We encircle ourselves with the friendship of our neighbors, especially during the Labor Day weekend. Opening our home for a brisket cook-off is both fun and rewarding. A day of camaraderie, food and fellowship that we all look forward to each year. There are rules for the competition, but everyone embraces the spirit in which we intend the outcome, a reason to get together.

This event grows annually and is now in its eighth year. We have anywhere between 60-100 guests and 6-15 contestants. Planning a get-together of this size is a little daunting but gets easier the more times we host it. The more details I can handle ahead of time, the smoother it will go. I have wonderful neighbors that bring outstanding food and desserts to this party, so I have a lot of help. The only thing left to chance is who will win the blue ribbon this year!

My favorite part of any event is the sweets table. I love baking them, not eating them (go figure that one out). Our Labor Day party gives me a large platform to highlight my skills and gives me an audience for my wares. For a party of this size, I will set up a sweets table by itself. Cake stands, cake plates and cupcake stands of varying heights can all be arranged on this table ahead of time. I am a big proponent of using your nice pieces on this table to showcase all the wonderful desserts. (Pictured below Arthur Court footed plate)



The next table to organize is the winning meat table. I like to elevate the top 3 briskets so that my guests can sample the winning meat(s).  I use place holders from Amazon to mark the winners I reuse the place holders every year.  This is a fun way to involve all the cooks in your presentation. Everyone will want to get a piece of number one! Marking number one will save you many questions and will keep the line moving. You will need to make sure the flow of traffic makes sense – you don’t want a bottleneck.

Lastly, side dishes will go in a separate location. This table always looks like a free-for-all to me. It is very hard to make a potluck look “fancy.” The best prep you can do for this table is a tablecloth and trivets. I like to use vinyl tablecloths This is a 3-pack, and you can put them on all the tables to bring cohesiveness to your party. Red works well for Labor Day.

This year I am made cupcakes and fudge for dessert. I also made a few other things as sides. Cooking is fun for me as I mentioned in a previous blog post. Each of our guests will bring a side or dessert to contribute to the bounty of delicious food and there will be plenty of brisket for everyone.  No one leaves Snyder Manor hungry on Labor Day!

Here is a menu to the recipes I made:

Easy Foolproof Fudge
Cupcakes with buttercream frosting
Elote using Trader Joes Everything but the Elote seasoning
Adult Mac-n-Cheese


You will need some specialty items for the above listed recipes. TruffleHunter White Truffle Oil,  Trader Joes Everything but the Elote, Wilton Meringue Powder  Living in the country has its disadvantages but I love that Amazon has and will deliver almost anything.

Adult Mac-n-Cheese




The party was a success! Our 3 impartial judges crowned “Cody” a winner for his delicious brisket. It does my heart good to see my house, lanai, carport and lawn filled with happy people. What a fun party, if I do say so myself! This girl earned her adult beverage today. I will end with a bit of advice.  Use your fancy dishes or serving pieces! I am a firm believer in breaking out your good serving dishes for any party. You don’t know how many more chances you will have to use that piece – SO USE IT. Labor Day is a Blessing, embrace it.





Be the reason someone smiles today! XOX♥