BBQ Recipes for the Best 4th of July Ever!

Calico Corn Salad. Photo by Elise Thompson.

Yes, I understand it is a hyperbolic title, but just because we have to forgo the usual 4th of July traditions of partying and blowing shit up, it doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome meal with your loved ones. Here are some of my favorite BBQ recipes to get you started. Here’s to the best 4th of July meal ever!!!


Jalapeno powder can be found in specialty hot sauce stores or over the internet. You can substitute other chili powders. I use it for steaks, but you can be creative. I HAVE INCLUDED THE BULK MEASUREMENT. USE CAUTION WHEN MAKING IT IN BULK…GLOVES AND GOGGLES IF YOU HAVE THEM.

4 tablespoons freshly ground pepper (2 cups)

3 Tablespoons garlic powder (1 ½ cups)

1 Tablespoon garlic salt (1/2 cup)

2 Tablespoons onion powder (1 cup)

2 teaspoons oregano (1/3 cup)

2 teaspoons ground cumin (1/3 cup)

1 teaspoon ground jalapeno powder (1/4 cup)

Measure all ingredients into a bowl. Stir together.

Pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Rub onto steaks before barbecuing.


This recipe is many times removed from the original. Good with any cut of pork.

8 Tbsp. light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. allspice

Measure all ingredients into a bowl. Stir together.

Pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Rub onto ribs before barbecuing.


A healthy, vegan side dish from a Taste of Home magazine. I sometimes spoon a little bit onto endive leaves for a fancy appetizer.

1 (16-oz) package frozen corn, thawed
2 small zucchinis, diced
1/4 large red pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 (4-oz) can diced green chiles, drained
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 Tablespoon cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Toss together corn, zucchini, red pepper, onion, and chiles in a large bowl.
Measure remaining ingredients into a jar or bottle with a lid. Shake well.
Pour liquid over salad and stir gently. Refrigerate overnight.


I’m kind of obsessed with my aunt’s ham and cheese mac salad. A lot of people who don’t like gloppy salads like it because there is just enough mayo to lightly coat the pasta.

1 cup dry macaroni

1/2 cup diced ham steak

1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese

1 stalk celery, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook macaroni in boiling, salted water for seven minutes. Drain. Run cold water over macaroni until it is cold. Mix all of the remaining ingredients into the macaroni in a large bowl. Add more mayo if desired. Chill and allow flavors to blend several hours before serving.


12 bone-in chicken breast halves or combo of chicken legs and thighs


1/3 cup olive oil

3 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage


1/3 cup honey

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 drops Tabasco sauce

Mix marinade ingredients in a large bowl.

Add chicken, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate between 3 hours and overnight. Turn chicken occasionally.

Prepare barbecue coals. Mix ingredients for the glaze and set aside.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator and discard marinade.

Grill chicken for at least 15 minutes on each side. Brush with glaze and grill two minutes longer. Turn chicken, brush the other side with glaze and grill two more minutes.


If you don’t have a barbecue grill or it’s too hot and too much of a hassle, this crockpot recipe is perfect. You can serve it on its own or topped with coleslaw on hamburger buns.

3 to 4 pounds pork shoulder roast, boneless

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 chopped onion

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco or similar hot pepper sauce

¼ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons garlic minced

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

¼ tsp dry mustard

1/4 cup ketchup

1 ½ cups apple juice

Put all ingredients in crockpot. Stir gently.

Turn crockpot on to high, then when you have to leave for work or go to bed turn it down to low.

Enjoy in hamburger buns with coleslaw or as a BBQ dish with beans, corn, potatoes, etc.


An easy-to-make retro Southern cake.

1 box yellow cake mix

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup water

4 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

Mix 2 tablespoons of the cake mix with cinnamon, brown sugar and pecans. Set aside.

In a large bowl, blend cake mix, sour cream, oil, water, eggs and sugar. Beat on high
speed for 2 minutes.

Pour 2/3 of the batter into the bundt pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture onto the
batter, avoiding the sides of the pan.

Spread the rest of the batter evenly into the pan, covering the brown sugar mixture.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 25 minutes.

Set a large plate over the bundt pan and carefully flip cake over. Drizzle with glaze.

1 cup powdered sugar 2 tablespoons milk
Blend powdered sugar and milk together until smooth.


If it’s too hot to turn on the oven (sensing a theme here?) this is probably the best no-bake dessert you will ever eat. Some people add sherry, candied cherries, Jell-O, or a bunch of other bullshit. This version is pure, unadulterated perfection–and it’s festive!

1 package Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding mix or Bird’s Custard Powder

Milk for the pudding

1 pound cake

1 basket fresh raspberries

1 basket fresh blueberries

1 or 2 bananas, sliced.

Prepare the pudding and set aside.

Cut cake into 2-inch triangles. Use the cake to line the bottom and the sides of a glass serving bowl. Set remaining cake aside.

Sprinkle a layer of raspberries, bananas and blueberries onto the cake at the bottom of the bowl.

Pour half the pudding into the bowl.

Add a layer of cake slices.

Add another layer of the fruit, and pour the rest of the pudding in.

Decorate the top with blueberries and raspberries.

Chill, and serve with whipped cream.



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Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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2 Responses to BBQ Recipes for the Best 4th of July Ever!

  1. Maureen Elise's cousin says:

    My mom’s macaroni salad recipe made your list! I think she’ll be amazed to see that!

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