American holidays are often centered around a few traditional, staple dishes, and the Fourth of July is no exception. Just like how Thanksgiving is all about the oven — turkey, sweet potato casseroles, and pumpkin pies — the Fourth of July is all about the grill. Seasonally, it makes sense. Thanksgiving, at least for East coasters, is right about when the weather is becoming reliably chilly, while the Fourth of July is just about when the weather is becoming reliably hot, making the grill a great choice for cooking up a meal. And really, is there any better way to prepare for the fireworks than by firing up the grill?
Any big national holiday is somewhere between a joyful and ulcer-inducing occasion for home cooks. Who will you invite? What will your menu be? When will you prepare everything? And how do you produce a patriotic spread and entertain your guests at the same time?
Here’s an easy trick: Pick one cooking method, and stick to it like molasses. In other words, don’t bounce back and forth between the grill outside and the kitchen inside.
If grilling is what’s expected on the Fourth, use that to your advantage. Grill appetizers, grill entrees, grill sides, and grill desserts. And think outside the gas tank about what you’re throwing on the grates. Why just do hamburgers and hot dogs? Every neighbor on both sides of the block is doing that, and this holiday is all about independent thinking anyway.
We’ve collected the best of The Daily Meal’s grilling recipes for you — see them as some creative lighter fluid to spark your menu planning. Because when people in this country start putting hamburgers on doughnuts, you know, maybe it’s time for a new tradition. How about alligator ribs — anyone?