Bruce Springsteen. Grill mastery. Red and white checkered table cloths. Uncle Pete's dilapidated 24-year-old American flag tank top. Independence Day weekend is usually pretty predictable. Let St. Louis Park Patch spice things up with our five essential picks for a Fourth of July BBQ.
- Lance's Blue Cheese Dip: Crumble half a block of blue cheese into a bowl. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of sour cream, 1-3 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (crushed), a teaspoon or so of sugar, however much salt you may fancy, black pepper and a quarter cup of milk. Mash it up with a fork. Chill in the fridge for a half hour before serving. It will be watery right after you make it but will thicken up in the fridge. Serve with potato chips, tortilla dips, or as a side on a veggie platter. is king when it comes to finding these ingredients.
- Mom's Star-Shaped Sugar Cookies: Since you're probably busy this weekend, you might as well skip making these from scratch and head to Byerly's to buy some sugar cookie dough and a star-shaped cookie cutter. Add some red and blue food coloring (the natural color of the cookies is pale enough to pass as a patriotic white) before placing these cookies on a sheet two inches apart and baking in a 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Kids will love these, and so will adults will a sweet tooth.
- The American Potato Salad: It's not an outdoor summer barbecue without Mom's potato salad, even if Dad makes it. You'll need to soft boil 6-8 potatoes and hard boil 10 eggs first. While that is happening you can throw one chopped onion, a number of chopped dill pickles (as many as you prefer) and 2 cups of mayonnaise into a bowl. When the taters are done, peel and chop those. Chop the eggs. When complete, stir all of the ingredients together in a large salad bowl and plop it in the fridge for a little more than a half hour.
- Burger Done Right: Burgers are even easier than the potato salad. You hardly even need a recipe as much as you need someone who knows when the meat looks safe to eat. However, allow us to give you a delicious list of things to jazz up your burger outside of the standard cheese, ketchup and mustard. Any or all of the following extras will do: fried egg, avocado, salted tomato, jalapenos, Worcestershire sauce (say "Wooster"—it's easier and funny), pickled beets, black olives and a couple potato chips for crunch. Oh, and if you'd like to make your own "special sauce," combine equal parts mayonnaise and Thousand Island together and stir it up.
- Beer: This isn't really a recipe, but it's an obvious, no-brainer addition. If you're over 21 and are having your over-21 friends and family over for a holiday gathering, you might as well head on down to and stock up on some barley pops. Might as well throw in a six-pack of Budweiser. After all, it is "The Great American Beer." What could be better on Independence Day?
Author's note: As recipes go, feel free to pass these on. The author pulled them from his girlfriend, mother, bandmate and a neighborhood liquor store's fridge.