Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer with pools opening up, a countdown to the last day of school starts, and temperatures rising. What better way to start summer than with a barbecue? We have compiled a list of dishes and drinks you can bring to a Memorial Day barbecue.

Burger Bar

While the host mans the grill, the least you can do is bring some extra ingredients for any uneaten meat.

A burger bar has everything you’ll need to assemble your burger: lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, pickles, onions, and condiments. Also, it shouldn’t be restricted to burgers; hot dogs and kebabs are cooking too.

Cocktails & Mocktails

Nothing beats the heat like a cool, refreshing drink. Cocktails and mocktails are great for the warmer seasons with many flavors and concoctions to choose from. For adults who want an alcoholic drink that takes it back to their childhood, Adult Capri Suns can do the trick with flavors like blue lemonade, sex on the beach pouch, or tequila sunrise. Summer and slushies go well together, so if you’re in the mood for a tipsy slushy; these sangria slushies and strawberry margaritas (recipe by TikTok user @dosesofchelle) can turn a cheap wine into a frozen delight.

If you’re not looking to get buzzed up, try some mocktails like the Blueberry Ginger cooler and Chile Lime Pineapple soda.


For me, nothing could go wrong with a pitcher of lemonade. It’s perfect for kids and adults alike to drink with many flavors and variations to choose from. Spoon U’s Brazilian lemonade recipe will bring a bittersweet taste out of your comfort zone. Grocery stores have big bottles from multiple brands — my favorite brands are Me and the Bees and Hubert’s Lemonade — but you can always make some from scratch.

Jalapeño Poppers

Jalapeño poppers are classic starters at restaurants, gatherings, and cookouts. They bring in the extra heat that can put Hell’s Kitchen to shame. Jalapeño poppers feature jalapeños, bacon, cream cheese, and paprika, but many variations of jalapeño poppers exist like Jalapeño Popper Crisps and Scrambled Egg Jalapeño Popper Cups.

TikTok user @godfatherofmeaat's version, dubbed “Atomic Buffalo Turds,” is bacon-wrapped and stuffed with half of a sausage.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Looking for a spicy and savory dish? Buffalo chicken dip is perfect to dip chips and veggie sticks in.

This dip by Instagram user @cookin.depot features shredded rotisserie chicken, hot sauce, ranch, and several different kinds of cheese. Serve it warm or cold, it’s sure to be hit.

Baked Beans

This sounds like something you can buy cans of put in a pot and just serve to the guest. but not the way that some people do. TikTok user @heathsvillecatering changed my perspective on how people make baked beans with his recipe.

It’s thick, has ground beef, and is seasoned to perfection. Bring this to a cookout, and people will definitely taste the difference between baked beans straight from the can.

Red, White, & Blue Cookies

Is there room for dessert? I’m sure someone will bake a flag-shaped cake, tart, or jello shots. But cookies are smaller, don’t leave as big of a mess, and are quick to share and indulge in. Grocery stores have generic sugar cookies suited for Memorial Day. But if you’re feeling like making them from scratch, TikTok user @arinsolange has a recipe topped with fruit. There’s also a cookie recipe from @bakedrizzledust with red, white, and blue chocolate candies. Choose which one to bring, or bring both on a tray.

Fruit Salad

With all the meat, sweets, and drinks across the table, a fruit salad can help brighten people’s day (and stomach). Not only is it sweet and tangy, it’s packed with vitamins and nutrients.

TikTok user @Kalejunkie's ultimate fruit salad has shredded fruits drizzled with orange juice dressing and sprinkled with fresh mint and salt.