HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


What to do on July 4th

We've decided to have a 4th of July gathering wih people coming over anywhere from 2:00 pm until whenver that evening. I don't want to be a slave behind the the entire day as I'd like to talk to our guests so I've come up with a bbq plan that I can make ahead, but as I think about it, there's no way to make enough of anything to keep it going for the entire day as I watch my son go therough the pulled pork!

Here's the plan so far:
smoked pulled pork (I've already made 12 lbs.)
smoked brisket for sandwiches
curried chicken salad wraps or sliders
assorted salads and crudite
assorted sweets

Any suggestions. Thanks in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sounds like you have a good start. You can't go wrong with a meat and cheese tray and assorted breads or buns. If you go that route it helps to a have a fixins' tray (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, etc.) to go with it. Also, cheese and crackers. And fresh fruit. Depending on how many guests you have the food can get expensive. Don't be afraid to ask your close friends and family to help contribute.

    1. That's a lot of meat, and a lot of fat. You need something acidic to cut that. You decide what. Cranberry sauce? Lemon sorbet? Something tomato heavy? But you need something to cut that, it'll complement your other items.

      Otherwise, yum!

      1. Sounds like we are on the same page. I don't want to do a lot of work, so I am making pulled brisket with bbq sauce, bbq chicken cutlets, and sausages with chimichurri sauce. Fresh veggies, potatoe salad, coleslaw. Fresh fruit. Neet an appetizer, no milk or cheese.TIA

        1 Reply
        1. re: paprkutr

          Appetizer: hummus on cucumber rounds, dusted with sumac. Melon balls wrapped with thin-sliced country ham (salty kind).

        2. List looks good to me...... as long as coleslaw is part of your "assorted salads" and it's placed right next to the pulled pork and rolls.

          1. Thanks all, I appreciate all of your suggestions, I guess what I'm asking though is what else can I serve that an be made ahead of time to cover the fact that I might be cooking for 100 people who will attend over the course of 6-7 hours (or more I guess).

            1 Reply
            1. re: jnk

              Baked beans and sliced watermelon as well as pulled pork will be on our menu.

              I think the length of time is part of the problem. For us, 2pm would be after lunch so I wouldn't put out the full meal until after 5pm. Consider 2-5pm to be one long happy hour with lighter refreshments like the crudities. Or, everything out at 2pm and then start winding down. If you think somebody would want something meaty toward then end, maybe have hot dogs and hamburgers as backup if you have someone who could be the grill master instead of you.

            2. pinwheel sandwiches are great make ahead, when it gets low just bring out a couple more and slice. We did them for a shower and turned out great, although we learned to hold off of on tomatoes as it makes it soggy!

              2 Replies
              1. re: lexpatti

                What do you put in/on them and do you make them w/wraps?

                1. re: jnk

                  yes, big tortilla wraps. I've also used that flat sq. bread too.

                  we did 3 diff. kinds:
                  1)turkey, cranberry type of relish or chutney, spinach leaves, and maybe a cheese
                  2) BLT with avocado (but learned the tomato isn't a good idea as it made it a lil soggy)
                  3) ham, roasted pepper and a cheese (may have been swiss in this one) - make sure everything is dry.

                  We made them the day before, wrapped tightly in syran wrap. Easy prep, pulled them out, unwrapped them, sliced them about 2 in. on a platter.

              2. One of my favorite summery salads is Greek Pasta Salad

                Orzo - cooked al dente (~1 box)
                kalamata olives, sliced(~1/2)
                red, yellow, orange bell peppers, chopped(~2-4)
                *mix up the above with some balsamic vinegar, let the orzo absorb it, drizzle heavily with olive oil (keeps things moist after the balsamic's been absorbed), then add
                crumbled feta(~1/2-1lb)
                *add the feta in after the balsamic's been absorbed and it stays a nice snowy white and constrasts with the brownish color of the balsamic-laden orzo.

                It's acidic, goes well in a wrap if you wanted, and does better than a dairy or mayo based salad without refrigeration. Plus, it's better the next day or several hours later, so it's a perfect make-ahead. Plus all of the ingredients could be prepped a few days ahead of time minus maybe the peppers, and then assembled when you have time, and the space for a large bowl.

                If you're trying to cut costs a little, just add more orzo. People don't generally notice and pasta is way cheaper than the other ingredients, plus a lot less work to prepare.

                1 Reply
                1. I always make a very vinegary slaw to go with the pulled pork. Shred the cabbage finely (I use the 2mm cuisinarts blade), red onion, almost a half and half mayo/white vinegar (Slight exaggeration, but pretty heavy on the vinegar) mixture with a tablespoon of sugar and kosher salt.

                  1. You can't go wrong with hotdogs. Make a batch of chili ahead of time. If you're congregating outside have some of the guests (if possible) bring extra grills. Men love to grill, so put some of them in charge of grilling the weiners. Easy, inexpensive, and always a hit!