Wallet Hub said that 102 million Americans had a cookout last Labor Day weekend. With COVID-19 limiting some travel plans this year, I imagine even more people will be staying at home or heading to a park and tossing something on the grill at some point over the three-day weekend holiday. Everybody loves burgers and hot dogs, but how about stepping up your grilling game with some of these options available around Billings?

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Lobster Tails - Billings Seafood Guys. Known for their delivery and subscription service, you can also find Billings Seafood Guys at their storefront at 3201 Hesper Rd #1. Grilled lobster tails are delicious, but they also have scallops, jumbo shrimp, fish, crab and more. Don't be afraid to experiment with seafood on the BBQ. Remember to make some clarified butter. Billings Seafood Guys is hosting a mini farmers' market event every Saturday morning at their parking lot.

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Locally Produced Bratwurst - Laurel IGA. Those packages of pre-cooked "brats" from the big pork companies simply don't compare to a fresh, locally produced, handmade, sausage bratwurst. IGA in Laurel makes a variety of flavors in-house, like jalapeno cheddar, beer brat and traditional. I've tried them all and they are fantastic. You'll definitely need over-sized buns, because these brats are big.

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Plank Salmon - Seafoods of the World. Looking for the same quality seafood that many of our local restaurants use? Look no further than Seafoods of the World, located at 5800 Interstate Avenue. They're open Mon - Friday 10:30 to 5 PM and Saturdays 10 to 3. They're a wholesaler, but offer the same products to the general public at their warehouse storefront. The store also carries the cedar planks for cooking.

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Prime Rib - Ranch House Meat Company. It doesn't get any easier to support Montana meat producers than Ranch House Meat Company, at 3203 Henesta Drive (the former Sweetheart Bread outlet). A slow-roasted prime rib on the grill sounds fantastic for Labor Day weekend. Use any left-overs for sandwiches next week when you head back to work. Ranch House is open Mon - Friday 9 AM to 6 PM and Saturdays 9 to 4. Check them out for locally sourced beef and pork as well as sausages, award-winning jerky and more.

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Beer Can Chicken - Hutterite Colony. Beer can chicken is a super easy way to cook a whole chicken on your grill, and it almost always turns out moist and delicious. Depending on the size of your BBQ, you should be able to fit at least two of the birds-on-cans inside. Kitchen stores sometimes have a little wire rack gadget that helps prevent the birds (and beer can) from falling over. The Hutterites normally have a large booth at the Famers' Market, happening Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm at Emmanuel Babtist Church at 329 South Shiloh Road.

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Roasted Zucchini - Farmers' Market. While you're at the Farmers' Market, you may as well pick up some veggies to toss on the grill. It's zucchini season and sliced, seasoned, grill-roasted zucchini is so good, even my picky eaters love it. Grilled sweetcorn is pretty awesome too. Soak the corn (husks on) in a bucket of water before tossing them directly on the grill and they'll steam-cook to perfection. The silk falls right off when you shuck the grilled corn.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

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