Memorial Day weekend is upon us and I think we’re all looking forward to that extended weekend to spend with friends and family. Memorial Day gatherings are one of the best days to light up our grills and satisfy that primal part of us that craves that char and sear. For many, it’s probably the first party or occasion to bring the grills back out and when you’re going to christen it for the first time this season, it should be something special, don’t you think? Don’t get me wrong, I love my hotdogs, burgers, and steaks as much as the next person but it’s Memorial Day! That is why, this year, I decided to step outside the box and ask our Lakeshore Beverage staff if they grill anything other than the typical grill faire – check out below to see what some of the delicious responses were!

Chicken Satay is an incredibly delicious and fun way to enjoy grilled chicken. This skewered chicken dish can be made in a variety of ways with different cuts and flavors but the way we made it this year is in a Thai style using a peanut sauce marinade. The skewers are not technically necessary since we’re cooking over a grate but the presentation and ease of eating make it worth the little extra effort – just watch out for that sharp end (from personal experience). The Southeast Asian flavors of this dish are wonderfully complimented by Kona Big Wave. The beer enhances the subtle sweetness of the marinade and balances the earthy peanut flavors. Since the pieces are smaller, they cook fairly quickly; making them a great appetizer course with that extra wow factor in the presentation. A couple of skewers served with rice, like pictured, is also a quick and easy meal to throw together if the skewers are ready to go in the fridge.

Pizza on the grill? There are a lot of strong opinions on pizzas across not just Chicago, but all around the world. So when you see that there are some people who like to grill their pizzas, it might raise some eyebrows. I was a skeptic at first but I have seen many restaurants serve grilled flatbreads that are almost like a pizza. It took a little trial and error but I think I was able to successfully make a pizza on the grill that I would honestly enjoy again. The slight smokiness the grill imparts into this pizza makes it feel like it was made in a blazing pizza oven but the char from the grill grates imparts a unique flavor. Using a low flame on one side while using the empty side to adjust the temperature, it made a pizza that got the dough nicely baked while keeping the toppings from scorching. I think this is a great way to cook a pizza if you’re looking to keep it bright and fresh with the toppings. This pizza was a more Scicillian-style dough with cremini mushrooms, green peppers, and artichoke hearts and I loved the way it turned out. The mushrooms were still plump and the artichoke didn’t char to ashes like when I use my pizza oven. The many different combinations you can make can appeal to all guests – especially for vegetarians or vegans who also want to enjoy the ambiance and festivities of a grill day. Since I kept the toppings light and healthier, I felt compelled to have a Michelob Ultra with it. Pizza and Michelob Ultra are a great combo and for a midday beer to start the party, Michelob Ultra is a great way to start Memorial Day.

For most, chicken or beef are the go-to proteins for grilling but in many parts of the world, goat and lamb are much more common. I really enjoy lamb but I seem to forget about it most of the year except during Easter. The only place I consistently see lamb and goat dishes are at Indo-Pak restaurants and I usually gravitate towards the tandoori section of the menu. Unfortunately, I don’t own a tandoor oven but it can be closely replicated using your grill. The most important aspect of making Tandoori Lamb Chops is the marinade. Using a tandoori marinade, I was able to grill up these amazing lamb chops that I could be fooled into thinking was from my favorite Indian restaurants. Served with some naan and a mint cilantro chutney, the flavors were out of this world. I usually enjoy my Indian food with mango lassis and I just happened to know that Cutwater makes an amazing mango margarita. In the hot sun while eating hot dishes, a cold Cutwater Mango Margarita was just a perfect splash of flavors.

This dish wasn’t from the questionnaire but something that I grew up with and wanted to share with you all – Marinated Kalbi. This cut of beef was incredibly rare to find in the past outside of Korean supermarkets because it was cut in a way most butcher’s wouldn’t cut beef short rib. This flanken cut or “LA-style” cut of beef lets the marinade penetrate in the entire piece of meat leaving you with an incredibly flavorful bite every time. Usually with three bones in each piece, they can be cut after cooking into single bone slabs of beef that is fun to eat directly with your hands. Each bone has a little bit of tougher meat attached directly to the bone that I used to hate as a child but now happens to be one of my favorite aspects of this dish. Marinated Kalbi is also great on the standard grill – I actually prefer it compared to using a smaller Korean-style burner. It can be quite labor intensive to prepare a lot of it so don’t feel like you’re not getting the full experience buying pre-marinaded kalbi at the store because either way, it’s going to taste delicious. You can eat just the beef by itself or you can have it with some rice and kimchi like I did here. The beef is so flavorful and complex that I usually don’t pair it with complex drinks. I prefer to go with something smooth, crisp, and easy drinking – all of which describes Bud Light to the letter.

Even before writing this, I knew exactly what grilled food I wanted to end this blog with. It is the old reliable bratwurst which might seem just as common as the steaks, hotdogs, and burgers I mentioned in the beginning but I beg to differ. It’s a unique German cuisine that has become wildly popular in the US, especially in the Midwest. For me, a brat is the thing you grill at the end of the day. When all the other guests have left and your closet friends and family are still hanging out. When the bonfire is on and you’re feeling just a little hungry but not for a full meal again. Sure, we could pull out the leftovers from earlier in the day but then you have to reheat it all and we’re probably running low on all the sides by now. But you can just fire up the grill one last time, throw a few brats on, pull out the buns and a little mustard, and crack open that Goose Island 312 with the friends you had your first 312 with. It’s the perfect way to end a great Memorial Day weekend.