With the 4th of July right around the corner, I figured it was time to look for some really great recipes to celebrate the holiday. Anyone can serve burgers and hot dogs for Independence Day, but you want your holiday to be special, right? Sure, you can still serve up these great classics, but adding some homemade barbecue baked beans or the perfect potato salad will really make the meal special. Or you can go all out with some BBQ ribs or chicken. And don’t forget dessert! We’ve added some Star-Spangled sweet treats, too!
These 4th of July grilling recipes are also perfect for any summer picnic or barbecue, so you can use them anytime.
1. Perfect Grilled Baby Back Ribs
The secret to cooking perfect barbecue ribs without a smoker is to cook them in the oven first and then finish them on the grill for that amazing fire-kissed taste that the very best ribs have. This recipe makes fall-off-the-bone ribs that absolutely melt in your mouth and have that perfect sticky quality that we all love from ribs. You just can’t beat it.
2. Balsamic Grilled Chicken With Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze
This is a rather upscale recipe, so it’ll add some real flair to your 4th of July celebration. The glaze is sweet and sticky with a hint of spice. It’s the perfect flavor balance of sweet, salty, tart and spicy. And did I mention it has bacon?
3. Honey Lime Grilled Chicken
The thing about grilled chicken is it is often dry as a bone and flavorless aside from the smoke of the grill, and you have to dip it in something like ketchup or barbecue sauce just to taste it. Well, not with this recipe! It’s sweet and tart, and it comes out perfectly juicy every time.
4. Chunky Portabella Mushroom & Black Bean Veggie Burgers
If you have any vegetarians coming to your picnic, you really ought to have a few options other than salad and grilled corn. Too many times vegetarians show up and are relegated to a sad little plate of rabbit food, and that’s a real shame. Plus, these burgers are delicious enough to satisfy even a finicky meat eater!
5. The Perfect Grilled Steak
I know, I know. Sometimes steak is just the only thing that will do when you’re grilling. There’s just something so amazing about that perfect sear, that juicy interior, that well-darkened fat layer… my stomach is grumbling just thinking about it! This will teach you how to grill the perfect steak every time.
1. Perfect Potato Salad
Potato salad is perhaps the most popular and well-known side dish for barbecues, aside from maybe the standard of potato chips or french fries. There are many recipes out there for potato salad, and they are as individual as you can imagine. Some people hate eggs in their potato salad, while others love them. Some say dill pickles are a must, others prefer sweet relish, and some prefer olives, or even no pickles at all. Some like to add extra ingredients like bacon or sour cream. Everyone has a favorite version.
This recipe is close to the one I make at home, except I add a small amount of finely minced sweet onion (like Vidalia) to the hot potatoes before I add the other ingredients, and then I add some celery salt and paprika to the top for color and flavor. Good stuff!
2. Barbecue Baked Beans
Baked beans are another classic barbecue side dish. The perfect recipe is a blend of sweet and tangy with a smoky flavor that makes them irresistible, and this recipe has it all. If you’re looking for a hearty, flavorful side dish, you absolutely must try this one.
You could also make a vegetarian version if you have a number of vegetarians coming to your meal. Just be sure to get vegetarian beans, because it’s easy to forget the “pork” in pork and beans. Or at least I did once, and that was embarrassing.
3. Fresh Corn Salad
Grilled corn is common at barbecues, but if you want something a little different, this recipe from Ina Garten is exactly what you’re looking for. You get all the flavor of fresh corn, but it’s turned into a light, healthy salad that will leave guests begging for more! Better made a double batch.
4. Tangy Memphis-Style Cole Slaw
People can be rather picky about cole slaw, because everyone has their favorite type. Personally, I usually only eat classic southern slaw, which is basically just cabbage, salt, pepper, mayonnaise and a dash of whole milk. (Which is absolutely delicious on a burger or hot dog, by the way.) I also love the stuff at Captain D’s for some reason. Go figure. Surprisingly, this particular recipe actually has me hooked, despite my affinity for the simple stuff. It’s sweet and tangy, with a little kick from fresh grated onion. Delicious!
5. Grilled Potatoes with Rosemary and Smoked Paprika
The minute I saw this recipe, I KNEW I had to try it. I absolutely love smoked paprika. In fact, I tend to use it probably more than I should. But hey, it tastes amazing! It gives a great smoky flavor even when you aren’t grilling the food, but it really enhances the grill flavor when you do. This recipe results in incredible potatoes that are crispy and smoky and intensely flavorful. Once you try these potatoes, you may never want any other kind!
1. Star-Spangled Pie
After grilling, sometimes you just want to serve a dessert that is quick and easy, but it also needs to taste amazing, right? Well, this recipe from Kellogg’s really fits the bill. It’s creamy and delicious, and it’s got that perfect red-white-and-blue theme. Yum!
2. Red, White & Blue Ombre Cake
This cake is stunningly beautiful, and you won’t believe how easy it is to make! It’s done with packaged frosting and cake mix, so it’s a cinch to make, and people will think you slaved over it. It’s win-win, really.
3. Firecracker Red, White and Blue Cake
This cake from Betty Crocker is made from boxed mix and pre-made frosting that is colored with food coloring. SUPER easy to make, and it looks darned impressive! Give it a try.