Labor Day Camping Cookout Recipes


Julie Chickery

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Julie and her husband Sean started traveling in their RV full-time 4 years ago after they each served 20 years in the US Air Force. Having lived in more than 10 states and 4 countries, the Chickerys decided it was time to enjoy the rest of the United States. They manage Chickery’s Travels, an educational and inspirational blog and YouTube channel aimed at helping people realize their full-time travel dreams.

Nothing says Labor Day like taking one last camping trip before school starts and enjoying a terrific cookout. This year you can wow your family and friends with these easy, yet flavorful take on traditional favorites.

To make things easier at the campsite, there are notes in each recipe for things that can be prepared before leaving home to make meal prep simpler at the campground.

Chicken Kabobs

Chicken kabobs on a charcoal grill.
Image by Evan Wise from Unsplash

Chicken is one of the easiest things to grill at the campground and these kabobs cook quickly and evenly. Just a little marinade you can prepare in advance is all that is needed to make them a hit with the whole family.


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 zucchini cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed


Before you leave home:

  1. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic, and dried herbs, and season generously with salt and pepper. Reserve ¼ cup in a small container.
  2. Add chicken to the bowl and toss to combine. Store in a plastic container or large zip lock bags.
  3. Pack the chicken and small container of the extra marinade in your RV refrigerator.

At the campground:

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Thread the chicken and vegetables onto the skewers.
  3. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Baste with reserved marinade as needed.
  5. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with this terrific pesto pasta salad.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad served on a white plate.
Image by Eaters Collective from Unsplash

This pasta salad includes fresh mozzarella cheese, black olives, and sun-dried tomatoes tossed with fresh basil pesto to create the perfect side dish. You can even make it the main dish by adding shrimp or cubed salami.


  • 12 ounces bowtie pasta
  • 1 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and cut in half


This entire recipe can be prepared before you leave home.

  • Boil the pasta in salted water according to package directions.
  • Drain the pasta and cool in with water.
  • Place the pasta in a large bowl along with the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and olives.
  • Pour the pesto over the top and toss to coat evenly.

Southwest Burger

Southwest cheeseburger
Image by Louis Hansel from Unsplash

Hamburgers are an iconic staple of the holiday cookout. Spice up your traditional burger with cumin and jalapenos to create a sensational Southwest spin. Top with slices of fresh avocado and serve with the Sweet & Spicy Pasta Salad below.


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 to teaspoon chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon (or lime)
  • Tomato, sliced
  • 4 hamburger buns


Before you leave home:

  1. Combine ground chuck, salt, and pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add chopped onion, jalapenos, and cumin.
  3. Shape the mixture into four patties, each 3/4-inch thick in the center and at the edges. Store in a plastic container or zip lock baggies.
  4. Slice tomatoes and store in an airtight container or zip lock baggies.

Note: If the kids won’t like the extra spice, make a few using step 1 only.

At the campground:

  1. Place the patties on the grill. Grill for 7 to 10 minutes per side, turning once.
  2. Slice the avocado and drizzle with a bit of lime (or lemon) juice.
  3. Remove the burgers from the grill.
  4. Serve with tomato and slices of ripe avocado.

Sweet & Spicy Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is packed with flavor! It is the perfect complement to Southwest burgers.


  • 1 pound ditalini pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sliced drained banana peppers
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced.
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • Sweet & Spicy Vinaigrette, recipe follows

Sweet & Spicy Sauce

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


This entire dish can be prepared at home.

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the package instructions.
  2. Drain, cool with water, and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, prepare the sauce by mixing the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  4. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Garlic Herb Grilled Potatoes

These potatoes are even better than French fries. No oil is required, and the foil packet makes clean up a breeze. Cooking them on the grill or the oven will give them just the right amount of crispness.


  • 2 lbs large Yukon Gold or other yellow-fleshed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs (parsley, chives, rosemary, and oregano)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon wedge


Before you leave home:

  1. Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick slices and cook in a large pot of well-salted boiling water 10 minutes (potatoes will not be cooked through).
  2. Meanwhile, stir together herbs, garlic, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Combine potatoes and herbs in a large bowl.
  4. Arrange the potatoes on a large piece of foil and fold the edges to make a packet.

At the campground:

  1. Place the packets on the grill and cover. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  2. Take off the grill and serve.
  3. No room on the grill? No worries. The potato packets can also be prepared in the oven at 425F for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Grilled Salmon

Grilled salmon fillets
Image by Alice Pasqual from Unsplash

Grilled salmon is perfect for a family cookout. It is easy, fast, and flavorful. Serve this with the rainbow coleslaw.


  • 4 skin-on* salmon fillets about 1-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Note: It is important to buy the fillets with the skin on to act as a buffer between the grill and tender fish while cooking.


  1. Coat the flesh side of the salmon fillets with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill the skin side down for about 6-8 minutes or until the fish lightens in color. You should be able to lift the fillets off the grill without them sticking.
  3. Flip the salmon and cook for just another 2-4 minutes.
  4. Remove the salmon skin from the salmon fillets.
  5. Serve with lime wedges.

Rainbow Coleslaw

Made without mayonnaise, this coleslaw is perfect for hot summer days. While you can prepare it ahead of time, I suggest you don’t mix the sauce and cabbage until just before serving.


  • 1/4 medium green cabbage shredded
  • 1/4 medium red cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 6 scallions chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey


Before you leave home:

  1. Chop cabbage, cilantro, and scallions.
  2. Shred carrots.
  3. Combine juices, vinegar, olive oil, and honey. Store in an airtight container.

At the campground:

  1. Toss all ingredients and serve.

Hopefully, these recipes will help you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

What are you doing for Labor Day? Leave a comment below.

Labor Day Camping Cookout Recipes

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