40 Recipes to Help You Go All-Out This 4th of July

Buttery crab on a hot dog? You betcha.

By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on July 16, 2021

Grilling is a Fourth of July tradition so important it’s a near patriotic duty. Nothing says U.S.A. more than juicy steaks, tender ribs, and a classic burger. But this year, elevate your grill game with creative marinades (blueberry, anyone?) and rubs guaranteed to draw a crowd from down the whole block. Shake up the usual hot dog condiments on offer with toppings such as buttery crab—no ketchup required!. And even though beef may be top dog at the barbecue, don’t underestimate the flavor lamb can bring. 

For a twist on summer mainstays, make your sides the main attraction, like adding pesto or chive mayonnaise to your potato salad repertoire and spiking your watermelon platter with lime salt and habanero pickled onions. And because the Fourth of July just so happens to fall in peak season for cherries, blueberries, and blackberries, serve up a cobbler, crisp, or classic pie topped with homemade vanilla ice cream—it is a holiday, after all.

Grilling then smoking these ribs gives them the perfect crust and soulful flavor. Get the recipe for Char-Smoked Baby Back Ribs »

Similar to a shrub—a fruit syrup punctuated by vinegar—this "Blue Q" sauce just so happens to make a bracing drink when mixed with club soda or booze. Brush it on your chicken toward the end of cooking and let the meat soak up more of the berry flavor before serving. Get the recipe for Blueberry Barbecue Chicken »

At the Marketplace at Emerald Valley in Washington, Pennsylvania, lemon zest and fresh mint go into every lamb burger patty. A tangle of sweet balsamic onions, a hint of chile, and briny feta balance the charred meat and brioche bun. Ground lamb falls on the fattier side; if using a grill, watch out for flare-ups. Get the recipe for Lamb Burger with Mint, Feta, and Balsamic Onions »

A three-day brining, smoking, and charring process adds incredible flavor to these ribs from chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston. The result tastes like grilled bacon. Get the recipe for Mustard-Glazed Ham Ribs »

This T-bone steak is grilled with a simple rub of ground fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and red chile flakes. Get the recipe for Giant Fennel-Chile-Rubbed Steak »

Season the steak off the grill to accentuate the flavor of this smoky, slow-grilled ribeye. Get the recipe for Grilled Bone-In Ribeye »

The all-brisket patty for this burger—from San Francisco's Wes Rowe, a pop-up burger slinger—is grilled, but in a cast-iron pan over the flame. Get the recipe for The “Grill Everything but the Burger” Brisket Burger »

Fatty lamb ribs are rubbed with spices and glazed with harissa-laced barbecue sauce, yielding an irresistible sticky-sweet crust. Get the recipe for Lamb Ribs with Spicy Harissa Barbecue Sauce »

This recipe for hickory-smoked chicken sandwiches served with tangy, mayonnaise-based white sauce originated in 1925, when railway worker Big Bob Gibson dug a pit in his backyard in Decatur, Alabama, nailed a plank-oak serving table to a sycamore tree, and started smoking barbecue for friends, co-workers, and passersby. Get the recipe for Alabama-Style Chicken with White Sauce »

In Lexington, North Carolina, pork shoulder is chopped and served with a tart tomato-based sauce. Get the recipe for Lexington Pulled Pork »

Brisket is braised in stout, bourbon, and soy sauce in these spicy pimento cheese-topped sliders from Edward Lee, executive chef at 610 Magnolia in Louisville, KY. Get the recipe for Braised Brisket Burgers with Pimento Cheese »

The fiery chile-based rub on this chicken is balanced by a basting of sweet-sour duck sauce. Get the recipe for Spice-Rubbed Chicken with Duck Sauce »

Throw this easy, gherkin-flecked potato salad on a hot dog, or simply eat it on its own. Get the recipe for Potato Salad Hot Dog »

Buttery corn, fresh crab, and Old Bay-spiced potato chips are piled on top this Maryland-inspired hot dog. Get the recipe for Maryland Crab Hot Dog »

Hot coals char the lobster shells and impart a subtle smokiness to the sweet meat. You can upgrade the classic sides, too, by blackening the corn a bit and adding tangy grilled tomatillos and briny raw oysters. Get the recipe for Coal-Grilled Lobsters with Charred Corn, Tomatillos, and Blue Potatoes »

Contrary to conventional technique, chef José Andrés gets smoke from his coals for these grilled oysters by flicking melted butter around them as they cook. Get the recipe for Grilled Oysters »

In this summery take on cheese dip, chef Sara Hauman of Huxley in San Fransisco tosses grilled sweet corn into a pool of milky ricotta, aromatics, and herbs, then bakes the mixture until it’s bubbling and brown. Get the recipe for Grilled Corn and Ricotta Dip »

This recipe is a far cry from the gloopy, mayonnaise-like onion dip you'll find in a jar at your local grocery store. It's light, tangy, and inspired by Persian mast-o-musir, a mix of diced shallots and yogurt or labneh. Here, the alliums are lightly cooked to soften their bite; it's the perfect thing to make for a beach picnic or summer cookout. Get the recipe for Sautéed Onion and Yogurt Dip »

Homemade lime salt brings out the sweetness of fresh watermelon in this lively salad and plays well with the crisp radishes and tangy onions. Get the recipe for Watermelon Salad with Habanero-Pickled Onions and Lime Salt »

In this elegant dessert, cantaloupe is grilled until it caramelizes and is then dressed with agrodolce, a sour-sweet Italian sauce made by reducing vinegar and sugar. Get the recipe for Grilled Cantaloupe with Peach Agrodolce »

Chef Bill Smith of Crook's Corner, a restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, serves a version of this refreshing dish during the late summer. Smith says he developed the salad after paying a visit to a few of his former cooks in Mexico, where he discovered a range of dishes that melded sweet, spicy, and sour flavors. Get the recipe for Watermelon and Tomato Salad »

This cool, creamy potato salad is spiked with pickle relish and red onion. Get the recipe for Potato Salad with Red Onion »

Boiling potatoes whole and unpeeled means they don't absorb too much water as they cook. Mixing them with an egg yolk and olive oil yields a rich dressing without the heavy creaminess of mayonnaise. Get the recipe for Ignacio Mattos' Potato Salad »

Serve this simple and bright potato salad warm or cold alongside grilled or roasted meats and seafood. Get the recipe for Pesto Potato Salad »

This recipe came about when a fat bunch of chives was threatening to wilt in the fridge. Our test kitchen director, Farideh Sadeghin, suggested making chive oil, and then chive mayonnaise. Just add cute fingerlings from the market, and a satisfying salad is born. Get the recipe for Fingerling Potato Salad with Chive Mayonnaise »

A healthy dose of celery seeds and sharp Dijon mustard add a kick to this mashed potato and egg salad. Get the recipe for Jude's Perfect Potato Salad »

In this offbeat slaw from chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston, raw red cabbage adds a textural contrast to the grilled green cabbage, and a zippy, spicy-sweet-salty dressing goes well with the charred bits. Get the recipe for Charred Cabbage Slaw »

The classic mayonnaise-based coleslaw cabbage recipe is bolstered here by the addition of mustard. Get the recipe for Tennessee-Style Mustard Coleslaw »

Pasta salads are essential summer food: they travel well; they're easy to adapt to whatever produce you have on-hand; and they're simple to make in large batches—in other words, the ideal dish to bring to a picnic, backyard party, or barbecue. Get the recipe for Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad »

This summer mainstay is elevated with grilled sweet corn, plus fresh edamame in place of the traditional limas. Get the recipe for Summer Succotash Salad »

Instead of making a traditional vinaigrette, try using vegetables to flavor themselves. Take Martha's Vineyard native Chris Fischer's vinaigrette for his tomato-onion-mint salad: A hefty pinch of kosher salt helps draw out juices from split cherry tomatoes, then those juices mix with a glug of red wine vinegar and olive oil to make a tomato-rich dressing, no separate bowl or whisk required. Get the recipe for Marinated Tomatoes with Mint »

Akin to Puerto Rican escabeche, roasted, tender vegetables are marinated in a simple sherry vinegar dressing for an easy side dish to grilled fish, roast pork, or tender rib eye steak. Get the recipe for Escalivada Catalana »

These tender Spanish green onions, always served with Romesco sauce, are a classic springtime treat. Get the recipe for Grilled Calçots and Asparagus with Romesco Sauce »

If you are lucky enough to find yourself with an overabundance of blueberries, this easy-to-make crisp is a delicious way to prepare them. It can also be made with peaches, plums, or other summer berries. Get the recipe for Blueberry Crisp »

Barry Sorkin from Smoque has a bold claim about their peach cobbler. “It’s kind of like a fruit cup. You could almost argue it’s breakfast food if you want.” A roasted almond streusel on top adds a complex nutty complement that just might convince you to make it the first thing you eat in the morning. Get the recipe for Peach Cobbler »

Buttery pastry perfectly offsets sour cherries’ puckery, sweet-tart punch in this summer party-ready pie. Get the recipe for Get the recipe for Sour Cherry Pie »

Roasting strawberries over mellow, barely glowing embers turns them from bright red bulbs to plump crimson pillows of deeply sweet juice. Get the recipe for Grilled Strawberries »

A brush of egg wash and sprinkling of raw sugar give this summer fruit pie the most beautiful burnished crust. Get the recipe for Nectarine and Huckleberry Pie »

Serve this fruit crumble with a cup of coffee for breakfast or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. Get the recipe for Sour Cherry Crumble »

This clever dessert fills a spicy gingersnap pie crust with an apple pie-inspired ice cream. The dish works just as well made with pears, quince, or even sweet potatoes in place of the apples. Get the recipe for Apple Pie Ice Cream Pie »

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