Independence Day is typically spent with family and friends, enjoying the great outdoors and celebrating ‘merica. What better way to rejoice than by throwing a barbecue bash? It’s really not as hard as it looks, unless you’re cooking for, ya know, a crowd of 100.
The most important step in preparing a Fourth of July get together is to purchase your grilling ingredients from a local Metro Detroit market. Here are a few worth dropping by for one stop shopping:
Papa Joe’s Gourmet Marketing & Catering, located in Rochester and Birmingham, has been around for 20 years, and has been providing great service and products to Metro Detroiters ever since. The store’s summer menu includes party packages like The Simple Pleasures (for $12.99 a person), which include cheeseburgers, Dearborn hot dogs, Michigan baked beans, corn on the cob, potato chips, coleslaw and all the cutlery you need. They’ve also got a package called The Show Stopper (for $18.99/person), with even more food than the previous one, including a fruit tray, Papa Joe’s Famous Red Skin Potato Salad and more.
You can even order a pig roast or a clambake! If all of that seems a little too large for your intimate gathering, you can choose from nearly 30 types of sausage, as well as brats or burgers, to grill on their own.
Holiday Market, located in Royal Oak and Canton, is one of my very favorite places to grocery shop. If you’re strapped for time, or simply just don’t know how to form a burger patty, Holiday prepares all sorts of pre-made burger patties in the meat department for your convenience. You can also find sausages, fish, chicken and pretty much anything else you’d ever dream of putting on the grill.
If you’re going to cheat and purchase dessert instead of make it, this is the place to do so. Holiday’s bakery makes some of the best desserts around. You can’t go wrong with a cake, cupcakes or cookies for a 4th of July barbecue!
Hiller’s Market, with several Metro Detroit locations, values Michigan made products above all else, and is the first in the state to specialize in Gluten Free products. If you have a food allergy, this is the place to shop! Peruse the meat department and you’ll find all natural chicken, Japanese hand-rubbed Wagyu and Kobe beef, Piedmontese beef, all natural pork and more. All of which are USDA-Prime or Choice, of course.
You can find weekly specials at each of the market’s seven Metro Detroit locations online. Don’t forget the side of potato salad or four-cheese macaroni at the prepared food department to go along with the main course.
Cantoro Italian Market, 19710 Middlebelt Rd., Livonia, is always packed every single time I go by, whether it’s at 9 a.m. or 5 p.m.—and for good reason. This place is a dream for people who love food, especially those who love to prepare food. If you hope to give your holiday weekend barbecue an Italian spin, drop by to pick up some Italian sausages to throw on the grill.
While you’re there, grab a great bottle of wine and a few pastries to set out. Who says a traditional barbecue can’t feature a little bit of original flair here and there?
Busch’s, with several locations in Southeast Michigan, is a fresh food market with plenty to offer for your Fourth of July barbecue. In honor of Independence Day, the store is holding a weeklong sale in the meat department, from now through Sunday, July 6. Stock up on quality grilling items while saving yourself a few bucks!
Shrimp, tuna steaks, USDA choice beef and Busch’s own ground beef are great for grilling. Grab some corn, onion and bell peppers from the produce section and throw those on there while you’re at it. Busch’s has a great selection of Michigan craft beer, so it would be to your advantage to pick up a few six packs to throw in the cooler.
Now comes the easier part. Most likely, your guest list will fall within a reasonable number, so you can forget cooking for a three-digit crowd. When prepping for your party, keep the following tricks and tips in mind:
Have everyone bring a dish so you, the host, are not overwhelmed. That way, you can focus on grilling up some amazingly flavorful burgers, hot dogs, chicken or ribs, and don’t have to worry about preparing half a dozen side dishes to go with. See above for where to get your ingredients.
Provide plenty of beverages, not just beer. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll be guzzling Michigan craft brews all day long. However, every once in a while, you need to toss back a bottle of water to stave off dehydration and extreme drunkenness. Plus, your gathering will likely involve at least a few guests under the age of 21, so you’ll need to stock the cooler with pop or juice boxes, too. Stay hydrated!
Get crafty! A few red, white and blue banners, plates adorned with stars and stripes, colorful cutlery and homemade centerpieces are one way to take a 4th of July barbecue bash from boring to bam in an instant! You can even incorporate the theme into your food, with red, white and blue cupcakes, firecracker popcorn or a patriotic fruit pizza.
Know who you’re cooking for. Make sure you get every RSVP back in plenty of time, so you know how many people you’ll need to feed. Also, be mindful. If you know that your best friend has a gluten allergy, and your cousin’s new girlfriend is a vegetarian, try to provide a few bread-free options and some veggie pizza appetizers. Your kindness and consideration for others will be greatly appreciated! Plus, even non-vegetarians love a little veggie pizza.
Hosting can be stressful, but as long as you keep things marginally simple and focus on having a good time, your guests will enjoy themselves, too. Happy 4th of July!