Chef John's 15 Favorite Fourth of July Recipes
In this line-up of Chef John's top-rated recipes, we highlight his All-American hits. We'll start out with some classic July 4th party and picnic foods - Chef John's macaroni and potato salads, his coney dogs, fried and BBQ'd chicken, and his patented All-American burger dog! Then we'll check out his tasty tributes to Boston and Philadelphia, and then it's time for some flag-themed fun. From there, we'll do dessert. Let's get to it.
Chef John's Classic Macaroni Salad
Chef John earns a feather in his cap with this Yankee Doodle of a noodle salad. "Whether it's sitting next to some smoky ribs or just a humble hot dog, this deli-style macaroni salad will always be a crowd favorite, as long as you pay attention to a few key details," says Chef John.
Chef John's Buttermilk Fried Chicken
In this classic buttermilk fried chicken recipe, you'll toss the chicken pieces with 11 spices and then marinate it in buttermilk. Give the chicken a quick dredge in seasoned flour, and it's fry time! "I love the tangy tenderization that the buttermilk provides," says Chef John. "After the buttermilk soak, dredge the chicken pieces in seasoned flour, and fry them in hot oil until crisp and cooked."
All-American Burger Dog
Not only delicious, the burger dog isn't just a fun gimmick; the shape of the burger actually helps develop an incredible grilled crust that covers the whole surface of the burger, and the proportions between meat, cheese, and bun are exceptional. "This 'burger dog' is far more than a hot dog-shaped cheeseburger," says Chef John. "It's a one-handed wonder that's perfectly proportioned and easier to eat than a regular cheeseburger."
Coney Island Hot Dogs
Now here's a real American dog! These delicious hot dogs get the full Coney Island treatment with a meat relish that's slightly sweet, slightly spicy, and slightly salty. Top with plenty of yellow mustard and raw onions. And check out the recipe for Chef John's Homemade Hot Dog Buns too!
Cherry Bomb Chicken
Your Fourth of July celebration requires juicy BBQ chicken with truly explosive flavor! There are no cherries in this recipe, but it's undeniably the bomb. Actually, the name comes from the brine, which features cherry tomatoes and hot habanera chilies, all blended together into a smooth puree.
Perfect Potato Salad
"This is my mother Pauline's recipe," says Chef John. "It's pretty much a classic American salad but remember, if you add onions, use sweet onions and chop with a very sharp knife, allow potatoes to cool to room temp before dressing them, and always taste for salt."
Chef John's Barbecue Chicken
"When it comes to barbecued chicken, everyone wants that nice thick glaze of sauce attached to the skin, and the only way to do it, is brush it on as it cooks," says Chef John. "Therein lies the problem. Because of the sugar content, it only takes a minute for a barbecue sauce to go from brick-red to solid black. I just 'mark' the chicken's vulnerable skin side, then cook it all the way through in a closed grill, brushing on the glaze as it cooks."
Firecracker Shrimp Roll with Crab Aioli
Here's Chef John's spicy take on a shrimp po'boy with crab mayo. "I decided to do an extra spicy version, and give it a 4th of July-friendly name," says Chef John. "But the soul of the sandwich is the same and features an insanely great combination of hot, crunchy shrimp, and cold crabby mayo."
Chef John's Deviled Eggs
Chef John's deviled eggs are a sinfully delicious way to satisfy what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature." And, really, they're the only way to get the patriotic party started. The devil is in the details here. As Chef John puts it, "My deviled eggs recipe is fairly standard, except I like to add a little cream cheese. Unlike mayonnaise, cream cheese firms up when chilled, and provides a little more luxurious texture."
Chef John's Boston Baked Beans
These molasses- and brown-sugar based beans would certainly fortify a Midnight Ride to Lexington. Of course, they're also highly suitable for an afternoon spent lounging in a lawn chair in your back yard. One thing is sure, you'll want these Boston baked beans with just about any main dish you'll make for July 4th - fried chicken, BBQ'd chicken, burgers, grilled sausages and hot dogs. Watch the video to see how Chef John bakes up a batch of perfectly tender beans.
Mini Philly Cheesesteaks
You almost wish Philly cheesesteaks had existed back in 1776 so a tray full of these minis might have been passed around after the last signature was scratched onto the Declaration of Independence. "They really capture everything I love about the classic Philly cheesesteak," says Chef John.
Chef John's Macaroni and Cheese
Chef John's famous Thomas Jefferson-inspired version mac and cheese starts with a simple roux, adding herbs, spices, and cold milk. Then it's time for grated nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, and three kinds of cheeses - along with a dash of Dijon at the end for big flavor. "This easy-to-make old-school macaroni and cheese has a perfectly crispy crust," says Chef John.
Red, White, and Blueberry Grilled Chicken
"These colors don't run, but they do stain, so I recommend eating this delicious, red, white and blueberry chicken outdoors at a barbeque," says Chef John. "Smoky, spicy meats have been paired with sweet-and-sour, fruit-based sauces since we've had cooks, so that this combo works beautifully is no big surprise. And yes, other juicy fruit like peaches, or other berries will work nicely."
Red, White, and Booze Ice Pops
Chef John asks you: "Is there any better way to celebrate the birth of our great nation than with this red, white, and sort-of-blue Popsicle? Before you answer, I should mention they're actually strawberry and blueberry cheesecake ice pops that are spiked with booze."
No-Bake Cheesecake Flag Cake
As patriotic desserts go, apple pie's got nothing on this simple no-bake cheesecake decorated like the old Stars and Stripes. The filling features cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and fresh whipped cream. It's rich and sweet, with a light texture that's less dense than baked cheesecake. You'll spread the creamy filling over a homemade chocolate graham cracker crust. It's so easy!