Spend Less, Eat Better with a Slow-Cooked Labor Day Barbecue

While it was originally created to commemorate America's workers, Labor Day has gained many other meanings over the years: For children, it offers a final taste of freedom before school begins, and for traditional dressers, it's the last day on which one can wear white clothing. But for people who love to cook outdoors, it has another meaning entirely: It symbolizes the end of summer, a warning that the days of lighthearted cookouts are dwindling, soon to be replaced with the cozy warmth of winter stews and Christmas cookies.

Given its role as the herald of the dying days of grilling season, it seems like a shame to commemorate Labor Day with yet another boring barbecue. Mere hot dogs and hamburgers are all well and good for the fourth of July, when two months of summer stretch out in front of us. But by the time Sept. 5 rolls around, you should take the opportunity to build the kind of cookout memories that will keep you warm through the long, cold winter.

So this Monday, instead of settling for the same old cookout fare you've been grilling all summer, why not try something a little more elaborate? A Southern-style pulled pork barbecue like this one on KitchenDaily is not only a great way to bid farewell to the summer; it's also a bit easier on the wallet than the standard hamburger and hot dogs meatfest. Here's how it breaks down (prices courtesy of Fresh Direct for delivery in New York):

Traditional Hot Dog Cookout for 20 People

The price of hot dogs depends a lot on which brand you choose. Generally speaking, however, buying two dogs apiece for 20 people will run you between $23 to $36. Of course, this assumes that you are buying hot dogs from a respectable company that uses beef, pork or chicken meat: If you're willing to expand your definition of "meat," the hot dog price can slip a bit lower, although the cost of an emergency room visit may negate any savings.

Things get a bit cheaper if you go for hamburgers. Again, much depends upon the meat that you use, but five pounds of high-quality burger with a maximum 20% fat -- enough meat to make twenty quarter-pound burgers -- will probably cost at least $18. Regardless of whether you go with hamburgers, hot dogs, or some combination of the two, buns, ketchup, mustard and relish will add about $22 to the total, yielding a basic cookout price of between $40 and $58.

An Old-Fashioned Pulled-Pork Barbecue

Hot dogs and hamburgers generally cost less than whole cuts of meat, but a pork shoulder butt roast -- also known as a "Boston butt" -- can be surprisingly reasonable. Five pounds -- the amount called for in this North Carolina Pulled Pork recipe -- will probably cost under $13. Adding in roughly $5 for the cost of barbecue sauce and $15 for buns, this barbecue will still run a bit less than the traditional cookout.

Of course, there is a bit of a downside: Unlike burgers and dogs, which can be quickly grilled at a moment's notice, a pulled pork barbecue requires a bit of preparation and a few hours of cooking time. Then again, much of the roasting and grilling time is done at low temperature and requires minimal supervision, making it the perfect activity to accompany the slow consumption of beer with friends and neighbors. Best of all, while pulled pork may take a while to make, it is a meal well worth the wait.





Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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Jaybear99

So how do you know when the pork is done?

September 02 2011 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
darinw40@mail.com

Most people can't even to afford to grill..... Like most...i'll just end up putting that money in the gas tank so I can get to work next week..enjoy your BBQ Republicans arseholes

September 02 2011 at 5:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alucky1128f8@aol

SAVE MONEY AND INVITE YOURSELF TO A FRIENDS HOUSE ,WHO IS HAVING PLENTY OF FOOD !!!!!! LOL

September 01 2011 at 9:29 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
savemycountry911

evan keeps switching screen names so he can vote multiple times. The same thing he did in the last presidential election.

September 01 2011 at 9:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
clintnapril2

I am going to BBq two pork butts, which weigh about 15 pounds total, for my little get together. LOW and SLOW for about 12 - 15 hours with my homemade rub. I'll throw wood chips in (CHERRY) every hour for the first 5 hours, and It is going to turn out like BUTTER. SOOOO tender and juicy!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry to be off topic..Clint

September 01 2011 at 8:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to clintnapril2's comment
savemycountry911

YUM

September 01 2011 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
xiaogermaine8

Hay AOL how about some real news. Most people have no jobs and OBAMA and his moslum friends well cared for by this president. How about some difficult questions for the president for a change? Week News Organization.

September 01 2011 at 7:15 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to xiaogermaine8's comment
michelebachmann8

MOSLUM?.........NO IT'S MUSLIM FRIENDS.US TEA PARTY FOLKS HAVE A HARD TIME SPELLING.

September 01 2011 at 8:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to michelebachmann8's comment
savemycountry911

evan, you should stop trying to be funny. It isn't working.

September 01 2011 at 8:39 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
greenleafholding

Is this really "business" news?

September 01 2011 at 3:50 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Nattxn

The best way to save this labor day is to stay home and not pay the oil companies to feed their greed. Gas is up 17 cents on the hurricane which did not cause the oil business any damage an up another 13 cents today on holiday greed, that makes 30 cents all on greed.

September 01 2011 at 12:27 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
michelebachmann8

TEA PARTY FOLKS,......REMEMBER TO KEEP THAT CRAZY LOOK ON YOUR FACE JUST AS I DID FOR NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE.

September 01 2011 at 11:46 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
michelebachmann8

THE REASON I WANT TO CUT THE EPA IS TO LET THE KOCH BROTHERS POLLUTE MORE OF THE AIR WE BREATH.

September 01 2011 at 11:44 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply