Memorial Day BBQ On A Budget

Memorial Day BBQ

A Memorial Day escape can be as effortlessly magical as a backyard BBQ. You don’t need to head halfway across the world to capture that true sense of R&R. Keep it wonderfully quaint with you, your friends, and the great outdoors. We’ve gathered up some super-inspired ways to throw you and your closest a memorable BBQ without leaving the city or breaking the bank.  We sat down with head chef and party planner Annie Campbell, of Annie Campbell Catering, who gave us her A-list insider tips for how to host a backyard spectacular for less.


Ribs and Vegetables on the Barbecue

2 tablespoons hot Mexican-style chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 pounds baby back pork ribs
1 12-ounce bottle dark beer
1 18-ounce bottle good-quality barbecue sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend. Rub spice mixture all over ribs. Place ribs in large roasting pan.

Boil beer in medium saucepan until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour beer around ribs. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake ribs until fork-tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Dry Rub Ribs and Ribs with Sauce

Combine barbecue sauce, 1/2 cup water, brown sugar, and espresso powder in medium saucepan. Simmer until flavors blend and sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. (Ribs and barbecue sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover separately and refrigerate.)

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush ribs with some barbecue sauce. Grill ribs just until heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to platter. Bring remaining sauce to simmer. Brush ribs with more barbecue sauce. Serve ribs, passing remaining barbecue sauce separately.


Buttermilk Coleslaw
1 small head of green cabbage, finely sliced
1 small head of red cabbage, finely sliced
1 bunch of scallions, minced
1 handful of cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup buttermilk, or more, depending on the size of the cabbages
1/4 cup cider vinegar
¼ cup mayonnaise or sour cream
Kosher salt & pepper, to taste (it takes a lot!)

Coleslaw Ingredients

Preparation: Combine the scallions, cabbages, and cilantro in a bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle with cider vinegar and massage the cabbage with your hands. Add buttermilk (without it getting too liquidy). Fold in a bit of mayonnaise or sour cream if you want a thicker consistency. Add cilantro and cumin seeds.

Tips: The coleslaw can be made a day or two in advance and kept in the refrigerator.


Watermelon Margarita

Ingredients for simple syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Ingredients for the cocktail:
9 ounces silver tequila
6 ounces watermelon juice
4.5 ounces fresh lime juice
4.5 ounces simple syrup
Mint garnish, optional
1 seedless watermelon

To make simple syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir, dissolving the sugar into the water. Let cool. Can be refrigerated for up to a month.

Watermelon Margaritas


To make watermelon juice: Remove the rind of a seedless watermelon, cut into small pieces and juice them in a fruit/vegetable juicer. Strain the juice through a wire/mesh strainer to remove the pulp. If you don’t have access to a juicer, you can blend the watermelon in a blender or food processor. Either way, make sure to strain out the pulp.

Preparation: Mix everything together in a pitcher. Add sprigs of mint for flavor and garnish. Let guests pour over ice and enjoy!



There may not be a sweeter way to celebrate Memorial Day than with DIY S’mores. Using Milk Chocolate Hershey’s ($4)  and classic Kraft Marshmallow ($3), arrange all the fixings on separate silver platters.  Pass out sticks and allow your guests to roast their own.