4th of July Barbecue Party Tips

The first American holiday of summer is finally here! This is very exciting… until you realize it’s a Wednesday and unless you have extra vacation time you can’t really let loose.

However, that doesn’t mean you should just pop a hot dog in the microwave, run through a broken sprinkler and call it a day. People are excited about the 4th, ready to celebrate and eat barbequed treats. Fortunately, most of us have a strong idea for what to prepare. And there’s no need to worry about whether your BBQ bash will leave your guests raving. Just check out our five tips to help ensure success.

1. The most common and inexpensive option for decorating is the traditional red-and-white checkered tablecloth, and it looks great on any picnic table. To kick your style up a notch, sprinkle some blue confetti on top of the table, tape blue bows to the legs, and mix and match plates to add unexpected bursts of color.

2. No table is complete without a festive, celebratory centerpiece. You can create something delicious using blueberries, strawberries and cream or decorative with Roman candles, torches and sparklers. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

For flowers, keep it simple, bright and white. Try small mason jars with 4-5 white tulips in each, placed in a couple strategic locations.

Remember, decorations should enhance the setting, not get in the way of the food. And there’s nothing worse than the mad scramble where the food arrives and suddenly everyone is looking for places to put those festive adornments. Keep them tasteful and simple.

3. A real American flag (as opposed to a banner with the symbol printed on it, is a natural addition. That said, make sure to respect this American symbol and follow proper flag etiquette. Never use an American flag as a napkin or handkerchief. Don’t serve dinner on it. Don’t use it as a decoration. Don’t burn it.

Here’s a fun video we found from Home Seasons, a fun website that offers cool tips for decorating during different times of year.

4. Hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and babyback ribs are BBQ staples on Independence Day. But you can also keep your health-conscious guests happy by Shish Kebabing with tofu and vegetables, salmon, and ground chicken. This will add more variety to the fixings, and your friends will be thankful for your thoughtfulness.

5. Everyone will be waiting to see the red, white and blue desserts. Don’t disappoint them. Strawberry shortcake on a hot summer day is always a crowd-pleaser. Blueberry upside down cake is sinfully delicious. A rhubarb, blueberry and whipped cream parfait has been known to blow minds. And red velvet cupcakes topped with white frosting and blueberries will have your guests coming back for seconds, so make sure you bake plenty.

Our favorite pick? This pretty, patriotic delight from the Food Network Kitchens called the Flag Cake. Their recipe calls for baking the entire cake from scratch, but if you’re pressed for time we’re pretty sure you could use a box brand. Still, just by putting in that little extra effort to make it yourself will wow the crowd, show them you really care, and make you the star of the barbecue.

Have a safe 4th of July!