or canopy for a buffet area and make a fire pit for roasting marshmallows later in the evening.

Memorial Day Activities

Having fun in the warm weather and hanging out with family and friends is what barbecues are all about, but having a few games and activities on hand for guests of all ages will keep everyone entertained and liven up the party.

Set up horseshoes, croquet, or badminton and have prizes for the winners such as inexpensive grilling accessories. Have a three-legged race, a water balloon toss, or a potato sack race. If your friends are into food, hold a barbecue sauce contest and let the guests choose the best sauce. When the sun sets, light the fire or grill and roast marshmallows for s’mores.

Memorial Day Music

Make a music play list of all your favorite summer songs. For example: Soak up the Sun by Sheryl Crow, In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry, Heatwave by Martha and the Vanellas, Summertime by Will Smith, All Summer Long by the Beach Boys, The Boys of Summer by Don Henley, and Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams, just to name a few. Let your guests move to the grooves – or just enjoy the tunes.

Memorial Day Food

Besides the classic barbecue fare of burgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken, serve up tasty, one bite appetizers your guests can nosh on before the grilling gets going.

Baked Mozzarella Bites, Cheesy Tomato Melts, and Chunky Vegetable Hummus are all crowd pleasers. See the recipes below.

Memorial Day Drinks

Be sure to have plenty of drinks on hand, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Beer, wine, and a variety of liquor with mixers should definitely be behind your bar.

Make summertime lemonade and ice tea (both can be spiked for adults) and have a blender ready for margaritas and daiquiris. Be sure to have lemons, limes, and cherries to garnish your refreshing cocktails. Create your own signature cocktail for your guests, for example make a Michelada (recipe below).

Memorial Day Recipes

All recipes courtesy of Ritz

Baked Mozzarella Bites

Makes 30 servings


  • 1 (8 ounce)package mozzarella cheese
  • 60 Ritz crackers
  • 1 cup jarred spaghetti sauce, heated


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Slice cheese into 15 slices and then cut them in half.
  3. Place one slice of cheese on each cracker and top with another cracker. Move crackers and cheese to a baking sheet.
  4. Bake 8 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with sauce to dip.

Cheesy Tomato Melts

Makes 12 servings


  • 12 Ritz crackers
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium plum tomato, cut into 12 slices
  • Ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder


  1. Top each cracker with cheese, a tomato, pepper, and garlic powder. Place crackers on a microwavable plate and heat on high for 10 to 15 seconds or until cheese is melted.

Chunky Vegetable Hummus

Makes 30 servings


  • 1 (7 ounce) container plain hummus
  • 1/2 of a medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 box Ritz crackers


  1. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl. Top with vegetables and cheese. Serve with crackers.


Makes 6 servings


  • 6 12-ounce beer bottles
  • Fresh lime juice from about 6 limes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Limes, as garnish
  • Salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir. Rub a lime on the rim of each glass and dip into salt. Pour drink into glasses filled with ice. Serve with limes.

More Memorial Day recipes

Healthy Memorial Day menu on the grill
Refreshing Summer Lemonade Recipes
Throw a spring fling barbecue

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