What to CookEntertainingGrillingSummerHolidaysFourth of July

A Guide to Throwing a Better Cookout—Whatever that Means to You

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So much of July Fourth, like New Year's Eve, feels all about the hype. The latter is the former's dead-of-winter, beglittered, late-night cousin. If you're not kissing someone at midnight—or having a rosé explosion-cum-picnic on a vast stretch of grass with the world's most Instagram-worthy pie, well...

16 All-American Classics for the Fourth of July
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16 All-American Classics for the Fourth of July

This Fourth, our resolution is to take it easy: no picnicking stress. Beautiful pies only if we feel like it (and otherwise, schlumpf, please). Homemade sparklers, maybe—we do have a DIY for them, and they're fun and beautiful. But store-bought'll do, too. So will whatever fireworks show happens to be going on nearby (even if it's just your neighbors lighting possibly-illegal ones in the street). Go for a full, beautiful, Americana-forward spread, or grab a pack of ice pops and a case of beer from the store and call it a (very nice) summer day.

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Whichever route you choose, we still think you'll find something good—worth grilling or baking or sipping—from the list of our favorite recipes and tips below. But hey! Don't feel like you have to make everything. Holiday weekends are meant for relaxing, after all:

There's the grill fare, of course.

All Our Best Tips for Making the Best Burgers—in One Place
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All Our Best Tips for Making the Best Burgers—in One Place
The Easiest, Fastest (3-Minute!) Way to Grill Fish
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The Easiest, Fastest (3-Minute!) Way to Grill Fish
How to Make the Genius Smashed Cheeseburger Even Juicier
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How to Make the Genius Smashed Cheeseburger Even Juicier
Don't Make Another Hamburger: This Steak Salad is a Better Use of Your Grill
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Don't Make Another Hamburger: This Steak Salad is a Better Use of Your Grill
40 Recipes to Kick Off Your Grilling Season
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40 Recipes to Kick Off Your Grilling Season
5 Ways to Hit Your Hot Dogs out of the Park
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5 Ways to Hit Your Hot Dogs out of the Park

But the picnic sides are just as (if not more!) important!

17 Sides for Cookouts, Barbecues, and Any Sort of Picnic
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17 Sides for Cookouts, Barbecues, and Any Sort of Picnic
How to Make Slaw without a Recipe
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How to Make Slaw without a Recipe
13 Last-Minute Snack Ideas for Celebrating America's Independence
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13 Last-Minute Snack Ideas for Celebrating America's Independence
How to Make Potato Salad Without a Recipe
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How to Make Potato Salad Without a Recipe
17 Ways to Eat Chips & Dip for Dinner
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17 Ways to Eat Chips & Dip for Dinner

And then you'll need to wash it down with something.

A Strawberry-Lemon Radler (or Shandy, or Neither?)
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A Strawberry-Lemon Radler (or Shandy, or Neither?)
How to Make Any Type of Lemonade Without a Recipe
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How to Make Any Type of Lemonade Without a Recipe
The Elements of a Proper Punch—and a Summery One to Drink Now
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The Elements of a Proper Punch—and a Summery One to Drink Now

But wait! There's pie! (And lots of other summery treats.)

9 Ways to Snazzy Up Your Pie Edges
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9 Ways to Snazzy Up Your Pie Edges
What's Better than Fried Ice Cream, with No Frying Involved?
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What's Better than Fried Ice Cream, with No Frying Involved?
14 Crisps, Crumbles, Cobblers, and Buckles to Make with Summer Fruit
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14 Crisps, Crumbles, Cobblers, and Buckles to Make with Summer Fruit
Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches That Are Better than Fireworks
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Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches That Are Better than Fireworks
6 Pies That Are Anything but Humble
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6 Pies That Are Anything but Humble
How to Make Flavored Marshmallows for All Your Summer S'mores
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How to Make Flavored Marshmallows for All Your Summer S'mores
How to Build a Better Beer Float
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How to Build a Better Beer Float
How to Make Any Ice Pops Without a Recipe
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How to Make Any Ice Pops Without a Recipe
7 Ways to Doll Up a Perfectly Delicious Cocoa Brownie
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7 Ways to Doll Up a Perfectly Delicious Cocoa Brownie

Now for the special effects!

How to DIY Sparklers—Because You Can!
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How to DIY Sparklers—Because You Can!

What's on your July 4th menu? How will you be celebrating? Share your ideas in the comments.


Our magical menu genie will plan your holiay feast for you.

Tags: july 4th, picnics, cookouts, pie tips, summer desserts, summer menus