These 35 recipes are my favorite for building the perfect cookout menu for the 4th of July. From refreshing beverages to the perfect grilled meats, to iconic desserts, this list of recipes will have you fully prepared for the perfect BBQ party.
Oh my goodness, y'all. The dog days of summer has arrived. I know I say it every time but...this year is going by so fast and the parties are in full swing!
So if you need some inspiration for the best 4th of July side dishes, grilled goodness, and more, I have them for you right here.
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Tips for a Fabulous 4th of July Cookout
Grocery Shop on the Weekdays Ahead of Time
Go grocery shopping on the days no one else will be. The fourth is on a Tuesday this year, so my suggestion is head out the Tuesday-Thursday prior.
I just know Costco, the fireworks shop, and the local grocery stores will be absolutely packed that weekend, then lay ransacked and empty on Monday, July 3rd.
Don't get stuck in there, go early and get what you need before the rush comes through.
Plan Make Ahead Recipes in your Menu
You don't want to be in the kitchen and at the grill through the entire party, right?
Make some or even most of the dishes days before hand, then reheat or serve chilled!
Quite a few dishes and drinks on this list can be made ahead, read their posts to learn more info.
Keep Things Outdoor Friendly
This isn't the time to bring out a glass pitcher for the cocktails or try to serve margaritas and martinis in their respective glasses.
And this isn't the time to let the dang gnats get the food either!
Cover the dishes with mesh cloches to keep the gnats away and buy plastic cups for cocktails that are different from the cups used for regular beverages so no one gets them confused.
Also, paper plates. Did I mention that? Who wants to do dishes after a party?!
Delegate, delegate, delegate!
Don't be the only person making food or putting the whole party together.
Source out another grill (and its grillmaster) to help cook up those ribs or make the brisket and bring it on over the day of.
Those who throw down in the kitchen can bring sides and non-grilling mains.
Have others bring coolers of ice and sodas, appetizers and summery charcuterie boards, games, and paper goods.
Team effort makes for the best cookouts.
Keep the Kids Busy
Don't let the kids go sit in a corner with their phones all bored.
Confiscate those things and have stuff for them to do...and that they have plenty to snack on.
The kids will love having a sprinkler, a blow up kiddie pool and slip and slide, a bubble machine (because what kid doesn't love that?), or some water balloons (these water balloons fill up over a hundred in less than a minute!).
They'll also appreciate a room to nap in, so have a room available that can hold a portable playpen for those babies to sleep in when they exhaust themselves.
And keep your teens entertained by getting them up and doing something together!
Have a dominoes game, giant Jenga (everyone loves this), a cornhole tournament, or family-friendly multiplayer video games like Mario Kart, Kirby, or Super Smash Bros.
What are some tips or tricks you have for the best summer cookouts? Let me know in the comments!
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📖 The Top 35 4th of July Recipes
Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes
Keep the crowd refreshed and their glasses full with these delicious drink recipes that everyone from big mama to the babies can enjoy.
For the 21 and up crowd. Drink responsibly and don't mess with any fireworks!
Cookout on the Grill
If you needed inspiration for your grill or smoker, we've got it.
In my house, it's not a summer party without some seafood on the table!
Summer-Ready Side Dishes
It's not a cookout without the best side dishes! Classics and well-loved family dishes abound.
End your 4th of July festivities with fireworks and delicious summertime desserts!
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.