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The Perfect Memorial Day Menu, Hot off your Traeger

Posted by sbulloch on May 23, 2013

The Perfect Memorial Day Menu, Hot off your Traeger

Here at Traeger we love any excuse to fire up the Traeger for a crowd, but on Memorial Day it is an honor to celebrate those Veterans who have given everything. After your visit to the cemetary, a Memorial Day cook-out is the perfect way to kickstart summer. With Traeger's perfect Memorial Day menu you can start things off with a bang. Keep things simple and casual with e-mailed invitations. Set up blankets on the lawn and let the food set the stage for a perfect evening with loved ones. 


By Nancy Loseke


A quick bath in a lemony brine not only whitens shrimp, but gives it a snappier pop when you bite into it. Sublime when coupled with the spice and fattiness of a pork sausage coin. We think of it as an appetizer—these fly off the plate at parties—but it could easily satisfy two people as part of a light dinner.

Difficulty: 2/5 
Prep time: 10 minutes plus 15 minutes for brining the shrimp
Cook time: 6 to 8 minutes
Makes 12 pieces; serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a light dinner
Pellet recommendation: Maple or Apple

2 cups cold water
1/4 cup salt
1 lemon, sliced into 6 wedges
12 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave tail on)
Traeger Salmon Shake, or your favorite barbecue rub
2 to 3 fully cooked pork sausages, such as brats, about an inch in diameter, sliced crosswise into 12 1/2-inch pieces
Traeger Regular BBQ Sauce, or your favorite barbecue sauce, for serving

Make the brine: In a mixing bowl, combine the water and salt and stir until the salt crystals dissolve. Squeeze three of the lemon wedges to release their juice, and add the juice and the wedges themselves to the brine. Add the shrimp to the brine. After 15 minutes—no longer or the shrimp will become too salty—drain the shrimp and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry on paper towels. (Discard the brine.)

Lay a piece of sausage flat on your work surface and curl a shrimp around it. (Imagine the shrimp and sausage are spooning!) Run the point of a short bamboo skewer through the shrimp, just above the tail, then pass it through the sausage, and finally, through the top of the shrimp. Repeat with the remaining shrimp and sausage.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes. Arrange the shrimp skewers directly on the grill grate and grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once, until the sausage is sizzling and the shrimp have turned pink and opaque. Serve immediately with the remaining lemon wedges and the barbecue sauce.


As noted below, the term “London Broil” can refer to several different cuts of meat of varying thicknesses, so grilling times are not exact. (Originally, flank steak was used.) The Blue Cheese Butter adds flavor as well as fat to a cut that is traditionally quite lean. The butter also goes well on baked potatoes or grilled garlic toast.

Difficulty: 3/5 
Prep time: 15 minutes active time plus 6 hours for marinating the meat
Cook time: About 1 hour, 20 minutes
Serves: 4 

Pellet recommendation: Hickory

For the Blue Cheese Butter:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 scallion (green onion), trimmed, white and green parts finely minced
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, or more to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
Freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade and meat:
1/4 cup soy sauce 
1/4 cup water
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ketchup or commercial steak sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 pounds “London Broil”, about 1-1/4 inches thick (see Note below)
Traeger Beef Rub, or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the Blue Cheese Butter: In a small mixing bowl, combine the butter, scallion, blue cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper and beat with a wooden spoon. Cover and refrigerate if not using soon. (The butter can be made 2 to 3 days ahead, or even frozen for 3 months.)

Make the marinade: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, oil, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and sugar. Put the meat in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it. Refrigerate the meat for at least 6 hours, or even overnight. When ready to cook, let the meat come to room temperature. Drain it, discarding the marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Season with the Traeger Beef Rub.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Lay the steak directly on the grill grate and smoke for 1 hour. Transfer the meat to a platter. Increase the temperature of the grill to 400 degrees and preheat for 10 to 15 minutes. Return the meat to the grill grate and grill until the internal temperature in the thickest part is 130 degrees F when read on an instant-read meat thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. Let the meat rest for 3 minutes, then thinly slice on a diagonal. Serve with the Blue Cheese Butter.

**Note: The term “London Broil” can apply to several different cuts of beef, from flank steak to round steak to sirloin.



The season’s first ears of local sweet corn, often sold off the tailgate of a pick-up truck or at a serve yourself (“we trust you to pay”) farm stand, are always eaten straight off the cob with a Mason jar of melted butter and salt and pepper. But once the edge is off our sweet corn craving, this homey corn casserole is what we want. The subtle smokiness it picks up from the Traeger takes it over the top. (Sorry, Grandma.) If you don’t have access to fresh sweet corn, frozen corn is the next best thing.

Difficulty: 2/5
Prep time: 15 minutes 

Cook time: 50 to 60 minutes
Serves: 8
Pellet recommendation: Pecan

Nonstick cooking spray
6 tablespoons butter, plus more if needed 
25 saltine crackers or butter crackers (such as Ritz), coarsely broken
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups fresh corn kernels cut off 6 to 7 ears, or substitute 4 cups frozen corn
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups cream or half-and-half 
1 teaspoon Tabasco® sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder (such as Colman’s)
1 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded Swiss or Colby cheese, divided use
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Spray a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Put the crackers in a blender jar and process until you have medium-size crumbs. (Do not turn the crackers to dust.) Pour in about half of the melted butter and pulse a few times until the crackers are coated and clumpy. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Do not wash out the blender jar.

Return the skillet to the heat, adding 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of butter if desired. Sauté the onion and bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the pepper softens. Add half the corn kernels and the garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. In the meantime, put the remaining 2 cups of corn, the eggs, cream, Tabasco® sauce, mustard powder, salt, and pepper in the blender jar and blend for 15 to 20 seconds. Add 1-1/2 cups of cheese and pulse 2 or 3 times to combine. Pour into the cooled vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Tip into the prepared baking dish. Top evenly with the reserved cracker crumb mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes. Arrange the baking dish on the grill grate and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the casserole is firm and the topping is golden brown. Let cool for several minutes. Before serving, gsarnish with chopped parsley, if desired.



Why pay more than $20 for a store-bought cake when you can make your own? This is one of those cakes that never goes out of fashion and that benefits from the hint of smoke it picks up from the Traeger. For a professional look, sprinkle the top of the iced cake with chopped pecans or walnuts before serving.

Difficulty: 3/5 
Prep time: 25 minutes 

Cook time: About 30 to 35 minutes 

Serves: 8 to 10
Pellet recommendation: Apple or Pecan

For the cake:
2-1/2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 
3/4 cup white wine or apple juice 
1/2 cup solid shortening (Crisco)
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
For the frosting:
8 ounces softened cream cheese
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1-pound package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 to 4 tablespoons milk or cream, or more if needed

Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. With a pencil, draw two 9-inch circles on waxed paper and cut them out. (Just draw around the bottom of the pans.) Put one wax paper circle in the bottom of each cake pan. Start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice in a mixing bowl and run the mixer on the slowest speed to combine. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a hand-held one, or mix the batter by hand with a wooden spoon.) Add the wine, shortening, molasses, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the milk and eggs and beat 2 minutes more.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Arrange the pans directly on the grill grate and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean. Rotate the pans 180 degrees halfway through the baking time. Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then carefully tip the cakes onto wire cooling racks.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together. Gradually beat in the milk until a good spreading consistency is reached. Frost the flat side of one cake. Put the other cake on top of it, flat side down. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Cut into wedges to serve.