This Independence Day marks the Nation’s 239th birthday, and what could be more American than getting together with friends and family for a relaxing weekend barbecue filled with delicious food and refreshing drinks?

First, the facts.

Did you know that 87% of American households own an outdoor grill? Those grills will have cooked up about 150 million hotdogs when all is said and done by July 5th. This isn’t including the 700 million pounds of chicken purchased this week or the 190 million pounds of pork and red meat. Needless to say, barbecuing is an essential part of making this year’s July 4th a memorable experience. (Source:  statisticbrain.com)

Not all memorable experiences are good though; here are some classic July 4th blunders:

1. Forgetting to check the propane before you grill:  How many times have you finished all your prep work, walked over to the grill and turned it on to find that you’re out of propane? Get everything your grill needs early in the week so you won’t have a backyard full of hungry people and a barbecue that just won’t start. Hungry guests equal grumpy guests and July 4th is a time for fun, food and laughs. Don’t end up looking for last minute alternatives…


2. Leaving your food sitting in the sun too long:  You have your food perfectly marinated, the grill is preheated to the exact degree for perfection, you bring everything out to get started and then the doorbell rings. Your guests are arriving in groups and “want the tour”, need to use the bathroom, would like a drink and possibly need introductions. You’re the perfect host, so your guests come first, but by the time you get back to the grill that perfectly marinated chicken has flies buzzing around it and your beautifully red steak is more of a brown steak now. Even though we’d all love a sunny July 4th, beware of the damage it can do to food that’s been sitting outside for too long. You don’t want your guests to remember your Independence Day party for the food poisoning they had for the rest of the weekend.

3. No planned entertainment:  An ice cold drink, a burger grilled to perfection and nothing to do; not the best combination. Make sure that you have some form of entertainment for your guests to enjoy. When having a backyard barbecue, it is almost mandatory to have some of your favorite tunes to set the mood. Create a playlist and celebrate by throwing around the baseball or a Frisbee. If you have a swimming pool, even better. Don’t spend all your time worrying about food and forgetting that your guests are going to need entertainment too.

4. Picking the wrong place for fireworks:  There will be fireworks going on all across the country. Many times, communities or cities will even host a large spectacle for everyone to come out and enjoy. You didn’t prepare the perfect backyard barbecue just so everyone can leave though; you’ve emptied your savings and bought your own fireworks! Don’t ruin the party by lighting a bunch of fireworks too close to your guests or that dried out pile of grass from your lawn mowing. Safety first!

5. Not Drinking Responsibly:  Having a cold beer or margarita with the sun shining down, delicious food on the grill and your favorite song playing in the background is the recipe for an amazing Independence Day. Make sure you remember the day though. Pace yourself; it’s easy to overindulge when you’re relaxing on the deck with your family and friends.  Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day and be sure to arrange for a designated driver in advance if you plan on enjoying a few cold ones.

6. Telling cheesy July 4th jokes:  Every party needs some good laughs but this list of cheesy July 4th jokes may not be crowd pleasers. There’s a long list of jokes to avoid so be sure you know your audience and please joke responsibly.

 7. Forgetting to decorate:  Atmosphere isn’t all about music, food, drinks and company. Spruce your place up to make it look like you’re proud to be an American. Hang up your flag, get some stars and stripes and display them around the house and backyard. Bonus; if you can find American flag plates and cups for the barbecue, nice touch. Don’t be afraid to be extra patriotic this weekend.