Somehow, the official start of summer and the longest day of the year have already come and gone. Take advantage of the outdoors before summer slips away!

Whether you’re planning a picnic in the park, a backyard barbecue, or a rooftop dinner party, we’ve got recipes to fuel your next alfresco gathering. First up: the Fourth of July recipes.

Every July Fourth, you can count on parades, flag-flying, and firework shows, but our favorite Independence Day tradition is the all-American barbecue.

Here’s a menu that will make your seven-year-old niece, vegetarian brother, and cocktail-connoisseur cousin happy.

Simplicity is the secret to throwing a successful party. Save those time-consuming dishes for more intimate gatherings. It’s summer. It’s hot. Do yourself a favor and make these straightforward recipes. Your guests will thank you.

Who doesn’t love watermelon? Even though pure melon juice is a great thirst-quencher, be bold and kick your beverage offerings up a notch (you’re throwing a party after all). Our Independence Day Cocktail is ridiculously refreshing, plus the recipe is for a large batch, so you can spend more time drinking and less making—a win-win.

Avoid spending hours cooped up in your kitchen by embracing your slow cooker. This appliance isn’t just good for winter cooking, it’s great for making summer dishes, too. These smoky hot wings are shockingly easy to make—you’ll want to serve them at every barbecue.

Another hearty appetizer that will impress guests is our Horseradish Deviled Eggs with Seared Steak and Blue Cheese.

For the main event, serve Beer-Braised Pulled Pork Sliders with Grilled Sweet Potatoes and a lime–sour cream dip.

If time is not on your side, grilled Beef Kalbi is an easy but impressive main. These Korean short ribs can be ready in under 30 minutes, so if you really want to make your barbecue a meat-fest, add them to your menu. Serve with a side of homemade kimchi.

Balance out these carnivorous dishes with a big bowl of Kale-Apple Coleslaw with Poppy Seed Dressing, Grilled Sweet Corn, and an Herbed Heirloom Tomato Salad.

And last but not least, dessert. It’s hard to celebrate America’s independence without apple pie, but honestly, who wants to be stuck inside baking on a hot day? Good thing you can be outside, have your pie, and eat it too thanks to Aida Mollenkamp’s Grilled Coconut-Apple Crisp recipe. Need more sweet recipes? Here are 39 desserts that are perfect for your 4th of July barbecue.

Check out all of the best 4th of July tips and advice from our great community.

Photos by Chris Rochelle

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