Favorite Memorial Day BBQ Recipes


Memorial Day is right around the corner, and my family and I can’t wait! To my family, it signals the “official” start of summer. There is nothing more refreshing than a nice long weekend with family and friends in a backyard full of laughter and food.

Below are a few of our go-to recipes to kick-off the summertime!

Barbecue Chicken with Mustard Glaze

Given to me by a friend in 2006, it’s our go-to for barbecue chicken, not just on Memorial Day, but pretty much any cookout.  This recipe doesn’t get much simpler, and the best part, it’s simple to double for a large crowd.

2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Sherry or Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
8 (6 oz.) skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
Cooking Spray


  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Combine the ketchup and next 3 ingredients (through mustard) in a separate small bowl. Stir with a whisk.
  2. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub spice mixture evenly over the chicken. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan and cook for 12 minutes. Turn chicken over. Brush half of the ketchup mixture, and cook an additional 2 minutes, or until a thermometer registers at 165 degrees.

Alternatively you don’t have to use a grill pan. You can simply grill right on the grill rack, if preferred.

Grilled Zucchini with Capers, Lemon, and Basil

4 Zucchini, sliced 1/2″ or quartered, lengthwise
1 Tablespoon juice AND 1 teaspoon zest from one lemon
3 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing zucchini
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed, dried, and roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper


  1. Combine Lemon juice, capers, olive oil, and basil. Whisk. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush olive oil on both sides of the zucchini, and season with salt and pepper (optional).
  3. Grill zucchini in a grilling basket (or you can try on top of foil, if you don’t have a grill basket) until well-browned on each side (4-5 min. per side)
  4. Transfer to a bowl or serving platter. Top with vinaigrette from step 1.

Colorado Cooler

In my many homes across America, Memorial Day just isn’t complete without a cocktail to officially kickoff the summer season. With that being said, we are also Colorado Native’s and love to support local. Below is a recipe to a Colorado Cooler, which features Stranahan’s Whiskey, based right here in Denver!

1 ounce chilled club soda
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
2 ounces malt whiskey, preferably Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
2 dashes of celery bitters (optional)
4 cherries, preferably Rainier, pitted, plus 1 cherry for garnish


  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the 4 pitted cherries.
  2. Add ice and all of the remaining ingredients, except the club soda and garnish.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain into an ice-filled collins glass, stir in the club soda and garnish with a cherry.

We hope that you enjoy these recipes! Cheers to the official start of summertime in our beautiful state!

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Leah is a mom two adorable kiddos; a three year old daughter and one year old son, and proud wife to Carey, Owner and President of Five Peaks Capital Group, based in Denver. When not working part time, she is busy at home with her two kids, trying new recipes, taking long strolls in Target on every single aisle (complete with coffee in hand), curled up on the couch with a nice glass of wine, practicing yoga, and now writing. She enjoys having a work-life balance, being able to work part-time within a passion of hers, and spending time with her babies. A true Denver native (third generation Denver-born!), she lived in Arizona for a few years after graduating from Colorado State University (Go Rams!) before returning home and never looking back.


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