Three Easy Steps for a Perfect 4th of July BBQ in Tempe

Posted on: July 2, 2013

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Some things are better together, like the 4th of July, good friends and barbecue.

Independence Day is on a Thursday this year, so many of us have a long weekend with plenty of time to relax with friends. If your holiday weekend plans call for a pool party with a side of perfectly seasoned, grilled delights, here are a few ideas to make your Tempe July 4th weekend even better.

Step 1: buy party supplies

If you need festive red, white and blue plates, napkins and décor, a few more patio chairs, inflatable rafts or your favorite wine, you can find everything that you need at Tempe Marketplace. Stores like Target, Michael’s, Pier 1 Imports and Cost Plus World Market are great places to shop for summery party supplies.

Step 2: plan your menu

Juicy hamburgers, corn on the cob and ice cream are my personal favorites. But, this year, I think it’s time to go a bit more gourmet. Whole Foods in Tempe at Rural and Baseline is a great choice to pick up out of the ordinary barbecue fare, and they even have a guide to grilling on their website. Reading their recipes made my mouth start to water, just thinking about how tasty apple and cheddar burgers, flank steak with honey mustard glaze and grilled swordfish tacos would be.

Trader Joe’s, located at McClintock and Guadalupe, is also an excellent choice. Usually I lean towards the healthy stuff, but since it’s a holiday weekend, their recipe for a No Bake Star Spangled Lemon Tart definitely caught my eye. It’s decorated with creamy white frosting, blueberries and raspberries in a festive star shape. Cute and patriotic, it will quickly disappear from the buffet table.

Step 3: forget steps 1 and 2, take it easy and go out to eat

Maybe you’d rather let someone else do the cooking. Not a bad idea. There are a few great barbecue restaurants in the Tempe area that serve up excellent all-American dishes. You can also order take out and can enjoy their specialties poolside.

Honey Bear’s BBQ, just west of Tempe on Van Buren St. in Phoenix, is legendary here. It has been family-owned and operated since 1986. Their Tennessee-style sauce makes their juicy chicken, beef brisket and pulled pork taste incredible. Sides run the gamut from collard greens to tater tots.

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que is like having dinner at a friend’s house, if your friend happens to live in the South and their kitchen is chock-full of the best food in town. From traditional baby back ribs and tri tip to fried catfish and New Orleans-style gumbo, you’ll find something to love here. And, their homemade biscuits are served with honey butter. That’s reason enough to go. You’ll find Lucille’s at Tempe Marketplace.

Andrew’s BBQ at Rural and Guadalupe has been named a favorite spot for barbecue by the Phoenix New Times and the State Press. Their specialties are cooked slow and low in a smoker with cherry wood for a unique twist. And, as a bonus, they serve cupcakes. What’s not to like?

Whether you watch fireworks at the Tempe Town Lake Festival, or from your back patio, have a safe and happy 4th of July!


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