Chances are, your Fourth of July plans revolve more around food than fireworks. Whether you’re standing by the smoker, packing a picnic, or putting together a spread for family— we’ve got the recipes to kick off your holiday weekend.
Michael Letchworth, of Sam Jones BBQ in North Carolina, deems a Lowcountry boil a staple solution to feed a crowd in the South. In Letchworth’s words, “I like something I can dump on the table, then roll up the tablecloth afterwards and toss it.” With straightforward seasoning, minimal cook time, and pounds of fresh seafood, the end result is a bountiful feast.
In similar suit, Sam Jones also shares a scaleable recipe for their infamous baked beans in Jones’ cookbook, Whole Hog BBQ. Adapted from his great uncle’s original, Jones’ beans are smothered in Sweet BBQ Sauce. This simple tomato-based sauce isn’t too thick and provides a tangy, brown-sugar base for simmering the meat and beans.
Down the road in Durham, North Carolina, Jake Wood of Lawrence Barbecue shares his family recipe for smoked wings with an Alabama-style white sauce. Wood is committed to making most everything from scratch at Lawrence Barbecue, but he will make an exception when it comes to Duke’s Mayonnaise. The Alabama-style white sauce is prominently Duke’s Mayo, married with fresh cilantro and a hint of lime. After all, Wood says, “Growing up, it was Duke’s or nothing.” Making 10 pounds of chicken wings, this recipe is designed to feed a crowd.
For a light and fresh Fourth of July side with no oven or grill necessary, we suggest slicing up these watermelon skewers from Lauren Utvich. With a splash of tequila and a blend of chile, lime, and salt, these skewers elevate the sweet melon to become a showstopping side dish.
Venture on up to Nashville, where Pat Martin of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint shares his barbecue seven-layer dip, an option that’s loaded with protein, powerful flavor, and shareable for a large Fourth of July crowd. Although it share similarities with a typical seven-layer dip that includes guacamole, sour cream, ground beef, onion, and beans, Martin’s version amplifies that summertime barbecue essence by adding sour pickle chips, crunchy potato chips, and his signature Sweet Dixie Bar-B-Que Sauce for layers of tangy flavor.
Or take a hint from the brothers behind Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. They had the mains for their decadent spread catered—perfect if you don’t have the patience for low-and-slow—and whipped up some stellar sides to go with. We’re partial to their cheddar fritters with chow chow and spicy aïoli. Soft and crumbly from the buttermilk, these fritters combine the sharp tang of cheddar cheese with a bite of chives. Combine with an herbaceous and tangy chow chow and a simple, spicy aïoli for a balanced side dish.
To complete your feast, we recommend blending up a batch of frozen old fashioneds for your Fourth of July crowd. Built to withstand the heat, these slushy treats are unmatched as a batch cocktail. Serve with a cocktail cherry and a few dashes of your favorite bitters: Our go-to is Woodster’s smoked orange bitters to further emphasize the underlying citrus.
Try these Fourth of July Recipes
- by Erin Byers Murray
- by Amber Chase