Kicking off summer with a Memorial Day barbecue is an American tradition, a ritual initiated by dusting off the grill, shaking out the red and white checkered tablecloth and popping beers into an ice-filled cooler. For the perfect Memorial Day barbecue, check out these simple but tasty recipes and tips for the perfect balance of dishes.

Sweet, salty and fiery at the same time, barbecued chicken is always a crowd-pleaser on Memorial Day, and this easy recipe takes about 40 minutes to both prepare and cook. For a side dish, a fancy-sounding appetizer of cream cheese and bacon stuffed jalapeno poppers is actually fairly simple and fast to make, with preparation and baking requiring about 45 minutes.

Peach cobbler, a must for every summer event, happens to be one of the easiest, fastest dessert recipes out there. Plus, not only is it more or less bombproof, but it also doesn’t have to win any presentation contests. People expect it to be chunky, gooey concoction of peachy goodness.

Done right, potato salad is hearty and flavorful, absorbing whatever the chef decides to throw in. This simple recipe for potato salad is a classic, with zesty mustard and scallions, while this North African recipe has some exciting twists involving cumin and harissa, a spicy paste of ground red pepper.

Corn on the cob is possibly one of the easiest recipes and an ideal side dish that is sure to please your guests. Here’s how to boil ears properly. As a courtesy to diners, you may want consider providing dental floss on the side. Vegetarians will also appreciate this black bean burger, which takes just 20 minutes to make.

And last but not least -- this is last because it’s neither quick nor simple -- are mouthwatering barbecued meats, always a favorite. You can marinate grilled ribs for people eat straight off the bone, or slow cook a pork shoulder – this does take about 15 hours, including a lot of waiting around -- to make into hearty sandwiches.

And, of course, don’t forget to put a few beers in the cooler beforehand.