4th of July Main Dishes
Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks
Nothing is as amazing as Freedom. But these main dishes take a close second.
Our first dish is finger-stickin' good: grilled drumsticks slathered in tangy, spicy Buffalo sauce. Bibs and Wet-Naps recommended.
All-American Grilled Burger
Here’s your blueprint for a crowd-pleasing backyard barbecue burger complete with special sauce. The sauce is no secret here: Crunchy iceberg lettuce and pickles provide crunch and tang, all mixed in with ketchup, mustard, and a little hot sauce for kick. We like the texture whole-grain mustard adds to the sauce, but creamy Dijon will work just as well. Don’t overwork the beef as you form the patties so the burgers stay moist and juicy.
Tangy Beer-Can Chicken
The can method keeps the bird moist while it grills because liquid in the can forms steam inside the cavity. Any canned beverage will work, since it won't really impart any noticeable flavor to the chicken. We like the bright, tangy flavor of good old-fashioned yellow mustard here.
Herb-Rubbed Chicken Under a Brick
Brick-pressed chicken cooks quickly and evenly, a great boon to a barbecue host. The key is to spatchcock—or butterfly—the bird, and then press it down flat on the grill with a foil-wrapped brick or cast-iron skillet.
Smashed Double Cheeseburger Sliders
You can easily make these on the grill instead of the stovetop. Just preheat the grill to high, and set a cast-iron skillet on the grill grate to preheat also. Be careful when touching the skillet, as the handle will be extremely hot. A pinch of sugar in the beef patty mixture helps deliver deep-brown, caramelized crust to the burgers without making them taste sweet.
Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon-Cherry BBQ Sauce
This fruity, boozy take on barbecue has all the characteristics of your favorite sauce—deep caramel notes, a savory backbone, and a pleasant vinegar tang. You can sub sweet cherries for sour, adjusting the amount of honey and vinegar to taste. For a shortcut, start with 1 cup purchased unsweetened cherry juice.
Beer-Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce
"I like any recipe that starts with 'open a can of beer and drink half,'" says recipe developer and chef Steven Raichlen. American ingenuity has produced a variety of beer-can roasters that hold the can in place and stabilize the tipsy chicken. Aluminum cans bend easily under the pressure, so when piercing holes, it's a good idea to use a can-holding gadget.
Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Pulled Pork Sliders
These sliders are a saucy mess, in the best way possible—leaving you sweet-tangy drips to lick off your hands. The recipe demonstrates one tasty way to use our recipe. Go for a standard, soft bun here—it's best for barbecue.
Simple, Perfect Fresh-Ground Brisket Burgers
We loved the flavorful patty we got from grinding inexpensive beef brisket. Ask for the flat cut of brisket for the leanest choice. Traditional condiments like ketchup and mustard are an option, but we found this burger so good on its own that all we added was cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
Boiled Shrimp with Tangy Cocktail Sauce
For a full-on shrimp boil feast, pair this dish with boiled fresh corn on the cob and baby red potatoes.
Barbecue Chicken Sliders with Pickled Onions
Shredded, grilled chicken thighs are dipped in Carolina-style barbecue sauce, a vinegar-based mix with mustard, a little honey, seasonings, and butter.
Shrimp, Chorizo, and Corn Salad
Prepping the ingredients takes less than 10 minutes, so you can enjoy the festivities longer.
Cheesesteak Burgers with Pickled Peppers, Onions, and Cucumber
Quick pickles add tangy crunch to our fresh riff on the cheesesteak sandwich. Avoid overworking the meat when you mix and shape the patties; you run the risk of making them tough.
Chicago Char Dog with Fresh Cucumber Relish
Nothing is more American than a hotdog. Classic Chicago dogs are served in poppy seed buns, but if you can't find them, lightly brush buns with egg white and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Toast in the oven at 350° for 2 to 3 minutes.
Applewood-Smoked Chicken with Dijon Rub
Our savory smoked chicken is equally delicious served cold or at room temperature, so you can cook it well in advance of your get-together. If you have leftovers, shred the meat and stir into leftover Kamut salad—instant lunch.
Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs
If you would rather not use tequila, you can substitute 1/3 cup pineapple juice. Start the grilling over direct heat to get good grill marks and charred bits, and then move to indirect heat to gently finish the cooking.
Grilled Farmers' Market Sandwiches
The stack of grilled eggplant, red onion, and zucchini are quite a mouthful but still tasty to eat.
Lamb Burgers with Feta-Mint Spread
We combine ground lamb with lean ground sirloin for a less fatty patty; you can also use all sirloin. Try our grilled asparagus spears in place of fries: They get deliciously charred in the pan.
Grilled Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Bacon Pizza
A leggy cousin of broccoli, the delicate purple florets and thin stems of purple sprouting broccoli make an ideal topping for grilled pizza. Perfect for sharing.
Buffalo Chicken Sliders
For this slider, we tuck the usual Buffalo wing accompaniments—carrots and celery—inside the patty. This gives you all the flavors of a wing plate while also helping to keep the lean breast meat moist. When shredding the celery (so that it incorporates nicely), you'll have to stop occasionally to pull and discard the strings. Be sure to search for celery bunches with nice, fresh leaves still attached.