Are you hosting a big summer bash for the 4th of July this year? While holiday gatherings can be a ton of fun, they can also be major budget-busters, especially when they happen early in the month. The good news? There are plenty of 4th of July BBQ food ideas to keep your friends and family well-fed without putting yourself in debt.
4th of July BBQ Food Ideas That Don’t Cost A Lot
Here are some easy and cheap 4th of July BBQ food ideas to make sure your Independence Day is perfect.
Head to a bulk store, like Costco or Sam’s Club, to pick up your grilling meats in bulk. These stores tend to offer great grilling packages, especially when it comes to things like steak, chicken, and burgers. Remember, chicken thighs and legs tend to cost less than breast meat, and buying boneless always means you’ll pay more.
Make sure you compare prices on fresh ground beef versus packages of premade burger patties, too. You may just find making your own isn’t cost effective. While you’re at it, look for things like plates, cups, cutlery, and napkins in the warehouse store. Condiments like ketchup, mustard, relish, and pickles may also be more cost-effective.
Make It a Potluck Event
While the majority of people won’t come to your home empty-handed, they may not exactly help you to create a well-rounded selection of foods without a little guidance. Ask each of your guests to bring a dish, but assign them a category — salad, deviled eggs, rolls, beverages, fruits, chips, and desserts are all options. Those with special food needs and allergies should be asked to bring a diet-friendly entree for themselves or to share.
Asking for specific dishes or categories will ensure you don’t end up with a table full of store-bought cookies or brownies while at the same time lessening your burden when it comes to feeding your friends.
Baked beans are a BBQ favorite, and no two people make them alike. Spruce up your favorite canned variety by adding some bacon, brown sugar, mustard, and ketchup before allowing them to simmer in the crockpot. The Spruce Eats has a simple recipe to check out!
Deviled eggs are a classic BBQ food and are incredibly inexpensive to make. For just a few dollars, you can throw together some egg yolks with your favorite mayo, vinegar, and seasonings for a delicious treat. You can spruce the eggs up for the 4th of July by using food coloring to dye some of them red and blue. The color will add some flair to the table, reducing the number of colorful decorations you feel you need to buy. Check out this easy colored egg recipe from Food Lion!
A box of elbow noodles, a jar of mayo, and your favorite seasonings are enough to feed a decent crowd. You can even double a basic macaroni salad recipe for just an extra dollar or two. The most basic salads are just noodles, mayo, seasonings, and maybe a little onion or green pepper. You can add any veggie you’d like, for contrast. Consider throwing in some halved cherry tomatoes or even some finely chopped broccoli. Whatever’s in season will keep your salad budget-friendly. You can dye some of your noodles red and blue for this recipe, too, if you’d like to keep things patriotic.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies
You don’t have to go crazy with a ton of processed foods for your 4th of July feast, either. Depending on where you live, you’ll find tons of BBQ-friendly foods to be in season. Hit up your local farmer’s market or produce stand to look for fresh ears of corn, strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon. The corn can be boiled or grilled, and the fruits can be cut up into a nice salad. Slice up that watermelon, with the rinds, for the kids to snack on while they’re running around the yard; or find some star-shaped cookie cutters and put watermelon stars on skewers for a cute, fun treat.
Themed desserts don’t have to be expensive. Grab a box of brownie mix and a container of red, white, and blue sprinkles or jimmies to sprinkle over the top. Make your favorite cookies more patriotic with some holiday-colored M&Ms. For a refreshing treat, grab some old-school popsicle molds from your local dollar store and fill them with lemonade, pink lemonade, or other juices. You can even spruce them up with some blueberries or finely diced/crushed strawberries.
Celebrate and Save Money
You don’t need to set out an expensive spread to have a fun 4th of July. Visit your local dollar store for just a few decorations or balloons, set the lawn chairs up in the shade, and get ready to enjoy the company of your family and friends.
What are your tips for saving money on get-togethers? Share with us in the comments below.