There’s nothing that says “Go America!” like a backyard filled with family, friends, delicious food and cold beers. Chef Joe Vaina got it right, celebrating the Fourth isn’t about fireworks, it’s about the food. July 4 cookouts need not be fancy and complex, but why not hit it out of the ballpark? The best way to guarantee a delicious backyard cookout is to cook like the experts. So we gathered some of our favorite chefs to ask them how they plan on spending the 4th; they’ve even shared some of their festive recipes!
We’ve got a Cornbake from Chef Christina Tosi and a Blueberry Buckle from Chef Harold Dieterle. And if you want something savory that will send your guests over the edge, Chefs Dan Kluger, Michael Psilakis and Joey Campanaro share their Summer Corn, Lamb Burger and Clam Boil recipes with I’m In The Kitchen!
IITK: Most people aren’t working on July 4th, are you spending time at the restaurant?
Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar): I’m planning on spending my July 4th at our newest (summer only!) store out in Montauk! I’ll sling cookies, crack pie and slushies by day and have a potluck dinner with popsicles to finish right as the fireworks begin!
Joey Campanaro (The Little Owl, Market Table, The Village Belle):I plan on spending the 4th at my restaurant, The Village Belle, in Philadelphia. Philly is the best place to be on the 4th since that is where the signing of the declaration of independence took place. We have delicious food and drinks, and a phenomenal un-obstructed view of the fireworks over the Delaware River.
Dan Kluger (ABC Kitchen): I’ll actually be working at the restaurant this year!
IITK: Are you able to get out of the restaurant?
Michael Psilakis (Kefi, Fishtag, MP Taverna): After spending some time at my restaurants, I’m planning to spending my 4th of July BBQing in my backyard with my wife and kids.
Harold Dieterle (Kin Shop, Perilla): I’ll be heading to Florida for the week to spend time with my wife. I also get to go fishing a bunch, which happens to be one of my favorite activities. Hopefully we will have a good catch so I can cook up something fresh for dinner.
IITK: What’s your quintessential July 4th dish?
CT: My matriarch’s tradition for the 4th of July is to host a potluck picnic BBQ, incomplete without Cornbake! (My mother and grandmother grew up in the cornfields of Ohio, so technically no meal is complete without a corn component!) For me, my tradition is eating too many push pops, bomb pops or flavor ices (so many my lips and tongue turn the color of the popsicle!)
JC: In my family we always have crabs on the 4th. They are either steamed in beer and spices or we make them in a tomato sauce and eat them with spaghetti
DK: Depends but typically some kind of grilling takes place. Almost always corn on the cob or a corn salad.
MP: For me the 4th of July has always been about eating good food with family and friends. Growing up I remember there always being plenty of kids, a swimming pool and enough food to go around for the entire day. At our home, my father and I would roast whole animals on our family’s outdoor spit. These memories are what have created our family’s current day traditions – it’s still all about what comes off the grill!
HD: Aside from fishing and cooking up my catch, I think a hamburger really personifies July 4th cooking – it’s all-American and I have fond memories of burgers during past holiday meals.
Cook like a chef at your July 4 party (click for PDF):
Blueberry Buckle by Harold Dieterle
Cornbake by Christina Tosi
Crab Boil by Joey Campanaro
Lamb Burger by Michael Psilakis
Summer Corn by Dan Kluger
Check in tomorrow for our picks for NYC’s best July 4 parties!
Photo From Inspiration Bug.com