Friday Recipe Exchange: Fourth of July Cookout Ideas

tamara iced drink

From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

Since the 4th of July is barreling toward us, I thought I should get some ideas together. This is absolutely my favorite holiday. Food, fireworks and friends, what could be better? So let’s jump right into the food portion of our festivities.

These are quick and easy ribs if you don’t want to do the smoke for the whole day style, the citrus glaze is the star of this recipe: Baby Back Ribs with Citrus Glaze (recipe here).

Buttermilk Pie (click here) with get all the ooo’s and aaahhh’s until the fireworks, anyway. As pretty as it is tasty.

JeffreyW makes a Classic Orange/Lemon Shakeup (pictured above and recipe here).

And for a different take on cucumber salad, how about Minted Cucumbers (recipe here).

Hopefully that will give you some ideas for your own July 4th celebration. What’s on your menu for this weekend and for the holiday? What are your favorite recipes for the celebration? We always have to leave room for the funnel cake at the fireworks. Hit the comments to share your recipes and what you like to do on the 4th.

Tonight’s featured recipe is one I made a few years ago on a whim, inspired by a recipe I didn’t follow for various reasons, and I get requests for it every July 4th now. Because it’s a kabob style, it’s a bit labor intensive, but you can prepare all of it the day before. If you want your chicken even drunker, you can soak it in the extra bourbon overnight.

tamara drunken chicken kebabs

Grilled Bourbon Chicken Appetizers
12 servings

1- 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Bourbon whisky (how much you use and what you do with the leftover is between you and your bottle)
8 oz pineapple chunks
12 strips of sliced bacon (should be a pound)
12 short wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes before assembling and grilling*

Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch x 2-inch cubes, you should have 36 pieces (you can soak in bourbon if you like)

Mix together Chipotle peppers, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and add enough whisky and pineapple juice to make a thick sauce. Cover chicken cubes on all side with sauce and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

To assemble: Start with a pineapple chunk, add one end of full bacon strip, add chicken cube, then wrap bacon around the top of the cube and skewer, add another cube of chicken, wrap bacon around the bottom of that piece of chicken, then skewer, add a third and repeat with the bacon strip, you’re creating a ribbon with the bacon. Finish with a pineapple chunk.

(And I wish I had a photo of that step for you, but we got so busy doing them, I forgot to get the camera out. When I make them this year, I’ll remember, promise. I barely got a finished picture, had to grab someone’s plate before they started munching).

Grill over medium high heat (if using coals, start over hot coals, then move away from direct heat for the remainder of cooking time), turning frequently. Cook until chicken is 160-165 degrees. Shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes, don’t overcook or you’ll have dry, rubbery appetizers. Serve hot.

*please don’t forget this step or all you’ll have for appetizers is flaming skewers.

That’s it for this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next week. And if you missed it, this week’s complete dinner menu and shop list is Pork Stir-fry and Tangy Lemon Pie (click here). Have a safe and happy 4th! – TaMara

17 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    July 6 is the 40th anniversary date of the very first broadcast of Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, so something old-timey and a bit Scandinavian might be in order.

    Perhaps Smörgåstårta?

  2. 2
    Ash Can says:

    “Appetizers” my butt. I’d fill up on those and call it supper. Yum!

  3. 3
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Ash Can: Every year a group of my family and friends goes to the American Players Theater for a weekend. We picnic in the afternoon and the go to an evening play. After a couple of years we started to simply bring appetizers instead of serious food. Grilling steaks or jumbo shrimp meant that someone was out of conversational play for too long. A few appetizers still get grilled, but it’s not really the same. So, it’s appetizers and wine – lots of wine. A number of the people who come are really foodies and retired now, so they put a lot of time and effort into being creative. Since I’ve been single again, I am traditionally tasked with wine.

  4. 4
    WaterGirl says:

    TaMara, I just want pipe up and say how much I appreciate the recipe threads even though I don’t often comment on them. My guess is that I am not alone in that.

  5. 5
    some guy says:

    I think that Bourbon bacon chicken appetizer is the prefect compliment to our Bourbon ribs recipe. Will try.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @efgoldman: When married, I was part of a couple and expected to bring food – we usually brought desserts. Post divorce, I have reverted to being considered a single guy whose area of expertise is booze.

  7. 7
    some guy says:

    @WaterGirlhere, here.

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    A gluten-free tip, since pasta salads are endemic at most BBQ’s, is creating one of the various kinds of Waldorf salad. Fruit and good mayo is actually delightful.

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @efgoldman: Oh, I am quite decent at it. I currently live in an apartment with little counter space and I believe from a certain benign reverse sexism on the part of my mom and aunt. Also, I am pretty good at matching wines with food, so my mom tells me what she is bringing and I bring wines to match.

  10. 10
    WaterGirl says:


    Fruit and good mayo is actually delightful.

    Only if you hold the mayo.

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @WaterGirl: Damn right.

  12. 12
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @WereBear: Can I put in a plug for the Jicama Salad if you like apple salad. I’m still gaga over it.

    @WaterGirl: (and someguy, 3+ links would put me in moderation). Thanks. I know you’re all out there. :-) The traffic on my little site quadruples on Friday/Saturday.

    ETA:Aaaand I’m in moderation anyway. Anne Laurie will save me I’m sure.

  13. 13
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    I’m in moderation…so trying again.

    @WereBear: : Can I put in a plug for the Jicama Salad if you like apple salad. I’m still gaga over it.

  14. 14
    JW says:

    @efgoldman: My father would frequently ask me and my younger brother when we were just kids, “Would you rather walk to school or carry your lunch?”. Heh.

  15. 15
    ellie says:

    Fourth of July is a favorite of mine, too! Although I like Halloween the best.

  16. 16
    Red Apple Smokes says:

    @WereBear: I’ve been cooking gluten-free since a Celiac quasi-diagnoses five years ago. After numerous missteps, I’ve found that rice-based spaghetti noodles work as a pretty good substitute in a cold pasta salad.

  17. 17
    RSA says:

    I tried the bourbon chicken skewers as a main dish tonight, with Spanish rice, sliced tomatoes, and a green salad. (Eclectic, I suppose.) It was great. Thanks!

    I had difficulties with the bacon staying wrapped; maybe I’ll add toothpicks next time.

Comments are closed.