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How to Plan Your Perfect July 4th Celebration

A step-by-step guide that lays out exactly what you need to do in just 36 hours.

By Team Made In
Jun 9, 2023
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Though it may seem like a relatively short amount of time to plan a party for eight guests, 36 hours is really all you need for a successful 4th of July celebration. We’ve taken all the guesswork out by giving you a menu and simple, step-by-step instructions broken down by the hour. All you need to do is stick to the plan.

Your menu is as follows:

Grilled Watermelon Margarita

Grilled Chicken Wings

The Made In Smash Burger

Grilled Cabbage Slaw

Peach Cobbler

You can get your shopping done up to 3 days before the party, but if you have to cut it close to 36 hours before, you’ll be okay. Now is also a good time to make sure that all of your gear is clean and accessible so you don’t have to dig your Sheet Pan out of that tough to reach cabinet.

Now it’s time for some prep work to make your life easier on the day of. Start by peeling your carrots for the Slaw and slicing up the crudité to accompany the Wings. Wrap everything in damp paper towels and store in a resealable container in the fridge. Slice and juice the grapefruit and limes for your Cocktail and chill until ready to use.

Next, make your dressing: luckily, both the Slaw and the Wings use the same Scallion-Ranch Dressing, so you can just make a double batch to use for both recipes. Store in a large container in the fridge. While you’re working on dressings, whip up the secret sauce for your Smash Burgers and store in a container in the fridge.

Then, make the buttermilk biscuit topping for the Cobbler, wrapping the bowl tightly in plastic and storing in the fridge overnight. Finally, combine all the ingredients for the BBQ spice rub for your Wings in a large bowl. Pat wings very dry, then toss the wings in the rub. Arrange on a half sheet pan rack set over a half sheet pan  and leave uncovered in the fridge to brine overnight. Make sure everything else in your fridge is covered to avoid cross contamination.

So you’ve made it to the day of the party, the house is as clean as it’s going to get and your guests won’t be arriving for a few more hours. Start with dessert first. Preheat the oven to 375F while you take out your biscuit dough and assemble the cobbler. Bake for 40–50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Dessert is done, one dish down.

3 Hours Before

Time to get the grill fired up. If you want to be fancy, use a melon baller to scoop out some watermelon for garnishing the Cocktail and set aside; cube the rest of the melon. Preheat your Grill Frying Pan over medium-high and grill the remaining watermelon for the Cocktail, then set aside to cool. Next, grill the cabbage for your Slaw, and set aside to cool. Then, blend the watermelon until smooth and chill it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your Cocktails.

2 Hours Before

Assemble your Slaw. Shred carrots, julienne radishes, and thinly slice the grilled cabbage, combining in a large bowl. Dress with 1 batch of Scallion-Ranch Dressing, season with lime juice, and return to the fridge. Another dish down!

1 Hour Before

Now it’s crunch time. Portion the beef for Smash Burgers into 8 loosely packed balls and chill them in the fridge.

30 Minutes Before

Start the first batch of Wings in the Grill Frying Pan on the grill. Season the sliced crudité and add them to your platter alongside a bowl of the second batch of Scallion-Ranch Dressing. Set up a burger station with cheese, rolls, Secret Sauce, and pickles so that your guest can build their own burger when the time comes.

Add the first batch of Wings to the crudité platter and Scallion-Ranch. Assemble and serve Cocktails, making sure to pour one for yourself. While people are drinking and socializing, start on the second batch of Wings and first batch of Smash Burgers.

When the wings are finished, plate them up and bring the first batch of Smash Burgers to the burger station, letting guests assemble them. Remove the Slaw from the fridge and serve alongside the burgers. Then, start the second batch of Smash Burgers and place them on the burger station when cooked. Take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften and fix yourself a plate, you’ve earned it.

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Once everyone has finished eating, it’s finally time for dessert. Clear some dishes and serve up the Cobbler with ice cream or toppings of choice. And there you have it, a 4th of July Celebration in just 36 hours.