If holidays are all about tradition, there is no doubt the Fourth of July means backyard barbecues and cookouts.

And what we put on the grill matters, too. Chicken, burgers and steaks rank tops.

So it’s time to get your grill on. To help you gear up for Fourth of July, we dug through our archives for some fine grilling fare. From a grand recipe for sweet-and-smoky baby back ribs to a hot dog with spicy relish topping to chicken and salads, there is something for everyone.



Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 10 minutes (plus marinating time) / Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

12 bone-in chicken thighs (4 1/2-5 pounds total), skinned if desired


1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup tequila

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano

2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 lemons, cut into 1/4-inch slices, optional

Place chicken in a sealable plastic bag set in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Seal bag and turn it to coat chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours, turning bag occasionally. Remove chicken, reserving marinade.

Place the marinade in a small saucepan, bring to a boil or over high heat and boil 5 minutes.

Prepare or preheat the grill. Oil the grill grates 5 minutes before grilling.

Place chicken, meaty sides down, on grill rack over drip pan. Cover and grill for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, brushing occasionally with the reserved marinade. Halfway through grilling, turn the chicken over so the skin side is down and grill, watching carefully so the skin doesn’t char, until the skin is browned.

Discard remaining marinade.

If desired, brush the lemon slices with a little bit of oil and sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper. Grill the slices about 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Place the chicken on a platter and garnish with the grilled lemon slices.

Adapted from “Grill It! Secrets to Delicious Flame-Kissed Food” by Better Homes and Gardens (Wiley, $24.95).

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis includes skin.

275 calories (63 percent from fat), 17 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 3 g carbohydrates, 20 g protein, 214 mg sodium, 96 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber


Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 15 minutes

1 small head cabbage

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sugar

Juice from 2 limes

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon celery seed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage in half and remove the core. Thinly slice or shave the cabbage and place in a large serving bowl. Add the green onions and cilantro. In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, lime juice, vinegar and celery seed. Pour over the slaw and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from Food Network magazine, July/August 2010 issue.

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

80 calories (56 percent from fat), 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 181 mg sodium, 11 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber


Serves: 6 /Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 15 minutes


1 medium avocado, halved, pitted

1 large ripe tomato, diced

1 jalapeño pepper, stem removed, seeded, finely chopped

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup finely chopped white onion

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste


6 grilled hot dog buns

6 grilled all-beef hot dogs

6 tablespoons Mexican cheese blend, divided, optional

To make the relish, cut the avocado into 1/4-inch diced pieces and place in a bowl. Add the tomato, jalapeño, cilantro, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix gently so you don’t break up the avocado pieces. Arrange the buns on a platter. Place each hot dog in a bun and top each one with 1 tablespoon of cheese, if using, so it melts slightly. Spoon relish on top and serve.

From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Analysis per hot dog.

330 calories (55 percent from fat), 20 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 26 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 786 mg sodium, 28 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber


Serves: 16 / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 1 hour

3 pounds small red-skinned potatoes (or substitute russets)

2 teaspoons of olive oil, optional

3 shallots, peeled, sliced, optional

6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1/2 pound bacon, cooked (see note)

4 cups chopped spinach

1 1/2 cups sliced celery

1 bunch (about 6) green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1/3 cup chopped fresh dill

Morton Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend

Salt and pepper to taste, optional


2 cups reduced-fat mayonnaise

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons of cider vinegar

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Morton Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend

Scrub the potatoes and cut them into quarters. Place the potatoes in a large pot, and add cold water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil and continue boiling about 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Test with a knife; it should easily pierce the potatoes. Drain the potatoes and cool.

Meanwhile, if using the shallots, heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the shallots and sauté until caramelized, about 6 minutes; they will be a golden brown.

In a large serving bowl, combine the shallots, eggs, crumbled bacon, spinach, celery, green onion and dill.

Add the cooled potatoes, and gently combine all the ingredients. Sprinkle with Morton’s seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently mix together.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Cook’s note: You can cook the bacon as you wish, but I like it sprinkled with brown sugar in the oven. Here’s what to do: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the bacon strips on a parchment- or foil-lined sided baking sheet. Or place on a rack set on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar. Bake until crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool, crumble into pieces.

From and tested by Susan M. Selasky in the Free Press Test Kitchen.

246 calories (46 percent from fat), 13 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 23 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein, 687 mg sodium, 89 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber


Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 30 minutes (plus chilling time)

Total time: 2 hours


4-6 racks of baby back ribs

1 1/2 cups good quality bourbon


3 tablespoons coarse salt

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons paprika (regular or smoked)

2 tablespoons ground black pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon chili powder


2 cups of hickory wood chips

2 cups beer


Bourbon Barbecue Sauce (see note)

Remove the thin membrane on the back of the ribs, starting at one end of the rack and pulling toward the other. Unless you are using a rib rack, cut the ribs into four or five portions so that they will fit nicely on the grill. Place the ribs in a large roasting pan and pour the bourbon over them. Chill them for about an hour, turning the ribs often. Pour off and discard the bourbon.

Whisk together all the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle the rub mixture over both sides of the ribs.

Refrigerate 1 hour. Meanwhile, place the wood chips in a medium bowl and pour the beer over them. Let stand 1 hour.

Preheat or prepare the grill for indirect cooking, meaning you will cook the ribs away from the heat source.

Remove 1 cup of the wood chips from the beer and drain. Scatter the chips over the coals. Fill a foil loaf pan halfway with water and place opposite the coals. Place grill grate on grill. If using a gas grill, put the soaked chips in a foil packet with holes poked in it or use a smoker box.

Arrange ribs on the grate above the loaf pan and away from the direct heat.

Close the lid, positioning the top vent directly over the ribs. Check the temperature by placing the stem of an instant-read thermometer through the vent with the gauge on the outside, it should register about 325 degrees. After about 40 minutes, the temperature will start dipping down but don’t let it fall below 275 degrees. Adjust vents if needed by opening them wider to increase the heat or closing to decrease the heat.

You can heat more charcoal briquettes in a charcoal chimney starter to have ready in case the temperature dips below 275 degrees. Use tongs to add briquettes.

If you need to add more wood chips, drain the remaining 1 cup of wood chips and sprinkle over the charcoal. Place the grate with the ribs back on the grill, cover and continue cooking until the ribs are very tender and the meat pulls away from the bones, about 45 minutes longer.

During the last 15 minutes of grilling, brush on the sauce.

To make the Bourbon Barbecue Sauce: In a large, heavy saucepan, whisk together 2 cups ketchup, 1/2 cup mild-flavored molasses, 1/3 cup bourbon, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons of your favorite hot pepper sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon onion powder. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and the flavors blend, about 15 minutes.

Adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2000 issue, and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

443 calories (53 percent from fat), 26 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 26 g carbohydrates, 26 g protein, 1,035 mg sodium, 103 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber


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