It wouldn’t be the Independence Day you know and love without a classic 4th of July BBQ. Invite all your friends and family, because we’ve put together a list of the best food, games and decoration ideas that’ll make yours more patriotic than a bald eagle chillin’ in an Uncle Sam hat.
1. Plan ahead
If you’re planning a BBQ party for the 4th of July, you’re going to have some competition. Anyone with access to some American-flag shorts and a box of fireworks is going to be eyeing those beef patties and red solo cups, so make sure you sweep the supermarket and superstores to get grilling essentials and star-spangled decorations.
Once you’ve got your invites out and your supplies stocked up, you might want to think about your timing, too. Nobody wants to turn up hungry mid-afternoon only to spend hours watching you try and light a charcoal BBQ.
2. S’mores, cupcakes, and ice cream, oh my!
Keep the kids entertained all afternoon at a snack table filled with delicious activities. S’mores are a classic treat that they can quickly assemble by themselves, and all you need to do is wrap them in some tin foil and throw them onto the grill.
Why not set up a cupcake decorating station with red, blue and white icing? Just don’t forget the star-shaped sprinkles to add the perfect finishing touch. Got leftover sprinkles? Pour them onto a platter and let the kids roll their ice cream cones in there. Voila! Instagram-worthy desserts.
3. And don’t forget drinks
All that celebrating will leave you thirsty. Fill up your drinks cabinet ahead of time with a variety of soft and alcoholic drinks. Summertime favorites like punch, lemonade, and mocktails are great for keeping your guests cool, and don’t forget the compulsory BBQ beer.
Stick with the theme: shake up some red cranberry cocktails, white pina coladas, and blue lagoons to impress your guests with your bartending skills. And if you really want to up your hosting game? Fill up those sangria pitchers with fruits cut into stars, or even use star-shaped ice molds (with your berries and mint leaves frozen in with the ice) to really go the extra mile.
4. Don’t scrimp on side dishes
Your meat dishes might be the main event, but what’s a BBQ without creamy mashed potatoes and buttery corn on the cob? When you’re planning your menu, remember to leave plenty of space for side dishes. Potatoes in pretty much any form are always a crowd-pleaser, and so is garlic bread, pasta salad and coleslaw. Better yet, order in a variety of sides so you can focus on the main event.
And try mass preparing or ordering tasty nibbles beforehand, such as nachos, vegetable platters, popcorn, and pigs in blankets, to help tide your guests over while you worry about the grill. Are the kids getting bored? Roll up those big, floppy colored paper plates into cones for them to fill with treats, such as chocolate covered pretzels and berries, for a fun and easy way for their small hands to hold onto their goodies when they want to be on their feet.
5. Set the mood with exciting decorations
Turn your backyard into an all-American wonderland - when it comes to stars and stripes, you’re going to need it in your backyard. Start by welcoming your guests with their very own painted mason jar, decorated with a ribbon and string tied around the handles and filled with candy and the utensils they’ll need to enjoy your delicious food.
When they make their way to the backyard, have them walk through a colorful curtain of stars. You can easily make this by cutting out some colored stars and gluing them in a line down pieces of string for your very own hanging curtains to decorate doorways with (or hide the mess you made in the kitchen preparing for the big party - oops!).
The best part about decorations? If you run out of time when your guests arrive, you can easily let the kids entertain themselves by blowing up balloons and hanging streamers for you.
6. Liven up the party with games
Some people will tell you that they don’t like it when hosts make people play party games. Change their minds! Who doesn’t like a good-ol’ scavenger hunt or a great game of baseball?
If you think your guests will be game, plan a costume contest and give prizes for the most patriotic outfit -- extra points for anyone who commits to a full Uncle Sam look. If you still need a little something to add some excitement, it’s time to pull out the water balloons.
Here’s to the land of the free, home of the brave and some of the best BBQ around! Make this year’s 4th of July BBQ the best yet with a little help from Uber Eats!