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Fourth of July BBQ Menu: Amazing Ribs, Best Side Dishes

What better way to celebrate America's birthday than a backyard cookout featuring tender barbecue ribs and five scrumptious sides?

Fourth of July BBQ Menu: Amazing Ribs, Best Side Dishes

(Teri Virbickis / Shutterstock photo)

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July 4th celebrations are just around the corner – are you ready? If you have not yet decided on what you will be cooking up and serving this holiday, here is a fool-proof recipe for baby back ribs and five tasty sides to serve alongside them.

KVD's Citrus Soda Baby Back Ribs

KVD's Citrus Soda Ribs
Prepare your baby back ribs this Independence Day the same way KVD does. (Jeff Phillips photo)

If you've been looking for the perfect rib recipe for your backyard Fourth of July celebration, this is it. Bass fisherman Kevin VanDam's out-of-the-box recipe starts with marinating baby back ribs in lemon-lime soda and ends with deliciously tender ribs.

“My favorite Fourth of July recipe is [this] one for ribs,” said VanDam. “It’s very easy and it’s super good.”

“They come out very tasty and fall-off-the-bone tender,” said KVD. “It’s not a very time-consuming recipe; you don’t have to watch them and cook them for hours on end. They turn out super good and I’ve never had anyone I’ve shared this recipe with say otherwise.”

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Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes loaded with bacon, cheese, and chives — oh my! (giuliamccoy / Shutterstock photo)

These mashed potatoes are loaded with goodies like bacon, cheese and sour cream. Once you try these loaded mashed potatoes, you'll be hooked. They are simple to make and very tasty.


  • 4 cups hot homemade mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped (garnish)

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Classic Hushpuppies

Homemade hushpuppies – crispy and brown on the outside, fluffy and light on the inside. (Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock photo)

Hushpuppies are a great side for barbecue ribs. This recipe for hushpuppies is a classic, but don't be afraid to jazz it up and make it your own! Feel free to experiment. Add different ingredients to the traditional cornmeal batter to create your own tasty version to serve alongside the ribs at your get-together.


  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Vegetable oil

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Cooler Corn on the Cob

Cooler Corn on the Cob
Cooking corn on the cob in a cooler is a unique and fun way to cook fresh corn for a crowd. (Photo courtesy of

Corn is a must-have on any barbecue menu and this Cooler Corn on the Cob Recipe is so easy, you are going to think, "Why didn't I think of that?"


  • Ears of corn
  • Water

Special Equipment:

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Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Extra cheesy macaroni and cheese. (Photo courtesy of

Mac n' cheese with barbecue ribs? Yes, please!

This is an insanely delicious macaroni and cheese recipe from scratch. If you love cheesy, gooey, stringy sauce that wraps around the pasta, you and your guests are in for a treat.


  • 2 ½ cups uncooked macaroni or corkscrew pasta
  • 2 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cold and chopped into pieces
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup milk

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High Lonesome Beans

High Lonesome Beans
Dutch-oven BBQ beans (Warren Price Photography / Shutterstock photo)

A summer BBQ is not complete without beans! To make this BBQ bean medley, you'll use a dutch oven over an open flame. Just wait until you try these High Lonesome Beans, they will amaze your taste buds!


  • 1 cup chopped bacon
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can great northern white beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can chili beans
  • ⅔ bottle BBQ sauce
  • ¼ cup mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons dark molasses
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ can beer
  • Olive oil

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