4th of July BBQ

Summer holidays are special. No, you don’t get presents like you do at Christmas, or even baskets like Easter.

But instead of putting on eight layers of clothes just to walk to a car that’s been running and heating up for ten minutes, you get to spend these ones outside. And they are awesome.

White shorts and flip flops, the smell of steaks and burgers on the grill, throwing a football around, daylight until 9 pm, and even fireworks… those are the makings of a great party, and some great memories.

Since we’re coming up on one of my favorite holidays of the year, I wanted to give you a few tips on throwing the perfect 4th of July BBQ!

Where to shop?

Giant Eagle, Aliquippa / Rochester / Chippewa

With CRAZY specials on meats and seafood, you can’t go wrong stopping by one of their locations.

BOGO chicken breasts and hot dogs, 80/20 ground meat for $2.99/lb., salmon for $6.99, even semi-boneless NY Strips at $7.99!

Don’t forget they’re doing 10 ears of corn for $2 and have a TON of options in their prepared foods section.

Butcher & Baker, Darlington

Farm-fresh, grass-fed beef, Boar’s Head deli meats, delicious baked goods, fresh coffee, and even prepared foods? YES, PLEASE!!

Smith’s Meats, Chippewa

For meat or fish, you can’t go wrong here. Just make sure to grab some jerky and beef sticks to stuff your face with on the car ride home!

Feeling lazy?

Aldi’s has 24 oz. of fully cooked baby back ribs for $8.49!! Just heat it and eat it!

PJ’s BBQ on Brodhead Road in Center Township has a TON of delicious options for take out! Load up on ribs, pulled pork, wings… but whatever you do, don’t forget the mac & cheese!

What to make?

A1 Grill Burgers

  • 2 lb ground beef (Much better if you don’t use lean meat. I use 80/20)
  • 1T A1 Steak Sauce
  • 1T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t black pepper

Plop your ground meat in a large bowl and add all ingredients. Mix very well with your hands. Divide as evenly as you can, and form into patties. (Makes about 8 very large burgers, or 12-ish regular-sized ones.)

Grill over medium high heat about 6 minutes per side or until desired done-ness. Top with lettuce, tomato & onion and you’re all set!

Bacon & Bleu Cheese Potato Salad

This isn’t your typical mayonnaise-based potato salad. It’s light, it’s fresh, and it’s guaranteed to please!

  • 4lb red potatoes
  • 8 strips of bacon, crumbled
  • 3 oz. bleu cheese
  • Green Onions (1 bunch)
  • 1 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ c + 2 T White Vinegar
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t black pepper

Cook bacon until browned. Boil whole potatoes until somewhat tender but not mashing quality yet (I realize that makes no sense, so about 15 minutes J.) Let cool slightly and dice up with the skin still on.

Add potatoes, crumbled bacon & cheese to the biggest bowl you have. In a small bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, green onions, salt & pepper. Pour over potatoes and mix very well to coat everything.

Serve while potatoes are still warm or at room temperature. Don’t chill.

Italian Pasta Salad

  • 1lb Rotini
  • 1lb summer sausage
  • 1 block Colby jack cheese
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 bottle Italian dressing
  • Salad Supreme seasoning

Cook rotini according to package. Add to large bowl. Dice up summer sausage, Colby jack cheese, cucumber and carrots. *

Add your salad dressing and salad supreme both about a quarter bottle at a time. Stir, and continue to add.

You will use about a full bottle of dressing, and maybe a half bottle of seasoning. I recommend doing this slowly because everyone likes their pasta salad a little different, and you can always add more but can’t take it out.

What to do?


A no-brainer, but important to include nonetheless. Midland has the only firework display in our county, so if you have an opportunity to get down there you absolutely should.

If not, be sure to stock up with sparklers, bottle rockets, Roman candles… you know, the stuff you aren’t allowed to have here.

Giant Beer Pong

Exactly as it sounds. Replace the red solo cups with garbage cans and the ping pong balls with volleyballs or soccer balls. You can even leave the drinking out of it if you want the youngsters to participate.

Make sure you fill each can up a bit with the hose so they don’t topple over every time you hit them.

Lawn Twister

Grab a couple circle stencils and cans of spray paint, and color your lawn! You could even add a few different boards so more people can play at once.

And don’t worry, grass grows quickly so the paint should be gone in a few days with all this rain we’ve been having.

Cornhole/Ladder Ball

For the more laid back party, these are great options. You don’t even have to set your beer down!

Draw up a bracket so that all of your guests get to participate, and even give a prize away to the big winners!!


Anything with a net will provide you with hours of fun for guests of all ages!

Everyone has that uncle who still takes these things too seriously and will spike a ball off of someone’s face, and that little cousin who will chase people around trying to whack them with a racket. So proceed with caution.

Allie is a lifelong resident of Beaver County. She is a 2006 graduate of Blackhawk High School, and still resides in Patterson Heights with her husband Andy and their 3-year old son, Luke. She is a Regional Manager at PLS Logistics and a sports fanatic. You can find her on Facebook as Allie Dixon.