Fourth of July may look a little different this year, but that's all the more reason to celebrate with something delicious. We've collected some great new recipes for summer grilling, some of our old favorites and dishes from our most trusted chefs and cookbook authors, the Friends of Milk Street, to inspire you all weekend long. From burgers and skewers to summery desserts and refreshing sides, you'll find plenty of dishes to build a menu around or serve on their own.
If you’re searching for a standout dish to make over the holiday weekend, look no further than this savory grilled chicken. It’s made with a simple shoyu tare (pronounced tah-reh), a multipurpose seasoning liquid that infuses deep, concentrated, umami-rich flavor. Here, the tare seasons bone-in chicken thighs that have been slashed to allow fat to render and the flavorings to soak in.
In this tangy, crunchy coleslaw, coconut milk offers richness and fresh flavor, and for heat, we like fresh chili “cooked” in lime juice, which mellows the bite and helps disperse the heat more evenly.
Serve the chicken, or any grilled meat on your menu, alongside this quick and elegant summer salad. Crisp yet tender summer squash and crunchy toasted almonds create a salad full of texture and contrast, while fresh herbs take the place of traditional salad greens.
In this clever cocktail recipe, a stand mixer makes muddling mojitos en masse a breeze. We also find that chopping the limes—rather than quartering them—releases more of their juice during muddling.
If burgers must make an appearance, try:
These flavor-packed burgers are a spin on a chouriço-like spiced pork sausage from Goa in southern India.
To give these burgers spicy-sweet flavor and mild garlickiness, we mix Asian chili-garlic sauce and a little brown sugar into the ground pork. We also smear the buns with a chili-garlic mayonnaise.
These burgers use a great tip for making the most of ground beef, which tends to be bland and tough. Partially freeze your ground beef before mixing in spices to prevent the meat from becoming compacted during mixing and shaping.
If you love skewers like we do, try one of these recipes:
And remember, for better skewers, use strips, not chunks. Thin strips of meat threaded onto a skewer will cook faster than larger pieces. And, just as important, they provide plenty of surface area for applying flavorful rubs and sauces.
For the most flavorful grilled chicken, focus on the char. It's a lesson we learned in Singapore with chicken satay, and it's not all about the heat. A bit of sugar in the marinade helps contribute to the char.
In these Thai pork skewers inspired by moo ping, a popular street food, we partially freeze the meat first, which makes it easier to slice. A chili-lime sauce called jaew adds great flavor.
A simple puree of fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil does double duty in this recipe. It first coats the uncooked shrimp as a quick marinade. Then, with a splash of lemon juice stirred in, it's drizzled on as a sauce after cooking.
Grilled lemon halves, drizzled with honey and squeezed over charred chicken skewers, adds a final note of sweet-tart acidity that helps balance all the bold, savory seasonings in this recipe.
Pureed Fresno chilies, roasted bell peppers and a touch of tomato paste approximate the flavor of biber salçası, or Turkish red pepper paste, in these boldly flavored kebabs.
In Vietnam, grilled meats are balanced by sweet, sour and crunchy condiments. Case in point, these skewers, inspired by bún thịt nướng, a salad of sorts that combines slender rice noodles with grilled pork, pickled and fresh vegetables, tons of herbs and a savory-sweet sauce (nước chấm).
For more ideas to round out your meal, try these recipes from our Friends of Milk Street:
For Fourth of July this year, Sara Moulton is making burgers that have a special backstory. They’re inspired by the best-loved menu item a bar called the Del Rio in Ann Arbor, her first professional cooking job. Moulton swapped in fresh ingredients for the canned originals to find a winning combination of fresh mushrooms, Mediterranean olives, green chilies and sharp cheddar cheese. But the real secret? Steaming the patties in beer.
If you like the idea of our Grilled Chicken with Soy Sauce Tare above but don't have a grill, try this version from Andrea Nguyen, who taught us this smart technique for imbuing flavor and cutting cook time.
Since it's difficult to find flavorful tomatoes no matter the season, try using sumac, a citrusy spice, to bring tomatoes to life alongside red onion, garlic and fresh herbs. For added color and flavor contrast, add diced or coarsely crumbled feta cheese. “Sumac adds to the salad and gives it a bit of sharpness, some personality, so it’s more than just tomatoes,” says Reem Kassis, author of “The Palestinian Table.”
This salad—adapted from a recipe in Pierre Thiam’s cookbook, “Yolele!"—can also do no wrong. It's a refreshing combination of sweet, sour, spicy and herbal flavors, punctuated by rof, a Senegalese mixture of parsley, scallions, chilies and garlic.
Unlike salsa containing ingredients that have been cooked, this fresh salsa from Gonzalo Guzmán is completely raw, with a course texture and bright flavor. Whip it up in the blender and use with everything.
This is our adaptation of a recipe from Vivian Howard's “Deep Run Roots” that transforms sweet summer corn into a light, elegant dessert. Fresh corn is best, as the kernels are tender and succulent; you'll need three ears to yield the 2 cups kernels. Frozen corn kernels work, too, but make sure to fully thaw them, then pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture
In this cake inspired by Portland, Maine baker Briana Holt, we use fresh pineapple, not canned, and follow two steps to avoid the gummy layer that often forms on upside-down cakes. We first cook the pineapple to remove excess moisture. Then we make sure the fruit is hot when the batter is poured on top so it begins to bake upon contact.