Stories / Recipes

Tradition with a Twist is the Best Way to Cook this Fourth

Frank Guerriero

June 27, 2019


Photo: Dylan + Jeni

When it comes to putting together a proper Fourth of July celebration, there’s no shame in sticking to timeless burgers and dogs. But if you’re looking to put your culinary chops on display this Independence Day, why not riff a bit on standard summertime fare? On this menu, watermelon wedges become a salty–sweet salad, plain patties are replaced our namesake’s signature burgers, and dessert features an unexpected blast from the past. Give these recipes a shot for some impressive twists on tradition this Fourth.

Negroni Sbagliato (pictured above)

This “mistaken” variation on the Italian classic refreshingly bridges the gap between spritzes and more bitter, booze-heavy aperitivi. And since it’s “built” in the glass sans shake or stir, it’s a breeze to scale this Milanese standby up to a pitcher format.

Guacamole with Pistachios

Taco and tamale virtuoso Alex Stupak adds some crunch to everybody’s favorite app with a handful of toasted and chopped pistachios. We’d suggest at least doubling the recipe if you hope to snag any of this irresistible dip for yourself.

Strawberry, Watermelon, and Kale Salad

Photo: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis

Hit the farmers market to stock up on peak summer produce, then toss it together for this supreme seasonal salad. Pro tip: prep your watermelon the day before and pickle the rinds overnight for a light #WasteNot snack.

Roasted Jerk Corn

Photo: Compère Lapin

Throw a Caribbean twist on a barbecue essential with a recipe from 2018 Best Chef: South winner Nina Compton. Sweet summer corn roasts with a glossy coating of jerk-spiced butter before getting topped off with homemade mayo and crunchy ranch bread crumbs.

James Beard’s Favorite Hamburger

Photo and Food Styling: Judy Kim

You weren’t going to host an Independence Day soirée without a round of burgers, were you? We suggest sticking to this highly seasoned version from the foremost authority on American cooking, James Beard himself.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp with Pork Fat Crumble

Photo: Galdones Photography

Before the popularization of vegetable shortening, pork lard was an essential ingredient in American sweets. Throw a slightly savory spin on dessert this Fourth with Matt Jennings' recipe for summer fruit crisp with pork fat crumb.

Hungry for more? View our entire recipe collection.


Frank Guerriero is the media assistant at the Beard Foundation. Find him on Instagram.