Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Reinventing an outdated 4th of July cookout menu without breaking the bank


Eating is part of celebrating America. Beyond the stereotypical Fourth of July fare, lies the opportunity for delicious experimentation with fun and flavors. This year, try venturing into new territory with your party menu.

The first and most important part of a Fourth of July meal is the meat. While burgers and hotdogs are quick, easy and a crowd favorite, try experimenting with unique entrees. Remember: the rub makes the meat. Select a cut of pork, pot roast, ribs or even chicken and cover it in your favorite rub or marinade before cooking.

Many rubs and marinades can be store-bought, but experimenting with and creating your own blend of spices for meat can have a delightful result. For an ethnic flair, try using a southwestern or Oriental style blend to make your meat stand out from the rest.

Beans, coleslaw and potato salad make excellent side dishes, but appear at every summer holiday party. For something different, try grilling your favorite seasonal vegetables. Simply throw slices of zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper or squash on the grill and allow them to brown on each side.

Making your own guacamole can become a fun tradition for social gatherings. Guacamole can serve as a simple appetizer with chips or a side dish. Slice ripe avocados in half, remove the seed, and scoop out the insides into bowl, then mash. Add your favorite seasonings, such as onion, cilantro, lemon or lime juice, tomatoes or peppers to add taste.

No Fourth of July party is complete without a rich, satisfying dessert. Instead of the tried and true American flag fruit parfait, try serving a batch of Paula Deen’s red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes are the perfect savory finishing touch to any summer meal. Baking them in blue cupcake liners will give you the classic red, white and blue theme.

Another dessert perfect for a summer night of fireworks is cheesecake. Put a spin on the classic New York style by adding your favorite fruit on top, such as raspberries, blueberries or blackberries. Berries can also be puréed in a food processor and then added to cheesecake batter to make a swirled, fruit cheesecake.

Margaritas are a classic summer cocktail. For a different take on Fourth of July festivities, try serving this blackberry margarita using agave nectar as a sweetener, which can be found at most grocery stores. You will need:

Kosher salt 2 lime slices/wedges 3 blackberries 1/4 cup tequila blanco 2 tablespoons agave nectar (syrup) 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Pour salt into a dish, line the rim of a glass with lime juice, then roll the rim in salt to cover. Next, muddle, or smash, the blackberries and agave nectar into the bottom a cocktail shaker. Add the tequila and lime juice to the cocktail shaker and shake, then strain into the glass and garnish with lime slice.

For a “virgin” cocktail, omit the tequila and replace it with orange juice.

When planning a holiday get-together or cooking with your family, trying variations of classics or finding new ways to commemorate the day with food can lend to an exciting Fourth you won’t forget.

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