What We’re Eating on the 4th

How we fuel our patriotism

O beautiful for spacious skies, for saucy racks of riiiiibs!

We at Los Angeles magazine will be celebrating the 237th birthday of our great nation the way all true patriots do: With food! And drink! And things on fire! We asked the LAmag staffers to share what they’ll be grilling and swilling this Independence Day. Want to eat like an editor? (Warning: There is usually gross amounts of Top Ramen involved.) We’ve included a few recipes to do just that.

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Lesley Bargar Suter – Dine Editor
“I’m making a few racks of my famous spicy ribs—which I’m aware are, by any official barbecue standards, a complete bastardization of the art. I braise racks in a mix of pineapple juice, then finish them off on the grill with a sauce mix of All Spice Café Chipotle Garlic Sauce and the classic: K.C. Masterpiece.”

Carly Herbert – Art Director
“Classic of a L.A. Westsider, I will be barbecue-hopping tomorrow. I’ve been assigned a side dish, which is typical of any vegetarian attending a barbecue. Since starchy potatoes are so passé, I am going to whip up my this Warm Lentil Salad w/ Grapes, Feta & Mint. The tangy mustard vinaigrette recipe included is the perfect compliment to the sweet grapes. I sometimes add spinach and have also substituted the pistachios for pecan and the outcome is always a crowd pleaser!” 

Nancy Miller – Deputy Editor
“I’m making a bourbon punch with a recipe I got from Garden and Gun. They have GREAT cocktail recipes for balmy summer evening bbqs…” 

Matthew Segal – Executive Editor
“On the Fourth, the fam’s heading to a friend’s party, where my daughters plan not to bring along the Red, White, and Blue Cake they’re making from scratch. Mi esposa and I are making kumato tomatoes with basil, buffalo mozzarella, and some really good balsamic. Oh, and bringing some Boont Amber Ale. And because the weekend of the Fourth doesn’t stop on the Fourth, on Saturday I’ll be smoking some baby backs over pecan for six hours—mostly, just an excuse to have a little more Boont and maybe watch the tree rats do their tightrope walk along the power lines behind our house.”

Elina Shatkin – Senior Editor
“I am trying to eat healthy and lose my food writer weight so grilled meats (beef and fish), grilled vegetables, watermelon, cherries. None of the usual awesomeness I bring to barbecues: German potato salad, chocolate peanut butter brownies, fruit cobbler.”

Daniela Galarza – Deputy Digest Editor
“I’m going to be grilling whole Thai snapper per Sam Baxton’s instructions and making a side of Christian Page’s romesco to go with it. Probably will have corn on the cob too.”

Marielle Wakim – Associate Editor
Fruit pizza is my all-time favorite Independence Day dessert. It’s easy, it’s refreshing, and (most importantly) it tastes so good it’ll freak you out. If you’ve got the time, make the sugar cookie dough yourself—you won’t regret it.”

Eric Mercado – Research Editor
“I’ll be grilling all-American veggie patties made from Monsanto’s bioengineered soybeans. Yum!”

Linda Immediato – Senior Editor 

“I sorta became famous for my Watermelon Margaritas. It was an original Gourmet recipe. The night before, cut seedless watermelons (though seeds are ok too!) into 1-inch cubes put them in ziplock bags and freeze them at least overnight. Then you put them in batches in the blender, leave a little room at the top in each batch and add 1 cup silver tequila, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime to each batch, NO ICE (cause the watermelon chunks are frozen) and blend for a delicious and refreshing drink. Beware they go down way too easy…

“Beer Can Chicken: You take a 4 pound chicken, salt and pepper inside and out, rub it all over with spices. The take a tall boy beer- the cheaper the better, you want a light beer with high water count…we found Budweiser, Blue Ribbon to be the best (need at least 16 oz can) take a few sips out, punch a couple holes in the top, pour some spices into can (it will foam over so do it over the sink) and then insert the can into the chicken’s cavity. Put can and chicken on a grillproof pan and use the chickens legs as a tripod with the can so stands upright. With a preheated grill on med-high grill chicken in pan with grill lid closed for one hour and 15 to 1 hour and 20 minutes, let the bird sit for a few minutes, carefully remove can, and slice. The beer steams the chicken and it will be the juiciest meat your guests have ever eaten!

“I serve the chicken with classic potato salad (I don’t skip on the fresh dill and add white vinegar with the mayo and dijon mustard), fresh grilled corn, and a mixed green salad.

“For dessert—Martha Stewart’s Fourth of July cupcakes, topped with fresh blueberries raspberries and sparklers!!”

Julia St. Pierre – Production Director
“I am being totally lazy and stopping at Whole Foods for a salad before a barbecue.”


 Happy 4th, everyone!