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Food & Recipes

Kick Your Barbecue Up a Notch With Emeril’s Best-Ever Cookout Menu

Wow your crowd with one of these BAM-worthy favorites for Father's Day!


Father’s Day is on Sunday, which means you’ll probably spend the week shopping for gifts and planning the perfect day for dad. But the day just isn’t complete without a mouthwatering meal that brings the whole family to the table. That’s why we asked celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, star of Emeril Cooks on Roku, to share his best summer cookout menu — including his quick tips, flavor-boosting tricks and most mouthwatering recipes for a family BBQ feast. “On Father’s Day, I love cooking for my four kids, cooking for my own dad, who’s 91,” he smiles. “Sharing the family table goes a long way!” Here, how to make Emeril’s smoky hot dogs, saucy spareribs, cheese-stuffed burgers, spicy-sweet chicken and grilled flank steak to wow your crowd on Father’s Day…and all summer long.

Emeril’s Ultimate Hot Dog Bar

Cookout Menu Image_Emeril’s Ultimate Hot Dog Bar
Courtesy of The Emeril Group

Emeril’s DIY hot dog bar features an array of toppings, including spicy cheese sauce, diced onion, and sliced lettuce. This allows for guests to get creative with how they dress up their grilled hot dog. Emeril’s top tip: Use a seasoning, like Emeril’s Original Essence (Buy from Amazon, $6.89), when making the cheese sauce. “It’s an all-purpose seasoning, so it really gives a little sense of depth while you use it and cook with it,” he notes.


Jalapeno Cheese Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Emeril’s Original Essence
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Colby cheese
  • ¾ cup jalapeño slices, drained, chopped

Hot Dogs:

  • 8 all beef hot dogs
  • 8 hot dog buns
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Toppings (optional):

  • Diced onion
  • Sauerkraut
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Relish
  • Hot sauce
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced iceberg lettuce
  • Chili


  • Active: 40 mins
  • Total time:  40 mins + grill prep
  • Yield: 8 servings 
  1. Jalapeño Cheese Sauce: In medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Season with salt and Emeril’s Original Essence. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes; slowly whisk in milk. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat back of spoon, about 20 minutes. Add cheese and jalapeño; whisk until melted. Remove from heat; transfer to bowl. Serve warm (sauce can be covered and chilled for up to 2 days, then reheated on low, with a little liquid added if needed).
  2. Hot Dogs: Prepare well-oiled grill for medium-high direct- heat cooking. Grill hot dogs, covered, until marked on all sides and heated through, 4 to 5 minutes, or until desired doneness. Remove from grill; keep warm.
  3. Brush cut sides of hot dog buns lightly with olive oil. Place, cut side down, on grill and cook until lightly toasted. Serve buns with hot dogs and cheese sauce. If desired, transfer toppings to bowls and serve with hot dogs.

Ridiculously Tender Spareribs

Cookout Menu Image_Ridiculously Tender Spareribs
Courtesy of The Emeril Group

Although these spareribs cook low and slow on the grill, it’s worth the wait as it produces moist and tender meat. Emeril’s pro tip: Trim the silver skin (connective tissue on the back of the ribs) using a sharp paring knife before cooking the meat. “People think that maybe the best way to do it is boiling them first, and I don’t really necessarily agree with that,” he says. “I try to use a little sharp paring knife to try to just trim as much of it as I can without damaging the ribs.”


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups ketchup 
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Kansas City–Style Rib Rub (see recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke 
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 (4-pound) slabs pork spareribs, silver skin removed

Kansas City–Style Rib Rub:

  1. In bowl, combine 6 ½ tablespoons kosher salt, ⅓ cup light brown sugar, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup paprika, 2 tablespoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon mustard powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Use to make BBQ sauce and on ribs.
  2. Note: Store any unused rub in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 6 weeks.


  • Active: 40 mins
  • Total time:  5 hrs + grill prep
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 
  1. In pot over medium-high heat, add oil. Once hot, add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add vinegar; cook until reduced by half, about 1 min. Add next 10 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook until thickened and flavors blend, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool. Reserve for glazing ribs.
  2. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; set rack on top. Arrange ribs on rack. Coat ribs on both sides generously with rib rub (about ⅓ cup each), rubbing seasonings into meat. Chill up to 2 hours.
  3. Prepare grill for low-heat cooking (300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit). Pour 1 ½ cups water onto baking sheet with ribs. Wrap baking sheet (with rack and ribs) tightly with heavy duty foil. Grill, covered, until fork-tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Unwrap; brush with BBQ Sauce. Grill, covered, until sauce sets, 15 to 20 minutes. If desired, serve with additional sauce.

Kicked Up Blue Cheese Stuffed Hamburgers

Cookout Menu Image_Kicked Up Blue Cheese Stuffed Hamburgers
Courtesy of The Emeril Group

For a classic burger with a twist, try these blue-cheese burgers. The juicy meat pairs well with the cheese’s earthy taste. Emeril’s top tip: Stuff the burgers with other kinds of cheese if you’re not a fan of blue cheese. “You could use Feta, or goat cheese, you could use Havarti…I even use Brie. Brie’s an excellent cheese to stuff the burger with,” he suggests.


  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 tablespon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, such as Emeril’s
  • 8 ounces blue cheese
  • 4 large whole-wheat buns, split in half
  • Optional: Diced tomatoes, romaine, sliced onions, and green peppercorn mayonnaise


  • Active: 30 mins
  • Total time: 30 mins + grill prep
  • Yield: 4 servings 
  1. Prepare grill for medium-high direct- heat cooking. In bowl, gently mix
    beef, garlic, salt, pepper and seasoning. Divide into 8 equal patties.
  2. In separate bowl, crumble cheese and form into 4 equal patties. Place one cheese patty on each of 4 beef patties. Top with remaining beef patties, pinching edges to seal. Grill patties, flipping once, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare or to desired doneness. Place buns on grill, cut side down; cook until warmed through, about 30 seconds. Place patties in buns. Garnish as desired.
  3. Note: Instead of grilling the patties, Emeril says you can cook them in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat until they reach your desired level of doneness.

Spiced Honey Barbecue Chicken

Cookout Menu Image_Spiced Honey Barbecue Chicken
Courtesy of The Emeril Group

These tender chicken wings are marinated in a sweet and savory marinade that doubles as the meat’s glaze — a win-win. Emeril’s top tip: When reducing the marinade into a glaze, use a nonstick pot so the mixture doesn’t cling to the surface. “My comfort zone with cookware is nonstick, really good nonstick that you can take care of and don’t even have to put them in the dishwasher,” he explains. “Although they are dishwasher-safe, just hand-wash them with hot soapy water, rinse them out good and they will last you a long time.”


  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ¾ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 12 skin-on drumettes or chicken thighs (about 3 ½ pounds)


  • Active: 50 mins
  • Total time: 7 hrs + grill prep
  • Yield: 6 servings 
  1. In large bowl, stir together first 10 ingredients. Place chicken in large plastic food- storage bag; add marinade. Toss to combine; Chill, turning frequently, at least 6 hrs.
  2. Prepare grill for medium direct-heat cooking. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove chicken from marinade; reserve marinade. Pat chicken dry. Grill, skin side up, until browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in pot over medium-high heat, bring reserved marinade to a boil. Lower heat to medium; cook until slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Flip chicken; grill until skin is crispy, 5 minutes. Transfer chicken, skin side up, to roasting pan; roast, basting with marinade occasionally, until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Arrange chicken on platter; spoon remaining marinade over.

Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Scallions

Cookout Menu Image_Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Scallions
Courtesy of The Emeril Group

Steak is a hearty addition to your cookout menu, and this recipe infuses flank steak with fresh lime juice and garlic for a zingy and pungent flavor. Emeril’s pro tip: Once rested, slice the steak against the grain for perfectly juicy results. “I’d say you have to have a good knife [for slicing any meat against the grain],” he says. 


  • 1 ½ pounds flank steak 
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice 
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon table salt + kosher salt, for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions + 2 bunches, trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Cilantro sprigs and lime wedges


  • Active: 30 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr, 15 mins + grill prep
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. In food-storage bag, mix steak, 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, 2 tablespoons lime juice, cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and chopped scallions. Marinate at room temperature 45 minutes, turning occasionally (or chill overnight).
  2. Prepare grill for medium-high direct-heat cooking. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Grill steak 2 ½ minutes; rotate on same side 45 degrees. Grill
    2 ½ minutes. Flip steak; grill 5 minutes, rotating 45 degrees after 2 ½ minutes. Transfer to platter; tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes.
  3. Toss scallions with remaining olive oil; sprinkle with kosher salt. Grill 1 ½ to 2 minutes, or until softened. Toss with remaining lime juice. Thinly slice steak against grain; drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Top with scallions. Add cilantro and lime.

Additional reporting and interview by Debora Evans Price

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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