7 Tips for an Unforgettable Memorial Day Cookout in the Ocean State

Support local businesses and wow your guests with Rhody-made products


As Memorial Day weekend approaches, it’s time to fire up the grills, straighten those aprons, and get ready for the ultimate cookout. While preparing for your festive gathering, why not support small businesses and add a unique Ocean State flair to your events? Local vendors have everything you need to impress your guests.

Embrace the Local Flavors

When in Rhode Island, embrace the local tradition and let quahogs take center stage at your cookout. These clams are a beloved state specialty and can be transformed into delicious stuffies. Visit Gardner's Wharf Seafood in North Kingstown, Ocean Pride Seafood in Cranston, or Rhode Island Shellfish Company in West Warwick, just to name a few, to find these delectable breadcrumb, herb, and spicy sausage delights.

Prepare for Unpredictable Weather

Rhode Islanders know that one moment it can sunny and perfect for grilling, and the next it's pouring rain. Stay prepared by keeping an eye on the forecast and have a backup plan ready. Consider setting up a tent or awning from Retractable Solutions Inc. in Johnston so your cookout can continue, rain or shine.

Rhody tip: Don’t forget bug spray and sunscreen! Try the Organic Citronella-Cedar Bug Repellent from FlosDaughterRachael on Etsy to keep bugs away. For sunscreen, consider Block Island Organics for dependable sun protection.

Toast with Local Brews and Wines

No Rhode Island cookout is complete without a selection of local beverages. Enhance your cooler with the timeless Narragansett Lager or the Bohemian Pilsner from Narragansett Brewery. For wine enthusiasts, a bottle of rosé or Chardonnay from Verde Vineyards in Johnston will add a classy touch. Swing by your local brewery or winery for even more refreshing sips.

Set the Perfect Scene

Whether by the ocean or at a local park, Rhode Island's stunning landscapes and coastal charm can elevate your cookout. Enhance the atmosphere with Wave Rectangle Placemats and Iberian Napkins from LouLou's Decor in Newport and Tiverton. Complete the look with Le Cadeaux Moroccan Blue Plates from Homestyle in Providence.

Master the Grill

The grill is the heart of any cookout. For an authentic Rhode Island touch, use hardwood charcoal like Nature's Own Lump Charcoal from Fuel and Flame in Woonsocket, or local hickory wood from Johnston-based Frank’s Firewood or Salisbury Firewood for a perfect smoky flavor.

Sweeten the Deal with Dessert

Finish your cookout with a quintessential Rhode Island treat: Del's Lemonade. This refreshing frozen delight is perfect for cooling down after a hot grilling session. Feeling fancy? Spike it with Lella's Limoncello or Blackstone Gin from White Dog Distilling in Pawtucket for an adult twist. If you want to mix things up, doughboys from Iggy’s in Narragansett and Warwick are a sweet addition. 

Hire a Pro

Overwhelmed by planning and cooking? Leave it to local caterers. Let Blount Fine Foods in Warren handle the clam cakes and chowder. Or, if smoked meats are more your style, entrust the task to Smoke and Squeal BBQ in Woonsocket for classic mouth-watering BBQ fare.


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