The Ultimate Guide to the Best Food for a Spectacular 4th of July Barbecue

Hamburgers for a spectacular 4th of July barbecue. Photo: Deposit Photos

The 4th of July is synonymous with backyard barbecues, and nothing brings people together quite like delicious food hot off the grill. Whether you’re planning a family gathering or a neighborhood party, having the right food can make all the difference. In this article, we’ll explore the best food to barbecue over the 4th of July weekend, including a mouthwatering recipe that will leave your guests begging for more.

1. Grilled Burgers: A Classic American Delight

No barbecue is complete without juicy grilled burgers. Opt for high-quality ground beef with an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio to ensure maximum flavor and juiciness. Season the patties with salt and pepper, or get creative with your favorite spices like paprika, garlic powder, or onion powder. Grill the burgers over medium-high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes per side or until they reach your desired level of doneness. Serve with fresh buns, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and condiments to create the ultimate personalized burger experience.

2. Tangy and Tender Barbecue Ribs

When it comes to finger-licking goodness, barbecue ribs are hard to beat. Choose St. Louis-style, baby back, or spare ribs. Marinate them overnight in a flavorful mixture of spices, brown sugar, and your favorite barbecue sauce. For maximum tenderness, wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and cook them over indirect heat for 2-3 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.

Before serving, brush the ribs with additional sauce and grill them for a few minutes to get a delicious caramelized finish.

Grilled Mexican Corn with Mozzarella and Cilantro. Photo courtesy of Sterling Epicure.

3. Grilled Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a quintessential summer treat that pairs perfectly with any barbecue spread. Author, Lisa Lemke, offers a bountiful selection of recipes, including Grilled Mexican Corn with Mozzarella and Cilantro, in her book, The Summer Table, published by Sterling Epicure.

Grilled Mexican Corn with Mozzarella and Cilantro
Makes 4 Servings

2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon tomato paste
4 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles
1/2 stick melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons honey

4 fresh ears of corn with husks
Salt and black pepper
4 1/2 ounces (about 1 cup) grated mozzarella
1 sprig of coarsely chopped cilantro
Finely chopped jalapeño chile (optional)

Cooking twine
Aluminum foil

For the marinade, mince or crush the garlic and combine with the rest of the ingredients.

Pull back the husks on each ear of corn without tearing them off completely, and tie them together with cooking twine. This will be a useful handle when eating the corn. Trim the cobs, brush off any silk, and brush a thick layer of the marinade on each cob. Place the corn in a plastic bag and let it marinate for about an hour.

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to high heat. Remove the corn from the bag, season each cob with salt and pepper, and wrap each cob in aluminum foil. This will make four grill packets with the husks sticking out.

Place the packets on the grill over hot coals with the husks sticking out of the edge of the grill so they don’t burn. Close the lid and grill the corn for 15–20 minutes or until the corn feels soft when you prick it with a toothpick. Turn the packets halfway through the grilling time. If the corn is really fresh, a shorter grilling time may be enough, and if it’s a little older, it may need a little more time on the grill.

Open the packets and top with grated mozzarella, cilantro, and, optionally, chile. Serve immediately.

Cherry stuffed grilled chicken for 4th of July

Cherry Stuffed Grilled Chicken. Photo: Northwest Cherry

4. Grilled Chicken with a Fruit Twist for the 4th of July.

Who doesn’t love grilled chicken? It’s delicious and a healthy choice. Add Northwest cherries to the stuffing for a sweet and tangy grilled entrée.

Cherry Stuffed Grilled Chicken
Makes 4 Servings

1-1/2 cups pitted and coarsely chopped Northwest fresh sweet cherries
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon each salt and chopped fresh thyme
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 to 6 oz. each)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Combine cherries, onion, sage, salt, and thyme; mix well. Cut a pocket on the thicker side of the chicken breast; sprinkle lightly with salt if desired. Stuff 1/4 of cherry mixture into the pocket; close opening with metal skewers or wooden picks. Combine oil, vinegar, garlic salt, and pepper; mix well. Marinate stuffed chicken breasts 1/2 hour in refrigerator. Broil or grill chicken breasts, brushing with marinade, until fully cooked and juices run clear when sliced.
Oven Method: Brown stuffed chicken in oven-safe skillet on both sides. Bake at 375° F 12 to 15 minutes or until juices run clear.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Northwest Cherries
grilled vegetable skewers

Grilled vegetable skewers or kabobs. Photo: Deposit Photos

5. Fresh and Colorful Grilled Vegetable Skewers:

Add a vibrant touch to your barbecue menu with grilled vegetable skewers. Select a variety of colorful vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and red onions. Cut the vegetables into chunks, drizzle them with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs. Thread them onto skewers and grill over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally until they are tender and lightly charred. These skewers add a burst of flavor and provide a healthy and vegetarian-friendly option.

This 4th of July, elevate your barbecue game with these irresistible food choices. From juicy burgers, healthy chicken, and tangy ribs to grilled corn and colorful vegetable skewers, there’s something for everyone. So fire up the grill, gather your loved ones, and get ready to savor a memorable Independence Day celebration filled with delicious barbecue delights!

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