Annual cookouts at my Uncle Allen's made it a day to remember for as long as I can remember. I'm sure even the stuff I don't remember was rad.
But it wasn't just the Frisbeer (Frisbee + beer = drinking game) and fireworks that made these parties memorable, it was the food.
Nothing says "Happy Birthday America!" like a red, white and blue cupcake.
Fire up your grill and stuff your face with these patriotic dishes.
1. Red, white and blue cheese hot dogs
July is National Hot Dog Month and this Independence Day, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is expecting us to down 155 million dogs. Let's not disappoint.
And just because you're eating an American classic doesn't mean it has to be boring.
Whip up this quick red, white and blue cheese dog dressing and add a cool kick to your contribution to the American tradition ... eating your weight in sausage and meat trimmings.
Recipe: Mix together tangy blue cheese dressing, bacon bits, chopped red onion and a little diced jalapeno. Top on your favorite dog of choice.
2. Fruity flag salad
While you're trying to survive one of the hottest weeks of the year, take a tip from us gals here at the Colorado Daily and bring a little Midwest to your table.
The thought of Meemaw's Jell-O Salad -- lime green gelatin with marshmallows and pretzel pieces -- might be tickling your gag reflexes, so I'll start you off easy.
Try this cool and refreshing recipe for fruity flag salad and don't forget to add some of your favorite booze. It is a holiday after all.
Recipe: Make red Jell-O as instructed on the box. Toss some strawberries in and let it set. Then make some blue Jell-O, but this time add blueberries. Pour the blue Jell-O on top of the red Jell-O and chill. Once the fruity flag salad is done toss a dollop of whipped cream on top and enjoy.
3. Coca-Cola barbecue sauce
Right behind apple pie on the All-American foods list is barbecue. I double-checked the list, so just trust me. The great thing about barbecue sauce is that you can pour it on anything. It makes a great addition to the contributions people are bringing to your grill.
This recipe for Coca-Cola barbecue sauce will make those frozen foods taste homemade. Slather it on wieners or brats, chicken or veggie burgers -- and even try drizzling it on veggies for a little extra flair.
Recipe: Bring to a boil one can of Coca-Cola, one cup of ketchup. Add in ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce and ¼ cup steak sauce. Sprinkle in garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss in diced onion and let simmer.
4. Not-so-classic Corn on the Cob
Not everything you eat has to be red, white or blue. Grill some locally grown corn on the cob to give yourself a break from the meatfest (or faux meatfest for you vegans).
The fire adds a smoky flavor to the corn that gives it a unique taste. Instead of smothering it in butter, try something a little different this year and mix up a bowl of corn garnish to spread on the corn.
Recipe: Dice up fresh parsley, cilantro and Parmesan cheese. Mix it all together and sprinkle in a little garlic for the perfect addition to your corn.
5. Chips 'n' dip
Let's face it, one of the best parts of a cookout is snacking while you cook. Holidays are all about eating, so give yourself something to munch on throughout the day.
Try this creamy Mexican guacamole dip and pair seasoned pita chips or homemade tortilla chips if you're feeling festive.
Recipe: Mash a large, ripe avocado and mix it with 8 oz. of cream cheese. Add in a few tablespoons of pico de gallo or salsa to taste. Add in some garlic salt and squeeze a lime over the top.