Want this year’s Labor Day (Memorial Day or Independence Day) backyard cookout menu ideas to be memorable? Try these budget-friendly meal plans.

Impressive Backyard Cookout Menu Ideas – on a Budget!

Labor Day is coming up and we don’t usually do anything grand. But this year, we want to do something special, to celebrate the holiday a little more than usual. My husband and I have been working our tails off at our jobs, and we need to relax! Since he works on Labor Day, and can’t get off, we will celebrate the day after with some family and friends.

We also got a new grill earlier in the year, and we have enjoyed cooking out on it. We’ll be making this “fancy” backyard barbeque dinner on a budget: Grilled Sweet Chili Lime Chicken, Grilled Mexican Street Corn, good ole “from a package” buttermilk biscuits, and simple green beans from a can, and macaroni and cheese from a box for the kids.

Ok, so that last part didn’t sound so grand, did it? But the spread is just perfect for our family! My husband and I have a flair for flavor, and the kids will try the main course but will surely fill up on the rest. And I always like to be realistic when planning a meal: I have the time, budget, and energy for one “fancy” item, and the rest needs to be fast and easy!

As I was planning my menu, I came across a bunch of other grilling recipes I wanted to try. So here’s a roundup of great backyard barbecue recipes is perfect for backyard gatherings for Independence Day, Memorial Day, or Labor Day. They’re also delicious additions to your family’s summer menu!

Grilled Chicken

Grilled Huli Huli Chicken – Hawaiian is not regularly on our menu, so this one would be lots of fun. The flavors look like things the kids would enjoy as well as the adults! I like the idea of serving it with grilled pineapple, and I bet it would be fun for the kids if it were served on skewers. The menu below is pretty easy to throw together, believe it or not!

Menu Idea: Huli Huli chicken, grilled pineapple, instant pot white rice, and garden salad from a bag.

Grilled Sweet Chili Lime Chicken – Putting a marinade together isn’t hard, and this amazing chicken turns out to be a yummy family pleaser! It has a little bit of a kick to it, so take it easy on the glaze for the little ones.

Menu Idea: Grilled Sweet Chili Lime Chicken, Grilled Mexican Street Corn (recipe below), buttermilk biscuits from a mix, canned green beans, Kraft macaroni and cheese

Grilled Beef

Perfect Grilled Steak with Herb Butter – the herb butter looks like it would really top the steak nicely. My husband is the steak grilling king, and he often puts butter on steaks, so I’m going to one day get him to try this one.

Menu Idea: Grilled Steak with Herb Butter, baked potatoes with sour cream, salad mix from a bag, instant pot baked apples (recipe below)

Grilled Steak Kabobs – Nothing – and I mean nothing – beats grilled mushrooms. Ok, so that’s not really the main part of this menu item, but it’s definitely my and my kids’ favorite. These kabobs are easy for kids to help prep, and fun to stab with skewers. Grilling these doesn’t intimidate me. The meal plan below is something the kids can totally help prepare.

Menu Idea: Grilled Steak Kabobs (with mushrooms and potatoes), garden macaroni salad (recipe below)


Coke BBQ Ribs – this one works because you can make the sauce ahead of time. Ribs are something I don’t dare mess with – I ruin them. But my hubby can make these and the sauce is amazing.

Menu Idea: Coke BBQ Ribs, garlic toast (from frozen), instant pot steamed carrots and broccoli

Bourbon Teriyaki Grilled Pork Tenderloin – Ok don’t laugh, but I totally do this in the instant pot – so tender! I’m sure it’s perfect on the grill, too, with the char and everything. Super simple to prep, too, so it’s an A+ in my book!

Menu Idea: Bourbon Teryaki Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Pasta-Roni angel hair pasta with herbs, sheet pan roasted squash & zucchini 


Grilled Shrimp Skewers – My younger kids love shrimp and this is not a cheap meal, but it’s worth it every now and then. These skewers are easy and fun for the kids to help prep. We even double the recipe. And, these also taste great broiled in the oven when I don’t care to fire up the grill.

Menu Idea: Grilled Shrimp Skewers, Easy Southern Succotash (recipe below), Frozen yeast rolls

Grilled Lobster – The kids don’t appreciate lobster, but my hubby and I do! So we buy for ourselves, and the kiddos eat lobster mac and cheese from Aldi (frozen section)! Don’t judge – it’s the perfect compromise. Steamed broccoli and garlic cheddar biscuits (yep – from a mix) really make this like a night at Red Lobster, but for a fraction of the price.

Menu Idea: Grilled Lobster, Specially Selected brand frozen lobster macaroni and cheese, instant pot steamed broccoli, Cheese garlic biscuits (Bisquick)


Grilled Mexican Street Corn – not much harder than making regular grilled corn, and sooooo delicious you’ll never go back to plain corn!

Instant Pot Baked Apples – a total favorite for my family, and so easy for kids to help prep while you work on the main dish.

Garden Macaroni Salad – this is by far my family’s favorite summer macaroni salad. The kids can even make it all by themselves!

Easy Southern Succotash – Super nutritious and tasty, and the kids don’t mind it at all! They think it’s colorful and creative.

I wish I could make all of these menus at once! My mouth is watering just thinking about them. I love the feeling of having a great meal laid out. Easy, simple, and fun is all that matters to me. Well, and taste too, of course!

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Impressive Backyard Cookout Menu Ideas - on a Budget!