The Absolute Best Independence Food Ideas For Your 4th Of July Celebration
If there’s one thing that Americans love to do, it’s grilling. We’ll do it all summer long, it doesn’t matter what the occasion is or why people have gathered together. Heading out to the country? Let’s do some grilling. Having a family reunion or get-together? Sounds like it’s time to break out the grill.
That’s why summer campgrounds, backyards, lake-side properties, and even parking lots all across the United States are covered in the sweet intermingling of scents that include smoked meats, hardwood smoke, and tangy BBQ sauce. Of course, there is one day of the summer that’s an especially busy time for grilling and that’s the 4th of July.
Yes, Independence Day is the day when just about everyone has fired up their grill, or if they aren’t personally grilling, then they’re in close proximity to someone who is. And now that we think about it, why wouldn’t that be the case? There just isn’t a better way to celebrate the birth of the United States than with some smoked meats, beer, fireworks, and friends.
Putting together a menu for an Independence Day celebration is no small feat, however. It takes planning and some originality — especially if the person planning it wants it to be really special. Sure, there are plenty of 4th of July celebrations that only feature BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs, but more and more people are thinking about what they can do to elevate their celebrations.
And that’s why we’ve decided to put together this little guide. We wanted to provide everyone interested with some great 4th of July food ideas and recipes that will help them impress their friends and family members. Let’s check ’em out, what do you say?
BBQ Pork Steaks
In the Midwest, BBQ pork steaks are one of the most popular items at many barbecues. For those people not familiar with them, they are basically pork shoulder steaks that come from a pork butt or Boston butt roast. They are cut to about 3/4-inch thick, slathered in barbecue sauce, and grilled. This creates a pork steak that falls apart and is more like “meat candy” than just about anything else — except for maybe a well-cooked brisket.
How the pork steak is prepared and cooked is really important, however. First, it needs to be marinated. Some people like to use soy sauce, honey, and spices to marinate their pork steaks, but we like to keep it simple and use only beer. Soaking the pork steaks in a good quality beer for 2-3 hours is sufficient to make a great pork steak.
After marinating, make a mixture of equal parts brown sugar, garlic powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Spread that mixture across the mixture, along with a good shot of salt and pepper. It’s now time to grill. A good way to grill pork steaks is low and slow, for about 12 minutes per side. After flipping it once, coat it with BBQ sauce and then grill it for 5 minutes on each side until the BBQ sauce has bonded to the meat. Now you have a pork steak so delicious you’ll want seconds.
Another dish that will elevate your 4th of July celebration is grilled watermelon. When you grill watermelon, you are not only giving it some nice-looking grill marks, but you are also giving the watermelon a smoky flavor and caramelizing the sugars in the melon.
Before you begin, you first have to cut the melon. We recommend cutting it into thick triangular-shaped wedges that will hold up to the grilling process. The rind should be left on so that the watermelon doesn’t fall apart. Grill the watermelon wedges for approximately 2-3 minutes, or until grill marks are placed upon them.
After grilling, you can hit them with a special Honey Lime Sauce that we like to use. Take a ¼ cup of honey, and the juice from 2 limes. You will also need a little bit of the lime zest (the colored part of the lime’s peel, not the white part) cut into strips. Mix all of that in a bowl with a ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Now microwave it for approximately 10-15 seconds. Drizzle that over the grilled watermelon and serve immediately for a dessert dish that will blow everyone away.
All-American Potato Salad
No American BBQ would be complete without potato salad. Sure, some people also make macaroni salad, but that’s usually in addition to potato salad. Fortunately, this is a dish that is easy to make and is about 100 times better when it’s homemade. Sure, you can buy store-bought potato salad, but it won’t have the zing that our recipe has. Check it out below.
- 5 yellow potatoes
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ½ cup sweet pickle relish
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ¼ cup of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of prepared mustard
- ¼ teaspoon celery salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- Ground black pepper to taste.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes until cooked tender, but still firm. That should take about 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes and let them cool.
While the potatoes are cooling, place eggs in a pot, and then add cold water until the eggs are covered. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and then remove from heat. Allow the eggs to remain in the water, covered for about 12 minutes.
Remove eggs from hot water and cool. Peel and chop them up after they have cooled. When potatoes are cool, peel and chop them into bite-size chunks.
Combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, relish, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic salt, celery salt, pepper, and onion in a large bowl. Mix them well and then refrigerate them until the mixture is cool. Congratulations! You have just made an amazing potato salad.
Elevating Canned Baked Beans
Yes, we know that there are a number of recipes for homemade baked beans on the Internet, and maybe at some point in time, we’ll cover one of those recipes. However, for the purpose of this article, we’re just going to go over how someone can elevate an ordinary can of baked beans. Why? Well, because we think people already have enough to cook on the 4th of July and we don’t want to add to that workload.
We think it’s perfectly fine to serve baked beans as a side dish to all the other great food. However, we do feel that canned baked beans are often missing flavor, so we decided to improve on them instead of replacing them with something else. Below are our recommendations for turning an ordinary can of these beans into something truly special and perfect for the 4th of July.
- 6 strips of smoked bacon
- 2 28-ounce cans of Baked Beans
- 1 small yellow onion
- ¼ cup of ketchup
- 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of spicy brown mustard
- 2 tablespoons of molasses
- 2 tablespoons of Oyster Sauce.
- 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an oven-safe 4-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Cook bacon until it’s crispy in a frying pan. Remove it and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Dice up the onion and cook in the leftover bacon fat in the frying pan. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until the onions are soft.
Add the beans, bacon, and onions to the baking dish. Add the remaining ingredients.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top of the beans has caramelized. Now serve!
That does it for this holiday celebration. We hope the above tips and tricks will allow you to take your 4th of July celebration to the next level. Until next time, be safe dear readers, and be sure to come back for more holiday fun!