The 4th of July is just around the corner! At the midpoint of summer, Independence Day is the perfect day for barbecues and outdoor parties. Why not invite your friends, family, and all the neighbors over for a big bash in the backyard to celebrate the season? 

You don’t have to have the biggest backyard or the fanciest setup to have a great time on July 4th. And we’ve got the scoop on all the best ways to make sure your bash is the one the neighborhood is talking about for years to come. Keep reading for our ultimate guide on throwing the best 4th of July barbecue in 3 easy steps. 

Step One – Prep the Yard

Before you can plan anything else for your 4th of July barbecue, you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of space for the party! Get the scene set up with the following items so your guests will have a place to mingle.

Patio Furniture

Your guests will need a place to sit! If you don’t already have a dining or conversation patio set, now would be a great time to make some updates. A couple of chairs, a coffee or dining table, and a patio umbrella are a great start to keep your outdoor area party-ready. 


Speaking of an umbrella, make sure your patio has adequate shade. If you’re barbecuing while the sun is still out in the evening, the heat can be brutal. Use umbrellas, a pergola, or other shade structures to keep you and your guests cool and protected from the sun.


Lay out some throw pillows and finish up your patio area with a cozy outdoor rug! It will add color and comfort to your party area so your guests can relax in style. And don’t forget the insect repellent! A citronella candle, bug spray, or repellent tiki torches will make your party area much more comfortable for everyone involved.


If you have a pool, make sure you prep it for your company. Check your water levels and add water if necessary to keep your pool in top shape. Check the chemical levels, as well, and adjust accordingly if readings are too low or too high. Too much chlorine or not enough will make an unpleasant swimming experience for your guests. If the water looks cloudy, you may want to shock your pool or treat it for algae as well.


Once it gets dark, fireworks and sparklers won’t be enough to light up your backyard for your guests. Keep the party going with colorful lanterns or outdoor lights to add a cozy glow to your backyard. Candles or torches can also add a cozy aesthetic to the night hours.


Your grill should be the centerpiece of your 4th of July barbecue! Make sure you’ve properly cleaned and prepped your grill– it’s going to get a lot of use feeding all of your hungry guests! Oil up the grates to keep food from sticking and make sure you have enough charcoal or propane to keep the fire burning until everyone is full! 

Step Two – Prepare the Menu

With your entertainment space prepped and the grill fired up, it’s time to make sure your guests are fed! Last year we rounded up all of our top favorite summer barbecue recipes, so check out that blog for a great place to start building your menu.

However, if you’re looking for a couple more themed dishes, take a look at our top 4th of July picks below!

Top Burger

If you want to get really creative, your guests will love this American Flag-themed burger! Use cucumber, ketchup, and mayo to create the stars and stripes of the American Flag on the patty for a social media-worthy dish! 

Top Hot Dog

They’re not traditional hot dogs by any  means, but these cute Firecracker Dogs are sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike! Topped with stars made of cheese and wrapped in a spiral bun, these dogs will shine like sparklers! (But they’re definitely way tastier.) 

Top Beverages

If you’re looking for a red, white, and boozy-themed cocktail, try this delicious layered cocktail that will wow your guests. It takes a little bit of finesse to pour to get the layers right, but with some practice you’ll be slinging patriotic drinks all night. 

If you’d rather have an alcohol-free option, this Berry Splash mocktail uses cherry drink mix, cranberry juice, and blueberries as a garnish for a delicious drink the whole family can enjoy. 

Top Side

Gelatin Salad may be considered more of a dessert than a side dish, but we couldn’t resist putting it on this list! Just look at how cute this red, white, and blue gelatin dish is! You’ll be the hit of the block party with this on your menu. 

Top Dessert

For a more classic dessert, try these Mini Pie Bites decorated to look like the flag! They’re fruity, delicious, filling, and best of all, simple to make! 

Step Three – Things to Do

And with the stage set, and the menu determined, it’s time to figure out the entertainment! Of course, if you have a local fireworks display, you’ll probably break to watch that at some point. But if you’re going to make the 4th of July barbecue an all-day affair, you’ll need plenty of activities to keep your guests entertained. Here’s our list of favorites that will be a hit with guests of all ages.

Cornhole/Hillbilly Golf

You can’t go wrong with a little bit of competition! Whether you have cornhole boards and beanbags, or some PVC frames and golf balls on string, the mechanics are the same: split into teams of two and see which team has the superior aim and skills! If you’re looking to DIY some games, here’s how you can make a cornhole set or a hillbilly golf course.


What would the 4th of July be without sparklers? Grab a package or two and light up the backyard with twinkling lights! For the littlest guests, red, white, and blue glow sticks can be a safer option to still participate in the fun.


If your backyard is home to a pool, tell your guests to bring their suits and make a splash! Just be sure to have an adult supervising the pool at all times, and that everyone taking part is a strong swimmer, or has a regulation life vest available. Safety first! 

Water Balloons

For backyards without a pool, you can still have some splashing fun at your 4th of July barbecue! Fill up water balloons and have a full-out water balloon war!  Kids vs. adults, Family vs. Family, or everyone for themselves! Bring a dry change of clothes for later and let the water balloon war begin!

Have a Happy 4th of July Barbecue! 

Cincinnati Pool and Patio is your 4th of July barbecue expert! For grilling tips and accessories or pool maintenance, our service professionals are always ready to help. Visit our store for your last-minute 4th of July shopping, or get in touch with us today to schedule your pool service. 

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