6-Pack Thursday: Ultimate 4th Of July Cookout Plate

Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Fourth of July! 

In celebration of Independence Day, this column is turning into your reference guide in building the perfect cookout/tailgate plate. At least as I see it. 

We’ll get back to football next week. For now, enjoy some time with family and friends while devouring a plate very similar to what is detailed below. 

Meat: Ribs

Y’all can have your hamburgers, brats and hot dogs (that is the order they are ranked), put a slab of ribs on my plate. Fall-off-the-bone tender meat lathered in a sweet, tangy BBQ sauce is the proper way to do meat at your cookout. 

Side 1: Baked Beans

I’m not talking about grabbing a can of Bush’s Baked Beans from the grocery store and heating them up on the stove. Fry some bacon, green peppers, onion (optional - I hate onions), and browned hamburger meat. Then put them in your slow cooker with ketchup, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce and navy beans for about 5 hours and prosper. And don’t be skimpy with the bacon. 

Side 2: Mac and Cheese

You may need to get another slow cooker because I am not talking about Kraft’s Mac and Cheese. I personally have no idea how to make this delicious side but I’m blessed to have a wife who does. Find you a southern woman or at least one with a recipe who knows how to make mac and cheese in the slow cooker and you won’t eat it any other way again. 

Side 3: Corn on the Cob

If you were thinking about cooking corn on the cob by boiling it in water, allow me to tell you about a better way - the best way. No need to shuck it at all, leave it right in the husk and place it on your grill. Don’t worry about burning it because it takes a decent amount of time to cook. You’ll know when it’s done because it will lose its firmness when pressing on it. When it’s done cooking, shuck it and eat. This corn should not require any additional condiments, although butter and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce would be my way to do it. 

Fruit: Watermelon

No disrespect to great fruits like honeydew or cantaloupe, but watermelon is a requirement at your cookout or tailgate. Why? It’s refreshing and it taste the best. 

Beverage: Tequila Pineapple 

“There is no better beverage when the sun is out than tequila pineapple.” - Brad Kelly

He’s not wrong. During our time in Nashville covering the 2019 NFL Draft, Brad introduced me to this wonderful concoction and it has changed my life. It was my drink of choice in Punta Cana for my Honeymoon in May (yes I am a Punta Cana survivor) and many times since. Super easy to make… ice, tequila, pineapple juice, triple sec and a dash of lime juice. 

Written By:

Joe Marino

Director of Administration

Director of Administration & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. Member of the FWAA.