OPINION: Easy BBQ recipes for your first Fourth of July cookout

Courtesy photo by Max Pixel.

Independence Day is just around the corner, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by stuffing your face with as much protein as your patriotic gut can muster.

Hosting a cookout can be a little chaotic if it’s your first time (or even if it’s your 12th time), but there’s no need to fear. I’m a big fan of barbecue, so here are some of my favorite recipes that any college student can try at their Fourth of July cookout.

Dashed mashed potatoes

Requirements: mashed potatoes, Mrs. Dash seasoning blend

First off, an easy side dish for the starch lovers.

Mrs. Dash is a brand of seasonings famous for being salt-free and delicious as heck, and it’s a perfect addition to any meal. There are a plethora of Mrs. Dash varieties available for purchase, but my personal favorites are the original blend and the southwest chipotle blend.

After preparing a serving of mashed potatoes (any method is fine), simply sprinkle your favorite variety of Mrs. Dash on top, mix it in, and then sprinkle some more on top for visual appeal. Adding a tablespoon of gravy or butter in the middle never hurts, either.

Parmesan pork chops

Requirements: pork chops, barbecue sauce and seasoning, grated parmesan cheese

Pork chops are some of the easiest meats to cook in my opinion, so this recipe is perfect for a first-time cookout host.

First off, seasoning tends to stay on better if you apply it to the meat while it’s raw. For this recipe, I recommend a heaping of sweet and tangy barbecue seasoning with parmesan cheese (yes, the stuff you sprinkle on pizza) right on top. Having too much seasoning is always better than having too little, so sprinkle it all on until every pork chop is covered in orangey-brown and cheesy-white.

From there, simply cook the pork chops (on a grill or a skillet, your choice) until they’re white all over and just starting to get crispy brown. Add barbecue sauce (Stubb’s or Sweet Baby Ray’s are my favorites) and sprinkle on a little more of your seasoning just in case, and you’re good to go.

Girthy turkey burgers

Requirements: ground turkey, wheat buns, barbecue sauce and seasoning, provolone cheese

Everyone loves a good hamburger, but I think turkey burgers could use a little more love. Benjamin Franklin called the turkey a “bird of courage” for a reason.

Ground turkey is shockingly easy to cook, but boy is it moist. Cooking these burgers without a way of draining all the water and gobbler goop could prove difficult, but on the bright side, that means you don’t need very much oil if you’re using a skillet.

Covering your turkey patties in your favorite barbecue seasoning is a given, and stuffing some provolone cheese inside the patties makes for a nice surprise. When your turkey patties are firm and smelling wonderful, slap some cheese slices, barbecue sauce and other goodies on top and plop it all between two wheat buns for a burger that will set off fireworks in your taste buds.

Kyle Hampel is the opinion editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I am a 2019 graduate in English. I have strong feelings about barbeque pizza and the Oxford comma. I am a former copy chief, community editor, feature editor, designer and deputy multimedia editor. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.