Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summertime, as well as a time to remember the service men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Whatever the traditions are in your family, chances are you might commemorate part of the weekend by getting out the grill and planning a family gathering. To get you off on the right foot, we’ve collected a Memorial Day grilling primer with tips and a few suggestions for planning a special family feast.
Set the Scene
Much of the décor for Memorial Day involves stars, stripes and patriotic-themed items, and the General Store of Minnetonka suggests embracing red, white and blue for your special event. “Everyone has been cooped up all winter, so Memorial Day is a perfect time to host a gathering with family, friends or neighbors to kick off the start of summer,” says Liz Mugford, buyer at the General Store of Minnetonka. “Let us not forget the true meaning of the holiday and give thanks for our freedom.”
A conversation piece on your table could be either the geography or state glasses by catstudio ($9.95). The General Store carries the popular glasses for nearly every state, some cities and a few countries, including the United States. Buy or collect an assortment, then raise a glass to your summer vacation destination or a state that holds a special memory for your family.
Fire Up the Grill
Set aside your go-to grilling dishes and try some favorites from Lake Minnetonka area restaurants. We’ve collected some mouth-watering recipes that are sure to please your crowd.
The BayView family of venues—including BayView Event Center, Bayside Grille, Queen of Excelsior and BayView Charter Cruises—create quite a presence on Lake Minnetonka. Each offers a unique dining experience, and we asked executive chef Jose Gonzales to share his favorites for your grill.
Szechuan Steak Kabobs Appetizer
1 lb. tenderloin or rib-eye steak, cut into 1½-inch cubes
3 oz. Szechuan sauce
3 oz. ponzu sauce
6 bamboo skewers
1 oz. diced scallions
Marinate steak in the ponzu sauce for 30 minutes, then skewer and glaze cubes with the Szechuan sauce. For medium rare, grill each skewer for three minutes, then turn. Serve with a scoop of white rice and sprinkle with diced scallions.
Executive chef Eli Renn of the Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille says grilling outdoors is the way a burger should be cooked, so what better way to honor our fair region then to serve up a juicy Lucy this holiday weekend? While Renn says you can fill them with anything—including peanut butter and jelly—he claims there’s nothing better in a juicy Lucy than bacon, barbecue sauce and cheese.
1½ lbs. ground beef
4 slices cheddar cheese
5 pieces thick-sliced bacon, finely chopped
¾ cup barbecue sauce
10 frozen onion rings
4 sesame buns
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees to bake onion rings. The Gold Nugget preferred brand is Brew City.
Divide beef into four balls of about 6 oz. each. Split each ball in half and form into thin patties. Cut each slice of cheddar cheese into four equal pieces. Stack the pieces and place in the center of four of the patties. Mix barbecue sauce with the bacon pieces and place in the center of the patties with the cheese. Sandwich the two patties together, tightly pinching the edges. Be careful not to rip or tear, and make sure all holes are sealed. Season with salt and pepper.
At the same time you throw your juicy Lucy on the grill, bake the onion rings on a baking sheet in the oven. Flip the burger; season other side. Depending on the heat of your grill, cook two minutes per side for pink and five minutes per side for no pink. Take your patties off the grill and place directly on the bun. Top each patty with a crisp onion ring.
Tips for great burgers from chef Eli Renn
- Handle the meat as little as possible.
- The best seasoning is always salt and pepper.
- Use real charcoal.
With 65 years of history under their belt, the staff at Wayzata Bar & Grill knows how to fire it up for a good steak. Gina Holman, director of liquor operations and certified sommelier, reminds you not to forget pairing your grill fare with the perfect tasty brew. Holman recommends India pale ale, commonly known as IPA.
“IPAs work particularly well with a spicier preparation, such as this rib-eye,” Holman says. “An IPA is an excellent pairing because of the interplay of bitterness with the sweet and savory spice rub. This meal is the perfect way to kick off the summer.” Holman suggests Summit Sága IPA or Founder’s Centennial IPA, both of which can be found at Wayzata Wine & Spirits.
Sweet and savory rubbed rib-eye with grilled vegetables
4 rib-eye steaks
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch wide strips
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1½ tsp. oil
For the spice rub:
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. marjoram
¼ tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. instant espresso
In a small bowl, stir together all spice rub ingredients, then pulse in a small food processor to blend. To prep the rib-eye steaks for grilling, remove from packaging; do not pat dry. Rub both sides of each rib-eye with about a tablespoon of the spice rub, coating evenly. Set aside.
In a shallow glass dish, add red bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash and red onion, and toss with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill rib-eye steaks directly on greased grill grate to desired temperature.
Place vegetables in a grill pan; grill directly over medium heat for 10–15 minutes, turning occasionally through grilling time, until vegetables are tender. Serve with baked potatoes and a glass of your favorite IPA.
Where to Go
Don’t want to stay in your own backyard? Take your picnic on the road to enjoy these parks, all of which offer barbecue grills. Make sure you check with the proper municipality for booking information before showing up with charcoal in hand.
301 Second St. N., Hopkins
101 17th Ave. S., Hopkins
Deephaven Main Beach
19405 Lake Ave., Deephaven
Lake Minnetonka Islands
Grills aren’t provided but they are allowed on Wawatasso Island, Wild Goose Chase Island and Big Island. Please pack out your own trash
Lone Lake Park
5624 Shady Oak Rd., Minnetonka
Mound Bay Park Beach
Bartlett Boulevard, Mound
Shady Oak Park
5200 Shady Oak Rd., Minnetonka
801 Seventh Ave. S., Hopkins
300 W. Point Rd., Tonka Bay
Wilshire Boulevard, Mound