Your July 4 Cookout Will Be Even Better With These BBQ Hacks


July 4 is coming up, and fast! That means it's almost time to get friends and family together and celebrate the good old USA with a BBQ. Want your cookout to be the talk of the town this year? We've got a few hacks that will make a good time even better -- check out our food, drink, and grill recommendations by reading on. 

1. Don't let drinks get watered down! Make ice cubes out of juice or fill ice cube trays with pieces of lemon, cucumber, mint, berries, and more. When they're added to a water or soda, they'll add flavor as they melt.

2. Instead of carrying out a bunch of condiment bottles, put a variety of condiments and spoons in a muffin tin. It'll create a single handy station that multiple people can use at once. No one will get watery mustard that way, too! 

3. Speaking of the muffin tin, make ice cream cones even easier by pre-scooping a few flavors into tins. Pop the muffin tins into the freezer until it's time to serve dessert. The frozen scoops can be easily transferred into the cones with no mess! 

4. Need to get the grill clean? Fire it up, let it get hot, and then use an onion to scrub the grill. It's a super-effective and non-toxic way to clean the gunk off the grill, and you can toss the used onion into the coals when you're finished for extra flavorful flames. 

5. Skip the chemicals when it comes to a fire starter in your grill, too. Instead, you can tuck charcoal briquettes into an empty cardboard egg carton and light that instead! 

6. Fill water balloons with water, then pop them into the freezer the night before your party. They'll keep the sodas and beers in the cooler nice and cold, and then when they melt, the kids (or grown-ups) at the party can have a water balloon fight! 

7. Don't let bugs get into your potato salad or macaroni salad! Serve your sides in clear glass cookie jars. It'll be easy to see what each dish is, and you can top them with lids to prevent any pests from helping themselves.

8. Using skewers? Instead of just putting one skewer into your meats or veggies, put two in instead. That way, the things that you're grilling are less likely to flip or spin as you rotate them on the grill. 

9. Get creative with your s'mores! Who says plain chocolate bars and marshmallows are the only things you can put on them? Try adding peanut butter cups, bacon, berries, or bananas.

10. Do you have a small metal yard flag pole in your garden or by your porch? Put it to work -- take the flag off and add a paper towel roll to the horizontal bar instead. Voila! Instant cleanup station.

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