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what are you making for the 4th of July?

We're having family and friends over. It was supposed to be a smaller crowd than we usually do but it isn't really working out that way. I used to want to do everything on my own, but we seem to be the ones who are always entertaining people so these days I'm very happy to have them bring food and drinks. Cuts down on all of the work and expense on my part.

This is the menu so far:

APPS--chips/onion dip, smoked chicken wings, tomato/mozzarella skewers, cheese/crackers/pepperoni, bacon-wrapped shrimp, veggies/dip, black bean salsa/tortilla chips

MAIN--smoked ribs, homemade burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, cavatelli/broccoli, cilantro cole slaw, tortellini salad, taco salad, 3-bean salad w/cilantro lime dressing

DESSERTS--coconut cake, 7 layer bars, cookie tray, pina colada pudding, fruit salad

as you can see, there's no rhyme or reason to the menu. I am making the onion dip, smoked wings, ribs/burgers/hot dogs, cilantro cole slaw, and coconut cake. The rest are things that guests are bringing. Oh and there will be plenty of cold beverages as well. I've already dusted off the Frozen Concotion Maker!

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  1. Smoking a brisket and some ribs, potato salad, fried okra, cobbler with vanilla ice cream, white bread and beer. Since it takes 12-14 hours to smoke a brisket, there will be grilled Sabretts at half time on ButterKrust buns with chopped onions and spicy brown mustard.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tim irvine

      That sounds wonderful. We've tried smoking brisket twice and it has been a disaster both times. Brisket jerky.

      1. re: Njchicaa

        I am no barbecue expert, but I just do a simple rub of salt, pepper, coriander, and a little sugar, leave the fat on it, and keep the temp very low (about 225) with charcoal and big chunks of pecan. I used to have a New Braunfels offset, but now I have a Weber Smokey Mountain. Much easier to regulate temp and much less tending. Plus, since it is a Weber it is easy to replace anything that wears out. The racks on the NB died and were a weird size; so I had to mess with racks of the wrong size.

    2. I am in charge of dessert for a party, I am making Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake with buttercream frosting The book is Baking From My Home To Yours and lemon Curd ice cream from Nathalie Dupree's new, Beard award winning book Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.

      1. No big party here and it looks like we're going to a pro soccer game on the actual day. But, I'd still like to do a decent BBQ meal on Friday, and maybe invite some people over. So I think I'm going to try my hand at ribs. I've never made them before, and have only had them once or twice ever, so I'll enjoy the challenge. I haven't made mac n cheese for awhile so I'll probably do that. Chow recently put up a nice looking side dish of fresh corn, zucchini, and red bell pepper which has struck my fancy so I'll do that if I haven't made it earlier in the week.

        If we have enough people for dessert, I want to make my trashy frozen pistacho dessert... involves pistachio instant pudding and cool whip... along with ice cream and a ritz cracker crust. It's klassy (yes with a k) but delicious.

        1. sticking a pig in a box and letting it go alllllll day....
          doing some rainbow asian salad
          making some mason Jar drinks
          and then everyone else is bringing stuff

          1. We host a party for about 25 (including kids)...


            Potato Chips (my husband loves Ruffles and it's the only time of the year when I will buy them!)

            Cheetos (per my 6 year old son's request)

            Pigs in blankets with ketchup and mustard

            Roasted Garlic Baba Ganoush/Pita Chips

            Endive with garlic goat cheese spread

            Parmesan Cups with Arugula Salad

            Crudite with Spinach Dip (everyone loves it!)


            Ribs and Chicken Fries (mostly for the kids but the adults love them too)


            Asian Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing


            Homemade Chipwhich ice cream sandwiches that we make every year

            Cake pops decorated in red, white and blue -- new this year


            Pies that a friend brings.

            3 Replies
            1. re: valerie

              Of all these wonderful dishes, the food that caught my eye for a wonderful feast is the Cheetos (Other brand- Cheese Doodles, also great.). I, too, fell in love with these at about age 6, and continue to munch on them into my middle age. The kid has great taste! I'm sure everything will go over well.

                1. re: Florida Hound

                  Ha Ha! That's what caught my eye as well, Florida Hound. Cheetos! It's been many moons since I've had them and I adore them. Good taste coming from your DS, Valerie!

                  I am cooking nada. DS is off to a birthday party. SO may or may not show up. It's too hot to grill (109) and I damn sure am not turning on the oven.

                  Another salad for dinner if I work up an appetite. The whole state is in mourning from the deaths in Yarnell, so I feel no reason to celebrate or have people over.

              1. We'll be driving home from Virginia, probably going through Nebraska that day. NO RUNZAS! hahahahahahahahaha!
                Not sure how long a day it will be, I wouldn't mind actually staying somewhere that night, but, alas, it will be just two nights on the road.
                I would like fried chicken, but we'll see. We might be home in time for the fireworks.
                We thought about puting a couple of little American flags on our car (attached to the rack on top on either side) for that day's drive, but didn't want to be mistaken for the president...

                3 Replies
                1. re: wyogal

                  I can't go through Nebraska without at least a dozen Cheese Frenchees. Heaven in a red plastic basket.

                    1. re: John E.

                      Ha! Just had one, on the way to Va, and it was horrible! I could make MUCH better. The bread part was soggy, and the filling was really overpowered by fried onion. We stayed in Ogallala on the way home, and steered clear of the Runza place, ate next door at a steak house, and it was good.

                  1. I'm making corn and black bean salad and coming over to your place! Your menus sounds deelish.

                    Seriously though, it's kind of up in the air depending on the weather. It's been raining non-stop here for the past week, but I'd really love to throw some kind of meat on the barbie.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                      We have had a lot of rain too. I get stressed about the weather every year as the 4th approaches and I check the various websites for forecasts about a million times a day. And then I stop to remind myself that it's out of my control and every year we luck out for the most part....keeping my fingers crossed, again.

                      1. re: valerie

                        Keeping my fingers crossed as well, as after I leave Njchicaa party I plan on stopping by yours!

                    2. I don't think I'll be going anywhere - rain has been the weather of the week, along with humidity. But there is pulled pork in the freezer, and I've got tons of CSA veggies to use up, so a sugar snap pea and corn salad, coleslaw, deviled eggs and I'll pick up some fresh local strawberries to make a strawberry shortcake.

                      And vodka and lemonades. :-)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Great. Now I've got to go to your house too. Mmmm...strawberry shortcake. Mmmm...vodka and lemonade.

                      2. Wow, that's a lot of food! Sounds great!

                        So far, I have bacon cheeseburgers and grilled cole slaw on the menu..... It depends if we decide to go to the beach again for a late afternoon supper and then the fireworks, which happen right over our heads, so we don't have to go anywhere :)

                        If we do the beach, I'll make smoked clam and bacon dip with chips & crudités, lobster rolls and watermelon fruit salad. If we don't go to the beach, I may do barbecued chicken. And a batch of grilled potato salad. I may do mixed berry hand pies for dessert.

                        1. I'm going to a friend's beach house and am planning on bringing a mixed antipasto 'salad': green beans, chick peas, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, 2 kinds of olives, cubed hard meats and cheeses, lined with slices of prosciutto and salami and topped with fresh basil an oregano.

                          The best salads have no lettuce! :o)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: soypower

                            Ended up adding some crushed red pepper and more garlic. Turned out great. Here's a pic.

                          2. everything is ready except for the last sweep of the house (5 cats and a parrot) and the onion dip and cole slaw which cannot be made too far ahead of time. Should be a good time.

                            Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope you all enjoy the day.

                            1. Traditional wasp New England fare on the 4th is salmon, fresh hulled peas, and strawberry ice cream, hand cranked.
                              But now I'm in multi-cultural Florida, and the menu tomorrow is Jamaican jerk chicken and jalapeno corn off the cob.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: Veggo

                                "strawberry ice cream, hand cranked."

                                oooooohhhhhh Yummmmmy!!!

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  I never knew that New England had salmon. What kind of peas are ripe at this time of year? Our spring, green peas are over and others won't be ripe til August.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    I don't know what type of peas. I remember my thumbs almost bleeding from hulling a bushel of them. Salmon is everywhere. I cringe when I see it in restaurants in Mexico, because they certainly didn't swim there. By the way, your CA strawberries are now about half the price of CT grown.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      MA local grown strawberries are also much more expensive ($3.99/pint or 3 pints/$10.00) than the store-bought CA ones. BUT.....they also taste so much better and sweeter. I picked up 3 pints yesterday at my local farm stand. Almost at the end of local-grown.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        LW, there are definitely different kinds of CA strawberries. The ones in the grocery frequently aren't anything to write home about. If you cut one in half and it's white in the center then ya know. But some of the ones you find at farmers' markets are wonderful. Non-CAers sometimes forget that a lot of what comes out of the state is basically huge factory food. Periodically we have occasion to drive through the San Joaquin Valley and those farms go on for what is probably tens of thousands of acres. You definitely get what you pay for.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Yeah, those white-in-the-center ones are flavorless. So frustrating. But as you said - you get what you pay for. Which is why I'm willing to pay $3.99/pint for the local ones. :-)

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Absolutely! I see those great 'deals' but it's not a deal if it's subpar.

                                      2. re: Veggo

                                        I generically know what kind of peas you're talking about. Guess it varies by parts of the country. I used to like nothing better than shelling purple hull crowders. Find it very relaxing.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          I remember those from Texas. I don't recall them in N.E.

                                    2. re: Veggo

                                      With mashed potatoes and egg sauce. A light repast...

                                    3. Due to our construction site it will be breakfast nibbles at friends during the big parade and then making our way to various backyard BBQ's. I stocked up on alocal bakeries mini flag cupcakes as my contribution...feeling a little lame.

                                      1. Got a big green egg, so I'll be smoking spareribs and pork shoulder.

                                        Decided to just go with a few salads to try to keep it lighter: fattoush (from Jerusalem), esquites (Mexican corn salad), and sweet potato salad.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: emily

                                          I love my big green egg.. his name is eggward... I have a hard time smoking on him though even when I put the plate setter way low

                                          1. re: emily

                                            Jealous! We would love to have one but the price tag is a shocker

                                            1. re: Njchicaa

                                              mine was gifted to me by an anoymous person....seriously..I was doing a cooking demo at an Eggfest and was talking about a charity I work with and how if I won I reallllllly wanted an egg but I would hold a raffle for the backback progam at the food bank...then we come to find out my booth didnt qualify to win because i was considered "professional" due to working with a pro.....anyway going home my dad gets a call that someone donnated TWO eggs One for me to raffle and one for me to have! otherwise I wouldn't have one,

                                              1. re: Njchicaa

                                                Seriously overpriced, but I just decided to bite the bullet. Getting it down to 200 has so far been a learning experience... but this is our first time smoking.

                                            2. Very thick bone-in ribeye, grilled corn on the cob and kale salad.

                                              1. Going to neighbors for burgers. I'm bringing asian slaw salad and spicy pickles. Maybe sangria.

                                                1. I always do a watermelon; they're so good when you cut into a whole one, and it's great to have a whole crowd to eat them.
                                                  Here's my menu from last year's big summer bash (organized by how much in advance you can make it) I usually count on some desserts from guests, too:
                                                  sweet & sour cucumbers
                                                  lentil salad
                                                  black bean salsa
                                                  spinach artichoke dip
                                                  tex-mex tabbouleh
                                                  wild rice and edamame salad
                                                  homemade baked beans (hot and smoky)
                                                  Italian antipasto pasta salad
                                                  avocado-basil dressing (tofu/miso)
                                                  cole slaw
                                                  corn on the cob
                                                  grilled shrimp boil
                                                  pimento cheese spread
                                                  potato salad
                                                  bean salad (made by Donald Kass)
                                                  beer, wine
                                                  hot dog rolls
                                                  hot dogs/sausage
                                                  ice tea, soda, lemonade
                                                  mustard/ketchp/sweet relish
                                                  potato & tortilla chips
                                                  regular salsa

                                                  2 Replies
                                                    1. re: annomy

                                                      Gotta ask: how does one do a "grilled shrimp boil"?

                                                    2. I've been feeling horrible the last couple days and it's just us today so we are grilling sausages, corn and I made ranch potato salad. My daughter made a key lime pie last night.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: rasputina

                                                        I love those meals with multiple starches and desserts and no "leafy green vegetables" :)

                                                      2. Not sure how many pictures I will get once my guests arrive (any minute) but here is a picture of the Asian Slaw and Cake Balls. The slaw is delicious.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                          Your slaw looks great, valerie. When you get a chance, would love to see the recipe! I jury-rigged one I found on Food.com, and it came out pretty well - but always looking for more!

                                                          And love the cake ball flag. :-D

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Thanks! Here is the recipe. I used red and green cabbage and shredded it all in the food processor. I made it yesterday and kept the dressing separate and just assembled about an hour ago.


                                                            1. re: valerie

                                                              Oooh, I like that dressing more than the one I made an hour ago! Too bad my slaw is already dressed. But thanks - keeping that one bookmarked. Enjoy your party!

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Yes, it's a keeper! My guests loved it! And I am always a fan of dishes that I can mostly make ahead of time and assemble at the last minute.

                                                        2. We returned from our vacation in the early afternoon. We grilled last night, had ribeyes, potato salad, and spicy bacon-wrapped shrimp. Carrots for husband, I had green beans. Both the veggies were horrible. I used frozen, whole green beans, and one would think they'd be rid of their strings, ready to eat. With every bite, I ended up with a mouthful (so it seemed) of strings. Yes, I string them when making fresh, but never gave it a thought using the frozen.
                                                          The carrots were in little single serving containers, I had picked some up when my folks came (dad's on chemo and couldn't eat raw vegetables, so had them on hand for him), and like my husband said, they were one step away from baby food. Yuck. I tried to crisp them up a bit by sauteing in butter, and added some marjoram.
                                                          Everything else was fabulous!

                                                          1. We stayed home for Independence Day this year but we did have my dad over. Dinner was similar to Father's Day except instead of beef tenderloin on the grill we had venison loin with a beef wine sauce (I don't make venison broth CWD and all) along with pyrohy (pierogies), asparagus, salad and a homemade chocolate malt ice cream (like the malt cups that come with the little wooden spoons.) oh, we also had a fruit salad, the usual watermelon, cantelope, strawberries, etc. (Very 'meat and potatoes. My dad is so easy to please.)

                                                            1. The cole slaw was a major hit. In fact, it was the one thing people kept raving about. It doesn't have cilantro as I stated above. Instead it has a cumin-lime dressing flavored with dill. Absolutely outstanding. It's in Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction cookbook.