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Fourth of July BBQ Menu Done Easy

This post featuring my Fourth of July BBQ menu has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. Some links in this post are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
Perfect Fourth of July BBQ Menu Ideas and Recipes. Red white and blue lemonade, bbq chicken on the grill, homemade bbq sauce salad dressing and salad, and chocolate bark s'mores to finish off the meal!

I love holidays, especially when it give me an opportunity to come up with something and themed that is both fun to eat and tasty. I’ve been practicing my Fourth of July BBQ menu, and I’m pretty happy with what I’m making.

This Fourth of July BBQ menu is fairly low key and easy. That leaves me more time to spend hanging with my friends rather than cooking.

The key to a good Fourth of July BBQ menu is is create something that doesn’t take too much effort to make but at the same time is different from your everyday meal. I love finding little ways to include the typical red, white, and blue colors in my meal.

My other secret? I do my best to incorporate the same ingredients throughout so that I can avoid having to buy more things that will cost more and take up space in my pantry or fridge.

This Fourth of July BBQ menu fit that mental checklist perfectly, and the biggest win? The salad dressing I made from the same BBQ sauce I used on my chicken not only tasted amazing to me and was a little unique, but Mister Man loved it.

This is the kid who hasn’t met a salad dressing he likes. Typically he asks for his lettuce (grudgingly) plain, but he took the bite I made him eat and then promptly ate all his salad and asked me to make that salad dressing again.

Got a picky eater? Maybe you’ll have a win like I did and find that the BBQ salad dressing that’s so easy to make convinces your child to enjoy salad.

I did mention easy as part of my Fourth of July BBQ menu requirements, right? Back in the day when I was young and single, I had plenty of time.

I’d go to the fancy butcher and buy specialty meats. I would pick up unique ingredients to make a side dish that took hours to prepare and tasted like it.

These days? I’m running all over creation, so everything I pick up for my Fourth of July BBQ has to be at one store and not take a ton of time of effort to make, though of course I still want it to taste like I spent just as much time preparing for my friends.

For this year’s Fourth of July BBQ menu, I chose a ton of items that I know come together quickly for a great meal, as well as the fresh produce I need to round out my meal.


Fourth of July BBQ Menu Ideas

Perfect Fourth of July BBQ Menu Ideas and Recipes. Red white and blue lemonade, bbq chicken on the grill, homemade bbq sauce salad dressing and salad, and chocolate bark s'mores to finish off the meal!

Fourth of July BBQ Menu Beverage – red, white, and blue lemonade

When I’m creating a Fourth of July BBQ menu, I include everything from soup to nuts – or in this case drinks to dessert. Since it’s summer, I want to serve an ice cold beverage.

I love making my own homemade lemonade, and for this I did a black cherry version. I always have frozen cherries in the fridge, and I just grabbed some of the juice after they thawed.

It’s the perfect way to tie in the red, white, and blue of the occasion. My secret to those ice cold beverages is also picking up some fruit to accompany it.

Why? Typically people just add ice to their drinks. That’s fine – until it melts and waters down your perfectly flavored beverage. Instead, I bought blueberries and strawberries (more red, white, and blue!).

I washed the blueberries gently then froze them. They work perfectly as ice, and not only did it look pretty cool floating in the glass, but it kept the drink cold without watering it down.

I also used the strawberry as a garnish, and three minutes of work looked awesomely fancy. Best of all, I can do all the prep in advance by freezing the blueberries as I unpack my groceries and having kids slice the strawberries for me to place on the glasses when it’s time to enjoy that fabulous Fourth of July BBQ menu I’m creating.


Fourth of July BBQ Menu Salad – BBQ sauce dressed salad

I adore salads in just about every shape and size, and I love serving them because they can look so pretty with so many different colors and ingredients. Because I want my Fourth of July BBQ menu to stay simple, I kept this salad much simpler than I do many other salads.

I picked up two different kinds of lettuce. Mixing lettuce varieties really adds a pop to your salad both visually and in flavor.

I chopped some tomato ahead of time to give it the red for my theme, as well as a few green onions to again amp up the flavor and give it some fresh color when sprinkled over the dressed salad.

The BBQ salad dressing is the real winner here, and it takes just a few minutes to make. Simply add your BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper into a small bowl and whisk with a fork.

Adding olive oil to BBQ sauce vinaigrette

You can use your favorite BBQ sauce from the store or make your own. It’s surprisingly easy to make homemade BBQ sauce – and oh so tasty, too!

Once you have everything incorporated, continue whisking. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into your BBQ sauce mixture and whisk until it’s thickened and incorporated.

You want the olive oil emulsified into the dressing, which pretty much happens as you’re drizzling, so long as you whisk quickly and pour slowly. In under a minute, you have homemade salad dressing that will wow your guests.

BBQ Sauce salad dressing ready to enjoy in under a minute

Don’t dress your salad until you’re ready  to eat so that your salad doesn’t wilt or get soggy. I’ll prep my lettuce and keep it in a bowl in the fridge a couple hours in advance.

The tomatoes, green onions, and the homemade BBQ salad dressing go into separate containers in the fridge and get added just before serving. You can chop them in advance, but don’t put them on the lettuce.

Fourth of July BBQ Menu Main Course – BBQ Chicken

You can’t have a Fourth of July BBQ menu without BBQ chicken, right? Fortunately, it’s super easy to make. I used chicken breasts this time, but it’s great with a whole chicken cut up or chicken thighs on the bone to hold in even more moisture.

The key is to cook it slowly so that your chicken doesn’t dry out, especially if you’re using chicken breast.

When cooking with meat, I can’t emphasize food safety enough. Who knows how many times I wash my hands whenever I’m cooking with it, but every time I come in contact with it, I wash my hands immediately.

I place the chicken in the bowl and wash my hands. I add olive oil, salt, and pepper, then mix to coat and wash my hands, etc. The same goes for my counters and all surfaces where the chicken was placed, even when it was in another container. No one wants to get sick!

Coat chicken in oil salt and pepper

Once I have my chicken coated in the oil and spices, I add it to my heated not very hot grill. You want it between 250 and 300 degrees. The oil keeps it from sticking and also holds in some of the moisture.

I cook it just until I start to see the sides of the chicken start to turn more opaque and white before flipping. If you try to flip it too soon, it’s more likely to stick to the grill.

Time to flip your chicken

That’s when I add that more barbecue sauce to the chicken. I baste it with a silicone brush only on the side that’s already cooked and ensure that I have my BBQ sauce in a separate bowl. No cross contamination here!

Basting chicken with bbq sauce

I cook it for another five to ten minutes then flip again to baste the newly cooked side that hadn’t enjoyed the BBQ sauce bath yet. I’m still making sure that I’m only basting the chicken that’s been cooked!

From there, it’s just a matter of putting in my meat thermometer and setting it for chicken then waiting for the alarm to beep at me to tell me it’s cooked. Set chicken to cook to 165 degrees.

This hands off cooking means that again I can spend time chatting and not worrying that I’m over cooking my dinner. If you don’t have a meat thermometer with an alarm, go buy one – just kidding! Use a traditional meat thermometer and cook to 165 degrees. Make sure you check the thickest part of your meat, and check each piece.

Checking the meat temperature is key

Let them rest a few minutes before serving them and letting everyone cut into them. This allows the juice to redistribute in the meat so they don’t all drain out the second you cut into them and leave you with a dry piece of meat to eat.

I love to put them on a plate then assemble the salad before calling everyone to eat. The timing works perfectly!

Let BBQ Chicken rest before eating

Fourth of July BBQ Menu Dessert – Chocolate Bark S’mores

Everyone loves s’mores, right? It’s so much fun to go find your stick and then roast your marshmallow.

I’m a fan of the lightly golden all the way around marshmallow. My son, on the other hand, loves his completely charred and others are somewhere in between. This is the perfect hands on dessert for a Fourth of July BBQ menu.

Perfect chocolate bark smores

My fun twist on this one? I made a flavored chocolate bark to use instead of the traditional chocolate bar. This is fun with any chocolate bark you make and so easy. I love it with my antioxidant bark the best.

Melt your chocolate, then pour it onto a silpat and spread it to about a quarter inch thick in a vague rectangle shape. Because it’s hot and summer, I speed up the finish by sticking it into the freezer for a few minutes.

Once it hardened, I broke it into pieces just a bit smaller than a graham cracker. I placed them in a container for later. My rule of thumb is about 1 cup of chocolate to 3/4 cup of mix-ins.

I used a half cup of dried cherries that I chopped and a quarter cup of the coconut. This gives it plenty of chunky flavor without making it too thick to spread on your silpat.

Once it was time for dessert, I placed the chocolate bark and graham crackers on a plate. Marshmallows go with them, and people built their own s’mores.

Ingredients for chocolate bark smores

They had just a blast, and they loved the fancy s’mores. The dried cherries and coconut (more red, white, and blue for my Fourth of July BBQ menu!) added a ton of flavor. Everyone loved this extra special dessert that required no extra special effort.

Make smores to help clean your grill after cooking meat

I’m all set to celebrate with my Fourth of July BBQ Menu. What are you making?

Homemade BBQ Sauce Salad Dressing

This simple salad dressing has a ton of flavor and pairs well with a barbecue menu. It's also incredibly kid-friendly!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Lactose
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 3 ~4 cups
Calories: 120kcal
Author: Michelle


  • 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  • In a small bowl, combine the BBQ sauce, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mix with a fork to incorporate ingredients together.
    3 tablespoons barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • While whisking, slowly drizzle the oil into the other ingredients so that the oil is mixed in and emulsified while you stir. Pour slowly enough that the oil doesn't pool in the dressing.
    1/3 cup olive oil
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately.
  • If you have any leftovers, store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two weeks.


  • You can use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce from the store, or make your own for this recipe.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 110mg | Sugar: 3g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

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  1. […] you see the amazing Fourth of July BBQ menu I put together yesterday? It was so tasty, and the piece de la resistance was the chocolate bark […]

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