The classic Fourth of July barbecue is a day with family and friends, eating simple American food, celebrating the country, and lots of red, white, and blue. As hot as the weather might be, there's no need to sweat the menu—or decorations, for that matter. Make an Independence Day cookout that you and your guests will enjoy by keeping things simple.
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Show Your Red, White, and Blue
July Fourth might be one of the easiest holidays for decorations. Pick up red, white, and blue paper plates, napkins, and cups, as well as some disposable flatware. Grab plenty of miniature American flags—they look great in mason jars and glass flower vases. If you want to get a little fancy, add white hydrangea or red Gerber daisies to the jars. Place all of this on tables covered in white cloths, and you've got festive decor without much effort!
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Keep It Simple and Delegate
It's a good idea to delegate some responsibilities to others, so you are not running around sweating it out. Assign a grill master for the day—there is always someone who loves to be behind the grill cooking, flipping burgers, and rolling hot dogs. You might also consider asking someone to keep an eye on ice and drinks—when it's hot outside, there's nothing worse than running short on ice cold beverages for your partygoers.
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Serve Simple Starters
Everyone loves to begin a party with some appetizers, and chips and dips are the simplest way to go—especially if you serve store-bought dips (or have friends bring their favorites).
Fill big bowls with potato chips, tortilla chips, and pretzels, and smaller bowls with a variety of dips. Place everything on one big tray, or a few smaller trays, and let guests mix and match chips to dips.
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Plan an Interactive Menu
Don't be afraid to put together a really simple menu for your party. It's usually humid, hot, and muggy on the holiday, so if you are hosting the party outside, stick with a low-fuss menu.
You probably know what to serve at a classic barbecue, but did you know you can arrange the food so your guests do a lot of the work? Set up a build-your-own burger bar, a nacho table, or an ice cream sundae station. This way, you are really only responsible for the ingredients, but not for assembling everything. Have fun with your set-up. There are so many great burger and hot dog toppings out there, so feel free to be creative!
Of course when a guest asks if they can bring food, take them up on their offer! Have some people bring side dishes and others bring desserts. Just keep track of the food that everyone is bringing, so you don't have a table full of potato salads.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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A Classic American BBQ Menu
If you'd rather go classic, that's OK. Because Independence Day is a time to celebrate the good ol' US of A, it's the perfect occasion to feature all (or some) of our American favorites. This menu is just a suggestion—use it as inspiration when planning your July 4th BBQ.
- Grilled corn on the cob: From spicy rubs to herb butter to Mexican street corn, there are so many delicious ways to dress up an ear of grilled corn. Choose a recipe you think your guests will love or set up a variety of toppings they can put on the corn themselves.
- Burgers and Dogs: Your guests may expect these ubiquitous American cookout foods, but you can still surprise them by making them a little special, like these to-die-for burgers and Lewis' Coney Island hot dogs.
- Barbecue ribs: Bring a bit of the South to your cookout with fall-off-the-bone, finger-licking barbecue ribs. No one will be able to resist.
- Side dishes: What would a barbecue be without potato salad? And bring a bit of healthy green to the buffet table with this make-ahead spinach salad.
- Desserts: Take ice cream sundaes to the next level with these brownie sundaes with banana chips. And what is more American than pie? This blueberry pie with lemon pastry will keep your patriotic theme going until the end.
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Remember to Relax!
A classic Fourth of July Barbecue is best when you have good friends, good food, and good fun. Don't forget what's important when you celebrate this special day—try to relax and spend time with your guests to create memories that you'll share for years to come. Planning in advance will make sure the day goes smoothly and that everyone has a good time, including you!