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Make Your July 4th BBQ Low-Key Amazing

Jenna Grunfeld June 26, 2017

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Barbecue season never really gets old, but if you keep serving the exact same things you run the risk of it getting just a little bit tired. Luckily, July 4th comes around just in time to give you an excuse to jazz up your menu again! Here are some no-fail July 4th menu ideas to make your BBQ the talk of the block.


Not Your Average Fruit Salad


Sure, you can definitely buy a fruit platter at the store, but why not make it a little more festive by creating your own, unique fruit salad. You can make it 4th of July themed by sticking with red, white, and blue fruits like strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, and even apples.



Make it extra interesting by using star-shaped cookie cutter to make watermelon or apple chunks that your kids will be digging through the salad to get (with a fork, of course!).


Seasoned Fries: A Side Dish That’s the Star of The Show


French fries are a barbecue staple, but no one wants to serve bland or soggy fries. No need! It’s actually super simple to make crisp, flavorful fries that’ll have everyone coming back for thirds. This easy recipe is great whether you’re baking or frying — and you can even use it for delicious sweet potato fries!



This spice mix is entirely multi purpose. We use it on chicken, all kinds of veggies, potatoes, and of course, fries. I call it the Big Five, because the base ingredients start with the five ingredients that are always at the front of my spice cabinet: Kosher salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and granulated garlic.


If I have an extra few seconds, I usually throw in some mustard powder, cayenne or chili powder, and ground ginger. It’s one-size-fits-all, and it’s beyond words! You can even spray frozen fries with cooking spray and sprinkle this on top for a real treat!


A Hot Dog Worth Savoring


Never think about hot dogs as a dime a dozen again! By just picking up more thing at the supermarket, you can turn your BBQ celebration into one that your friends will talk about for years. Think I’m exaggerating? You’ve clearly never wrapped a hot dog in beef bacon.



Simply buy some packaged beef bacon, and wrap one piece around each hot dog before throwing it on the grill (or delicately placing, depending on your grilling style). For a fun serving idea, create a build-your-own hot dog bar with toppings such a sautéed onions, mushrooms, and diced jalapeño peppers. Everyone will be happy, and it’s less work for you!


Festive Sangria: Let Your Fruit Go for a Good Soak 


Certain drinks just scream summer, and sangria is one of them. This delicious punch drink is made by mixing fruit with wine. Mix and match to find which wine you like best with sangria, though I prefer a sweet red. A few you might want to try out are Joyvin Sangria, Jeunesse Cabernet Sauvignon, or Herzog Late Harvest Zinfandel. Add in the fruit of your choosing, and some orange juice to sweeten it up and add some acidity. Add champagne or soda if you like some bubbles!



If you want to make a family-friendly version, sangria can definitely be made without alcohol. Start with a grape juice base instead and make sure to add some acidity like lemon juice or pineapple to cut the sweetness. Experiment with herbs as well, for some interesting flavors.


Shaved Ice: Snow in July


Beat the heat and entertain the kids with some shaved ice. If you don’t feel like bashing your ice into a pulp by hand, you can actually make it in a blender. Simply add a little water slowly as you’re blending until you get the consistency you’re looking for. If you want to make it even easier on yourself, you can buy this super affordable shaved ice machine.



You can also buy your favorite flavored syrups to make your shaved ice the most delicious and fashionable (and patriotic!). Don’t have access? You can make a simple syrup by bringing equal parts sugar and water to a boil and then letting it cool. Then you can add in flavored extracts and food coloring of your choice!


The S’mores With the S’most


There’s always room for s’mores at the end of a barbecue (or the beginning, if you roll like I do). If you’re like most people without a fire pit handy, try this cast-iron skillet version.


Pour your favorite chocolate into the bottom of a greased and warmed cast iron skillet. Top the chocolate with marshmallows and bake on a high heat until the marshmallows start to get brown and toasty. Serve it alongside some graham crackers, and let people dig into the s’mores “dip.”



Not only is this a time saver and a safer alternative for smaller children, it also lets everyone come together to enjoy!


Have any more spectacular ideas for a 4th of July celebration? Let us know!