The Fourth of July is not only one of America's most important holidays, it's one of our greatest food days. By all means, grill up your hamburgers and hotdogs, whip out that potato salad and cole slaw, and slice up that pie and cobbler. But why not try a few new things this year? Wow your friends with a classic Southern appetizer of Pimento Cheese on celery sticks. Everyone will enjoy ribs cooked low and slow with fragrant fennel seeds and scallion. And who can resist a patriotic cherry pie decorated with stars, or a towering cake with berries spilling over? We've selected our best summer recipes, almost all of which can be made ahead of time. So go ahead and treat your friends and family to some new traditions this year.
Get your party started right with these easy dips. Serve a few different kinds of dippers: kettle chips, tortilla chips, veggies, and pita bread are all great.
Pimento Cheese is a classic Southern tradition, served as an appetizer or snack. I've updated it with bolder flavors that complement the cheese.
Everyone loves hummus, and there's no reason not to make it from scratch.
Tzatziki makes an excellent mid-day snack — it's packed with protein, it contains a decent amount of vegetables, and its bright, clean flavor tastes good on anything.
These recipes are the main attractions, almost all of which can be made a couple days in advance. Prepare your grill right, with coals banked up on one side, to give yourself high, low, and holding heat zones.
This recipe is a real crowed pleaser and encourages people to eat with their hands.
Because a good hamburger deserves a homemade bun.
This easy marinade is a south-of-the-border gateway drug.
To me, softshell crab is the one and only taste of summer.
These are the best Turkey Burgers you will ever have.
These are the ribs you've been searching for. No sauce, no fuss, no attention necessary.
Talk about a weeknight warrior, you don't get any faster than skirt steak.
This is really two great recipes — one for the rub and one for the gremolata.
My favorite thing about grilling is the crispy charred crust that gives way to succulent meat. This dish plays to those attributes with a slightly fatty meat and the use of a gastrique in the marinade.
Don't overlook the importance of side dishes. Even if you can only make a couple of mains, lots of sides can turn dinner into a cookout.
No summer event is complete without a potato salad.
I like my pickles strong. Like really strong.
Carrots are a great vegetable for grilling — they're big enough not to fall through the grates, they take smoke and char very well, and they take a little bit of time to cook, so you don't have to stand around a hot grill.
Instead of roasting it into submission, this is a decidedly summery way to prepare broccolini
Broccolini is a staple in my house and I've made it every way you can think of — but this is our favorite way to eat it.
Condiments are often overlooked in the American style of cooking. But the truth is, they can rescue a mediocre roast and elevate a simple braise.
Ordinarily these two sides would be separate recipes, but together they're a dynamic duo. Add a protein and you have an easy weeknight meal that's interesting enough for company.
As far as vinaigrettes go, this is probably one of the very bests that exist.
This is a great salad to start the new year. The variety of textures, especially the crunchy ones, make this salad more substantial than it appears.
Desserts should be as impactful as mains, and all of ours pack a wallop. Again, most of these can be made ahead of time, so make it easy on yourself and plan ahead.
This pie is patriotic, flavorful, and filled with bourbon. Everything an American should be!
It's like tiramisu on summer vacation.
A true shortcake involves a biscuit; it should be soft and flaky and crumble a bit when you break it.
These popsicles are straight up melon, no filler, and that's exactly how cantaloupe should be enjoyed. Summer on a stick.
You'll think you've died and become Beyoncé.
Good drinks lubricate a party, filling in the empty moments and helping conversation flow smoothly. All of these drinks can be made without alcohol, but you might need it in the summertime heat.
This is what summers are made of.
Also known as sun-sweet tea, this is the official drink of the American South.
If sangria and punch had a baby, it would be this drink.
This punch is as refreshing as it is pretty. What's more, it's easy to remix with your favorite alcohols.