Before loading the blanket in the car and heading for the annual fireworks and funnel cakes extravaganza, something has to hit the grill for the evening barbecue. Everyone has a favorite that speaks “July 4th backyard barbecue” to them—pasta salad, watermelon, hamburgers, macaroni salad, baked beans, BBQ pork sandwiches, potato salad, steaks, apple pie, and sweet iced tea—all of it worthy of celebrating independence, American-style.
In case you are looking to add something new to your list of favorites or planning a barbecue of your own for the first time, here are a few recipes to consider. The beauty of this menu is the timing of it all. Guests can munch on hummus or salsa while ribs finish in the oven, beans stay warm in the crockpot, and dressed slaw marinates in the fridge. Meanwhile, everyone is enjoying ice-cold Strawberry Lemonade or Rosé Sangrias as the vegetables and corn finish grilling.
JULY 4th BBQ MENU
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Yield: 2 cups
6 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
14 ounces chickpeas — drained and rinsed
1/2 whole red pepper — roasted
1 large garlic clove — minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
pinch of cayenne
Roast red pepper, skin side up, under a broiler until skin blisters and is blackened in spots. Remove from oven and place pepper in a plastic bag to cool–the steam in the bag will make it easier to remove the skin. Once the pepper has cooled, remove the skin and coarsely chop the pepper. Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in small bowl or measuring cup.
Process chickpeas, roasted red peppers, garlic, salt, and cayenne in food processor until chickpeas are almost smooth. Add lemon juice and tahini, scrape down bowl and continue to process until well incorporated, about 1 minute. With machine running, add oil in steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds.
Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle with parsley, cover with plastic wrap; let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Serve with pita chips or rosemary crackers.
Missouri-Style Baby Back Ribs
“Show-Me” barbecue sauce is the perfect sweet-smoky way to bring out the great flavor of tender slow-roasted ribs.
1-2 racks baby back pork ribs (4-5 lbs)
3/4 cup Lawry’s Mesquite Marinade (optional)
3/4 tablespoon Italian seasoning
3/4 tablespoon onion powder
3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Paul Prudhomme Meat Magic
1 tablespoon cumin — ground
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bottles beer — preferable Guinness
1 bottle Show-Me BBQ Sauce — or your favorite
Grill & Oven Method:
Season ribs with the Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, Meat Magic, cumin, and black pepper. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (The step of seasoning overnight can be skipped if there is a time constraint.) In a charcoal grill, arrange hot coals on one side in the bottom of the grill to create a hot side and a cool side. Grill ribs over coals to sear, rotating to cool side of grill to avoid charring.
Grill for 30-40 minutes to allow meat to pick up smoky flavor. Remove from grill and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Baste with marinade and Worcestershire sauce. Pour beer in the bottom of the pan and cover with a tent of aluminum foil. Bake at 325° for 3 hours or until meat is tender and loosening from the bone. Uncover, baste with barbecue sauce and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until sauce caramelizes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut ribs between the bones and serve.
Season ribs with the Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, Meat Magic, cumin, and black pepper. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (The step of seasoning overnight can be skipped if there is a time constraint.) Heat oven to 325°F.
Place ribs in roasting pan and evenly baste seasoned ribs with marinade and Worcestershire sauce. Pour beer in the bottom of the pan and cover with a tent of aluminum foil. Bake at 325° for 3-4 hours or until meat is tender and loosening from the bone. Uncover, baste with barbecue sauce, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until sauce caramelizes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut ribs between the bones and serve.
NOTES: Ribs can be prepared in advance and frozen. When prepared ahead of time, omit barbecue sauce until ribs are reheated.
1 medium zucchini — sliced 1/4″ thick, lengthwise
1 medium yellow summer squash — sliced 1/4″ thick, lengthwise
2 large sweet onions — sliced 1/4″ thick, in rings
1 whole red bell pepper — cut into 2″ pieces
1 whole yellow bell pepper
1 pound cherry tomatoes — stems removed
10 cloves garlic — unpeeled
salt and pepper
favorite spice such as Italian seasoning, curry, granulated garlic, etc.
Prep vegetables as directed. Skewer peppers together, cherry tomatoes together, and garlic cloves together.
Arrange prepared vegetables and skewers on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any favorite spice— Italian seasoning, curry, granulated garlic, etc. (simple salt & pepper works great by itself too).
Let vegetables sit for 10-15 minutes and then grill over med-high heat until just tender and striped with grill marks. Remove each type of vegetable when done and place back on rimmed baking sheet.
Remove skewers from tomatoes, peppers, and garlic. Remove peel from garlic and slice squash (roasted garlic should pop right out). Mix vegetables together in a large serving tray and serve warm.
NOTES: Smaller squash can be halved lengthwise rather than cut into slices. By placing like items on skewers–tomatoes with tomatoes, pepper with peppers, etc.–each one can be removed from the heat when done without leaving other items uncooked. Finished vegetables can be placed in a warm oven until ready to serve.
So, what food says, “July 4th backyard bBQ” to you?
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