What are your plans for Labor Day?

If you’re looking for barbecue, the Signal Mountain Lions Club will be serving it up.

Or how does a gourmet hot dog sound? Main Street Meats can accommodate that request, along with gourmet burgers or their specialty spare ribs, depending on your preference.

Finally, you might be surprised by how much the food, drinks and supplies for a 10-person gathering are projected to cost this year.

Here are three things to know as we head into the holiday.


Labor Day food costs

If you’re planning a Labor Day cookout, get your wallet out. Tennessee is ranked among the Top 5 most expensive states for a backyard barbecue, according to a new survey by SimpleThriftyLiving.com. Alabama is No. 10 and Georgia lands in the lower third at No. 38.

Researchers crunched the numbers at Walmart stores across the U.S., comparing costs for the items in quantities that would accommodate a 10-person party, considered small enough to maintain 6 feet of social distancing during the COVID-19 era. To get the full cookout experience, researchers included cheeseburgers, hot dogs, sides, beverages and paper supplies, said Tina Irizarry, content marketing manager for Go Fish Digital, an internet marketing agency.

In Tennessee, costs averaged out to $112.51. In Alabama: $109.38. In Georgia: $104.52.

Walmarts in up to 10 ZIP codes in each state — in urban and rural areas — were surveyed. The numbers reflect shelf prices, with no taxes or fees. The cost of cooking and other preparation also is not included.

Researchers found that the food, beverage and supply costs of a backyard barbecue can vary quite a bit from state to state. Substantially higher meat, produce, fruit and beer prices were the culprits for a higher overall bill in the five top states: Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Tennessee and South Dakota.

Total costs ranged from a low of $99.03 in South Carolina to a high of $137.74 in Alaska, where a 24-pack of domestic beer will set you back $31.21.

Alabama made the Top 10 list of most expensive states due in part to the rising cost of ground beef there, according to survey data — from $4.68 to $6.47 between 2019 and 2020, a 38{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} increase.

Ground beef prices jumped 29.5{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} in Tennessee and 27.7{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} in Georgia in that time period. (The highest jump was 62.7{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} in Alaska.)

See the complete charts at simplethriftyliving.com/backyard-bbq-cost.


Five most expensive states for a backyard barbecue

› Alaska ($137.74)

› Hawaii ($131.46)

› Wyoming ($115.46)

› Tennessee ($112.51)

› South Dakota ($110.48)

Five least expensive states for a backyard barbecue

› South Carolina ($99.03)

› Illinois ($100.19)

› Utah ($102.28)

› Michigan ($102.29)

› Virginia ($102.87)

Source: SimpleThriftyLiving.com



Lions Club barbecue

The Signal Mountain Lions Club will continue its annual Labor Day barbecue, but with the same drive-thru restrictions that marked the Fourth of July event.

Member Gary Lowder says the cooks will have extra barbecue available for anyone who shows up in line between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday, but to assure there’s plenty, they’re requesting advance orders on the club’s website, smtnlions.org.

Barbecue costs $12 a pound, and sides of baked beans and slaw are $4 per container.

Lowder says the holiday barbecues raise funds for the club, but the events are “really more of a community-service project. It’s always been an opportunity to come together and have a sandwich and listen to music.”

COVID-19 has denied them the chance for camaraderie, except for whatever small talk is possible while passing the food into waiting vehicles.

“We’ll be there in masks and gloves sending them through the drive-thru,” Lowder says.

The primary fundraiser for the year is a car raffle, with a winner determined when the barbecue ends. You can buy tickets for the raffle online too, or you can pull aside when you go through the line for your barbecue.

For $50, ticketholders have a chance at a Nissan Versa from the Mountain View Group or $13,000 cash. Other prizes include a home air-conditioning package from Superior Air Systems, valued at $4,400, and dozens of secondary prizes, valued around $50, mostly from Signal Mountain merchants.

Lowder says all proceeds from the raffle support club causes ranging from college scholarships to disaster relief.

The drive-thru will be set up at Althaus Park, 809 James Blvd.

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Staff file photo by C.B. Schmelter / The Signal Mountain Lions Club will prepare barbecue plates as usual, but this year’s pickup will be drive-thru only.



Main Street Meats packages

Among the restaurants offering Labor Day deals is Main Street Meats, 217 E. Main St. Meant for at-home gatherings, there are three packages available, each designed to feed four people.

Choose among:

* Smoked ribs, which come with two slabs of pork spare ribs and the signature barbecue sauce ($89).

* Burger pack, with four locally sourced beef burger patties with Niedlov’s buns, Main Street Meats bacon, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, house pickles, Dijon mustard and mayonnaise ($89).

* Hot dog pack with four locally sourced beef hot dogs with Niedlov’s buns, chow-chow and beer mustard ($69).

All packages also include macaroni and cheese, cold potato salad, broccoli salad and a half-dozen buttermilk sugar cookies. Additional meat, sides, and desserts are also available.

Packages may be ordered online, over the phone at 423-602-9568 or in person. You can order as late as noon on Sunday for pickup by 9 p.m. Main Street Meats will be closed on Labor Day.

Find out more at http://www.mainstreetmeatschatt.com/menu.

Email Lisa Denton at [email protected]

Shopping list

Cheeseburger items:

85{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} lean/15{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} fat ground beef (3 pounds)

Great Value hamburger buns (2 packs)

Kraft Singles American slices

Heinz tomato ketchup

French’s classic yellow mustard

Hellmann’s mayonnaise

Sweet onion

Tomatoes on the vine

Iceberg lettuce

Vlasic ovals hamburger dill chips pickles

Hot dog items:

Ball Park beef hot dogs

Ball Park hot dog buns (2 packs)

Beverage items:

Bud Light beer, 24-pack cans

White Claw seltzer variety pack, 12-pack cans

Coca-Cola soft drink, 12-pack cans

Side items:

Seedless watermelon

Fresh corn on the cob (x10)

Bush’s original baked beans (x3)

Popsicles: orange, cherry, grape

Paper/plastic items:

Great Value everyday paper plates

Dizzy Dots paper beverage napkins

Great Value premium assorted clear cutlery

Source: SimpleThriftyLiving.com