Kaitlin here. It’s already the end of June which seems entirely improbable, but there it is–the long July 4th weekend of 2017 is upon us!
Planning your July 4th weekend meals can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re looking to mix things up from what you’ve done in years past. We’ve got some inspiration for you here–not only for the day, but also for you to enjoy the entirety of the long weekend–ranging from Asian classics on the grill, American classics, and a few out-of-the-box options that are just plain delightful on a hot summer day.
But if you’d rather skip planning your meal–and you happen to be in the New York area for the weekend–you can drop by Char Sue Asian Inspired grill, a new restaurant opened by Bill’s cousin Eddie in lower Manhattan featuring Chef Matty Rojas! Great food and awesome drinks and craft beers–really–we have been there many times to test-drive recipes and cocktails! Just try their Char Sue Roasted Duck Mantou Sandwich. This isn’t a sponsored post, but it is a little plug for family, albeit a well-deserved one!
Though there is something very American Dream-y about heading out to the comforts of your own backyard and firing up your grill on July 4th, the day ‘Murica was made. So whether you’re breaking bread with family at home, or heading to a bbq to talk the state of the nation with friends, here are 17 recipes to help you savor the moment this Independence Day and make it a memorable one!
Have a little Char Siu grilled chicken–the flavors are sweet and spiced, reminiscent of your favorite BBQ sauce, but with an Asian kick.
But if you prefer good old pork, try our BBQ Char Siu on the Grill instead! If you’re feeding a crowd for July 4th, it’s hard to make a misstep with pork. You may have seen our oven recipe for BBQ pork (Cha Siu), but this version on the grill adds that excellent charred flavor–and if you’re using natural wood lump charcoal? Well, you’ll have to hide some for yourself if you’re manning the grill. Bonus of making char siu is that you can set some aside for Roast Pork Fried rice or BBQ roast pork buns the next day. July 4th isn’t just a day. It’s a weekend-long celebration.
This recipe takes a little bit of patience and some love on the grill, but it’s worth it!
Simple, yet delicious with virtually no prep time required–the secret is grilling them slowly to form a nice crust on the chicken. These inevitably show up on our grill several times throughout the spring and summer and are one of the simplest, yet underrated chicken wing recipes! Who would have thought that just salt, pepper and chicken wings would make such a great dish! I can sense that you still probably don’t believe me. So, again–these are REALLY REALLY GOOD.
Try a different kind of burger this year with this Xi’an style cumin lamb burger. If you liked our Spicy Cumin Lamb Biang Biang Noodles, you’ll love this. A good shortcut is to stick with your all-beef patties, but include the cucumber, pepper relish, and spicy yogurt sauce in your burger fixins lineup!
If July 4th dinner party is more your speed than daytime BBQ, grilled skirt steak with chimichurri makes for a pretty excellent centerpiece. (Note for loyal readers who may remember this post–the chimichurri recipe has been updated! :)
If you have a lovely ribeye you’ve been waiting to eat and don’t want to botch, this ribeye with soy butter glaze is a pretty great number, if I, as the unofficial grill master, do say so. In our family’s opinion, a delicious home-grilled steak pretty much always beats out a steak dinner our (Smug? Yes. Are we eating really good steak? Also, yes.) You can also slather the glaze on pretty much any cut of beef you care to put on the grill! It’s July 4th. And that means FREEDOM!
Salads can sometimes either fall flat into boring iceberg lettuce territory or quickly become tedious with seemingly endless toppings. This smashed cucumber salad makes for a quick and easy, yet refreshing and healthy side. Lots of fresh garlic and chili oil gives it tons of flavor, and the crags in the “smashed” cucumber really pick up the flavors!
If you’re looking for something lighter and an all-in-one meal, grilling up some turkey thighs or breasts and making this light and herbacious farro salad is a great option. Plenty of creamy feta makes for a satisfying and flavorful dish that will leave you light on your feet–great for a day at the beach.
More of a seafood person than a meat person? These Vietnamese summer rolls are refreshing and a tasty alternative to all of the grilled meats. They’re light, refreshing, healthy, and maybe the best thing of all–require very few heating elements in your kitchen! We’re pretty sure you’ll be happy chilling with a plate of these while sitting inside or outside this weekend!
This unlikely marriage of summer flavors is surprisingly delicious and satisfying. Verdant basil and mint make for a wonderfully creamy pesto, and fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh strawberries lighten things up for a decidedly summertime pasta salad. Enjoy this one while the summer harvest is under way!
In China grilling seldom happens on a turbo-charged hunk of steel–you’re more likely to stumble across a small, charcoal-fired set-up built for skewers of meat–specifically, tender, salty, spicy lamb. These skewers (aka, “chuan”) are a favorite in Beijing and throughout literally the entire country that are well worth some real-estate on your July 4th menu. Spicy and delicious, these will make you a lamb lover if you aren’t one already!
If you want to get just a little bit fancy this July 4th, try your hand at making these Disney/Universal-style Smoked Turkey Legs. These are quite possibly one of my favorite foods *ever* (if there is an event / venue / etc. that is hawking smoked turkey legs, I will magically appear). And Disney World has got nothing on these turkey legs. The recipe is courtesy of my aunt who has a knack for figuring out old standbys at home. Plus, you control how smoky, salty or sugary you want them when you make these on your own! What’s more, they don’t cost $15 a piece! Rejoice!
Potato salad is pretty much a must at any picnic or bbq, but why bring the same old ho-hum mayonnaise version, when you can change things up with this curried potato salad. With the addition of grilled chicken, it can also make for a great meal by itself!
But we understand that July 4th is a time to celebrate ‘Murica, and that means that people are looking for the classics. If you need a salad to balance out the meat-fest, round out your table with our go-to Caesar salad recipe, which is close to, if not straight up better than, what you might get at your favorite steakhouse.
What would be July 4th without the red, white, and blue desserts?!!! Nothing. It would be nothing. Kidding–but really, make this fresh, lightly sweet fresh berry tart with a light and creamy sweet mascarpone filling for that festive flair your Instagram post yearns for.
16. Basil Berry Cake
If you’re tired of your standard berry cakes, this basil berry cake is a major showstopper–looks, but more importantly, taste-wise. We’ve piloted this little gem at picnics and it gets positively gobbled and coveted. The combination of summer berries and light yellow cake laced with tart lemon-basil sugar makes for a unique and memorable dessert. People will be asking you for the recipe. Whipped cream is obligatory.
This is one of our first posts *EVER* and subpar photo aside, is a great way to kick up your classic Arnold Palmer. Some things just stand the test of time and this pitcher of oolong tea, spiked with sparkling water and strawberry puree is one of them. Enjoy this cool drink all summer long!
Happy July 4th, everyone!