Labor Day is the unofficial last day of Summer. For many across the country, school starts on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, became a federal holiday in 1894. This long weekend is a great opportunity for one last cookout. Here are a few recipes great for your Labor Day blowout.

Flank Steak is a cut of meat often eaten in Arkansas. It is most often used in Mexican restaurants for steak fajitas. This long flat cut is also known as London Broil. The key to a tender flank steak is to make sure you cut it across the grain. The grain is the direction the muscle fibers run. Look at the steak before you marinade it to determine the direction of the grain.

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

2 pound Flank Steak
1 cup Cooking Sherry or Red Wine
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 tablespoons Salt Free Creole Seasoning
2 tablespoons Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Put the flank steak in a large ziplock plastic bag. Whisk the sherry, soy sauce, brown sugar, Creole Seasoning, garlic, tomato paste, and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the bag and seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours.

Preheat your gas or charcoal grill. Allow the surface to get nice and hot.

Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry. Grill the steak for about 6 minutes on each side for rare. Increase the cook time for other doneness. White it cooks, pour the marinade into a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Cut the steak across the grain into thin diagonal slices, and serve with the sauce on the side.

I love to cook fish on the grill. Fish lends itself to different marinades and sauces. As I say in the recipe, make sure that the grill is hot, hot hot or the fish will stick to the grill. If you want, you can spray the grill with oil before heating to help prevent sticking. Great substitutes for redfish are Catfish, Cod, Grouper and Salmon.

Grilled Redfish with Rosemary Lemon Sauce

2 pounds Redfish
3 Lemons
4 tablespoons fresh Rosemary, coarsely chopped
1/2 tablespoon Salt Free Creole Seasoning
2 teaspoons Cracked Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Garlic, minced
4 cups Cooking White Wine
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Zest the lemons, then juice them. In a large bowl, combine lemon zest and juice with the rosemary, Creole Seasoning, pepper, garlic, wine and olive oil. Mix together and add the fish. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the grill. Allow the cooking service to get nice and hot. This is especially important for fish. If the grill is not hot, hot, hot, the fish will stick and fall apart. If you are using a fish grilling basket, make sure the basket is hot before adding the fish. Grill fish 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill. Heat remaining marinade, simmer for 2 minutes, skim the top and pour over the fish before serving.

Every great meal deserves a great dessert. This parfait is perfect for a cookout. It is made to be assembled then stored in the refrigerator until serving. If you wish, you can substitute the white chocolate for dark or milk chocolate.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Whipped Parfaits

1 cup cold Heavy Whipping Cream
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
3 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons Milk
1 block White Chocolate, grated

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Set aside. Mix cream cheese, cocoa powder, powdered sugar and milk together until fully combined. Reserve enough whipped cream for topping. Add the remaining whipped cream to cream cheese mixture and slowly mix until combined.

Spoon mixture into mini glass serving dishes. Top with whipped cream and grated white chocolate. Refrigerate until serving. For a twist, fresh strawberries or raspberries make a great topping. Put those between the cheesecake mixture and whipped cream.

Although Labor Day is the unofficial end of Summer, the weather is still warm enough for a few months to continue to have a cookout. These recipes are great any time of year.