18 easy barbecue recipes for a fantastic Memorial Day cookout

Make all your favorite barbecue basics, sides and desserts in a snap for a hearty holiday weekend cookout.
/ Source: TODAY

Memorial Day weekend gatherings with family and friends usually involve big, memorable menus filled with all the best tastes of the summer season.

This year, the unofficial start to summer may look a little different, but whether you're in the kitchen or at the grill, TODAY Food cooked up a list featuring some of our go-to, festive recipes that require fewer ingredients and don't take much time to put together. From sides to steaks, there's something simple enough for every kind of home cook.

Best Memorial Day barbecue main recipes

Natalie Morales' Easy Grilled Chimichurri Soy Steak

No guest would ever guess this make-ahead steak took only 30 minutes to make. It's great for entertaining since you can put the meat in the marinade and prep the sauce the day before to make cooking and serving a cinch.

Grill up perfect pork chops with just four easy ingredients for a sweet and savory dish that no one will be able to resist.

Al's BBQ Brisket

Al Roker's beautiful, smoked brisket only takes five minutes to prepare (no, we're not kidding) and then spends the next eight hours slow-roasting in the oven until it's ready to be the juiciest star of the cookout.

Grilled salmon with an asparagus tapenade is a healthy dish that doesn't always get to shine come Memorial Day amid the smoked meats and dogs. But with only 10 minutes prep time and 10 minutes on the grill, it's totally worth making and is a great for a lighter spread.

Serving beef sliders to a crowd is a fun way to dish out the main course and requires no utensils. But grilling up two dozen patties may not be the ideal scenario. Instead, make a big meatloaf a couple days before and slice it up into little rounds. The party people will be happy ... and so will the host!

Baked Barbecue Chicken Wings

An easy way to feed (and please) any sized crowd is with chicken wings. Al's baked chicken wings are smothered in a delicious espresso-barbecue sauce from Austin's famous barbecue joint Franklin Barbecue.

Spicy and Savory Barbecued Pork Ribs with Two Sauces

These rib sauces are amazing because they blend sweet, spicy and savory all at the same time. They are unique in the different chilies they use to develop heat and flavor and the fruit in each sauce balances the flavors for perfectly meaty ribs.

Chili Marinated Shrimp

Spice up the grill with this easy seafood dish. These shrimp have an amazing smoky flavor due to the charring of the chili in the marinade. It takes ordinary to extraordinary, plus the marinade uses only six simple ingredients.

Memorial Day appetizers and side dishes

Cornbread Salad

Cornbread Salad

Elizabeth Heiskell

Is it a salad, a dip or cornbread? Well, it's all three! This wonderful trifle is bursting with sweet corn, crunchy bell peppers, sharp and creamy cheeses and salty bacon. It can be served in a clear dish for a fun appetizer or on the side of your main dish.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

If you haven't yet enjoyed Casey Barber's easy dip, now is the time! It's full of spiced-up cheesy goodness bursting inside fried jalapeño poppers, all topped with the same lovable crunch.

Grilled Corn (Maíz Rustido)

Maíz rustido is Spain's version of Mexican street corn. Like its south-of-the-border counterpart, this sweet corn is charred and served with salty cheese, smoky spices and zesty citrus. It will be on the plate in less than 30 minutes.

Serve this five-ingredient sweet potato mash in a bowl in the center of your platter of barbecued meats. It makes for a beautiful presentation and it also makes it easy for everyone to dig into.

There's something undeniably refreshing about the combination of juicy watermelon and salty feta. When you add sweet blueberries, you get the perfectly patriotic summer salad.

This salad is quick and easy to make, and it's a nice side dish to heartier grilled meats like steak and pork chops. Long, curling ribbons of zucchini are shaved with a vegetable peeler and dressed with lemon, olive oil, honey, mint and basil, then Parmesan and hazelnuts are sprinkled on top.

Memorial Day desserts

Sweet apples and tart blackberries come together in this gooey, warm cobbler you can ladle up with a crumbly sugar top. Serve it with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for a dessert that will make a lasting impression.

Red, White & Blue Popsicles

Who doesn't love a popsicle? It's even better when it's homemade and contains real fruit! They're easy to eat, a fun ode to the American flag and can be made ahead of time for easy summer celebrations.

No-Bake Blueberry and Banana Icebox Cake

When you don't feel like turning on the hot oven but still want to make a gorgeous cake, try this vanilla, blueberry and banana dessert. Featuring fresh fruits, rich golden Oreo cookies and homemade coconut whipped cream, this almost-vegan, no-bake icebox cake is the perfect dessert when it's hot outside.

Craving some sweet strawberry ice cream but can't make it to the store? This four-ingredient dessert is fresh, can be made easily with whatever frozen fruits you have and only takes three minutes to whip up.