Labor Day is the day meant to honor laborers for the contributions they've made to the strength, well-being, and prosperity of this country. It has been observed in the U.S. in some form since 1882. Although originally a protest to working conditions, Labor Day has evolved into parades, inspirational speeches honoring workers and workers' rights, and outdoor feasts as part of a celebration. Labor Day falls on the first Monday of September and its celebrations have come to be associated with acknowledging the end of summer and the beginning of the school year.
With Labor Day right around the corner, your party planning may have already begun. And sometimes it can be tricky to plan a party that all your friends will enjoy without breaking all the rules when it comes to your nutrition. But fear not, we have put together a guide to throwing a party full of tasty treats that your guests will enjoy even if they haven’t embraced your nutrition or lifestyle.
We’ll start with the drinks. If you’ve been following a Paleo diet for a while, you understand that strictly speaking, alcohol isn’t exactly Paleo. There is no definitive answer out there on which kinds of alcohol you're allowed to indulge in on your Paleo Diet, but there are a few easy rules to remember to ensure you can still partake in happy hour and not completely sabotage your healthy lifestyle efforts.
If you’re looking to enjoy an alcoholic beverage our Paleo alcohol guide will help you choose the best alcohol (and avoid choosing the wrong types!)
Get our suggestions here
Salads & Sides
Creative salads and sides that satisfy all tastes and meet your Paleo diet standards can sometimes feel a little more challenging but they need not be.
Salads are often an after-thought at a traditional BBQ, but serving something fun and filling can be a crowd pleaser. Check out our salad guide which is the best way to mix, match and create your own, unique signature dish.
Burgers With Avocado Salsa
For The Burgers
- 2 Pounds Ground Grass-Fed Beef
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For The Salsa
- 2 To 3 ripe Hass Avocados
- Juice Of ½ Lime
- Zest Of ½ Lime
- 1 Small Roma Tomato, Seeded And Diced (About ½ Cup)
- 1 Small Mango, Peeled And Diced (About 1 Cup)
- 1 Clove Garlic, Minced (About 1 Tablespoon)
- 1 Small Shallot, Minced (About 3 Tablespoons)
- 3 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
- 1 Jalapeño Pepper, Seeded And Finely Diced
- 1 Teaspoon Salt, Plus More To Taste
- 1 Teaspoon Pepper
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ Teaspoon Chili Powder
Grill The Burgers
- Preheat your grill. If you have a gas grill, set it on high; if you have a charcoal grill, use a chimney or propane starter.
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients for the burgers with your hands. Form the mixture into four patties about 5 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick.
- Place the burgers on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. This will let the salt do some work on the meat and raise the temperature of the meat so it cooks evenly on the grill.
- Place the burgers on the grill, beginning at 12 o’clock and working clockwise around the grill. Let the burgers grill for 3 to 4 minutes. Starting with the burger at 12 o’clock, turn each burger 90 degrees and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to get the perfect diamond-shaped char. Flip the burgers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn each burger 90 degrees and cook for 1 to 2 minutes
Make The Salsa
- Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Without going through the peel, make diagonal slices ¼ inch wide across the avocado, then turn it 90 degrees and repeat to create ¼ inch cubes.
- Scoop out the avocado pieces into a bowl and immediately squeeze the lime juice over them so they don’t start to brown.
- Zest the other half of the lime onto the avocado.
- Add the tomato, mango, garlic, shallot, cilantro, jalapeño, salt, pepper, ground cumin, and chili powder.
- Fold the mixture together to keep the shape of the avocado as intact as possible. Add more salt if necessary.
- While the salsa can be eaten right away, it’s great after 3 to 6 hours in the fridge, and it will keep in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
- Plate the burgers after they have rested for about 5 minutes, then top with a few tablespoons of salsa per burger
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Smoked BBQ Cider Can Chicken
A note from Chef Pete: This is a paleo take on one of my favorite summer recipes of all time. I use cider because I like the flavor cider gives, but to be honest you could use beer if you like. You’re not going to transfer any gluten from the steaming of the beer. You can do it without adding the wood chips and smoking it, but it’s much, much better smoked.
- 2 Pastured Chickens Roughly 3lbs each
- 2 cups wood chips (I prefer hickory or pecan, never ever use soft wood like pine)
- 2-12 oz cans of cider
- 3 eco foil tin pans (they come in 3 packs in grocery store 6”x6’” or 7”x7”)
- Charcoal (wood charcoal is recommended but any is good. Use a chimney or propane starter)
Whisk together in a bowl.
- 3 T Kosher Salt
- 2 T Black Pepper Ground
- 1 T Chili Powder
- 2 T Garlic Powder
- 1 T Onion Powder
- Put wood chips in one of the aluminum pans, and soak with 1/3 of the cider from both cans. Let soak for one hour and then strain leftover cider off.
- While chips are soaking, rub chickens down with rub, no need to be perfect here, but the more even the more perfectly seasoned skin you’ll be fighting over.
- Arrange the charcoal to one side of your grill and get it lit. Once it is almost ready, place wood chips in foil tin directly over charcoal.
- Take the other two tins, place the can up the chicken's back end and use the tins as a base. Now place the birds on the other side of the grill from the chips and charcoal.
- Cover the grill, and cook for 35-40 minutes.
Perfectly Grilled Steak
Use this method to make any steak the perfect main dish – every time!
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Although the standard Labor Day menu can make it a challenging to stay true to Paleo principles, there is no need to sacrifice the taste of something sweet after your feast.
For anyone who’s still got room, or who has a bit of a sweet tooth, grilled fresh fruit will offer a surprisingly satisfying finish to the meal. Scrape off a section of the grill (unless you want your fruit to taste like your main course) and place halves of your favorite fruit (we like stone fruit, figs or pineapple slices) over the flame until softened. Remove from the grill and place on a plate tented in foil and serve after 10 – 15 minutes. Serve with some Paleo ice cream (this recipe is easy and delicious), some coconut milk ‘whipped cream’ or scatter fresh basil or mint on top or drizzle with your favorite honey for a flavor profile with a bit more depth.
We guarantee these recipes and suggestions will help you get ready for this last official big summer bash. Enjoy and happy cooking.