A Slightly Unhinged Power Ranking Of 4th Of July Cookout Foods


Ah, the Fourth of July! A time that should be spent with friends and family in the backyard, grilling meats and playing in the pool. Or on the beach, watching fireworks explode across the night sky. Or in the ER, after an illegal Roman Candle that you bought in Indiana takes the tip of your thumb off.

It was just your dominant hand though. You’ll be fine.

Fourth of July is about knocking back cold ones and eating ice cream at parades. It’s a day you dress up in red, white, and blue and try to steal the Declaration of Independence, Nic Cage style. Most of all, it’s a day to celebrate our great nation’s freedom. Like isn’t it great that we have free speech? Like that any total f*cking idiot can tweet whatever sexist, reckless, or insanely insecure thing he wants and not lose his job? We’re pretty lucky that way, as a nation.

Not-so-subtle jokes aside, this nation is a wonderful place and on July 4th I celebrate all of the things that make it great (while keeping up the fight against the portion of the population who wants to Handmaid’s Tale us). We are, at the end of the day, a nation that values inclusivity, diversity, freedom of religion, the freedom of the press, and the power of people to enact real change in the world. So let’s rally around those qualities while eating BBQ.

At this time in American history, when nuanced conversation is vital, it’s worth noting that there are superb grilling choices and THERE ARE UNARGUABLY WRONG ONES. Luckily, you have us to tell you which is which, in this July 4th, Cookout Foods Power Ranking!

Our ranking system today will be “The handsome dummy who thinks he knows how to grill, but is actually just serving everyone wet, cold, raw meat”

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12. Fish


I’m going to ask this as calmly as I can. Who. Brought. The. Fish. To. This. Barbecue? Who looked at an evite that said, “We’ll have hamburgers and hotdogs, but bring anything else you want to throw on the grill!“And thought that meant you could bring a fucking branzino and toss it the fuck on for me to cook like I’m your personal chef, Rachel Fucking Ray?

Hmm? Anyone? Anyone going to step up here and TELL ME WHOSE FISH THIS IS?

Here’s some advice: In a BBQ evite to someone else’s home, when it says “anything else you want” it means chicken. It means veggie skewers. It means a couple of g**d*mn potatoes wrapped in tinfoil you crazy asshole. How long am I supposed to cook this for? No really? Is there a recipe you’d like me to follow? Is there a 30-minute Martha Stewart youtube video I can watch to learn how to prepare this thing WHILE EVERYONE ELSE AT THE PARTY STARVES? There are 30 fucking people here. Hungry people. And I’m supposed to fillet you up your personal fucking fish that’s still in the brown paper from Whole Foods?

Rating: 1 handsome dummy that no one seems to know standing at the grill. Who brought him here? Is he single? Oh, he wants to feed me a piece of steak from a skewer. Okay, um, yeah, put it in my mouth.

Oh. Oh god. That’s raw. That’s completely raw. The grill…. it’s not….on? Why is he? Why is he flipping things? He has to see that there’s no heat coming out. Right? RIGHT? He’s just smiling at me blankly. I’m gonna back away. He’s not blinking….he….I’m starting to think that no one brought him.


11. Potato Salad

Here’s a hot take. Potato salad is disgusting. It always has been disgusting, and it always will be. It’s got mayonnaise AND mustard in it. I mean dear god, wasn’t one of those ENOUGH? And it sits out in the sun, curdling in its own juices, bacteria forming around every piece of lukewarm potato like it’s just begging to make you vomit. If there’s any food in the world that’s going to come alive like the can of mixed vegetables from Wet Hot American Summer, it’s going to be Potato Salad. And it’s going to have little googly eyes, and tell you that you’ll never be good enough-no matter how much you try.

Rating: 2 handsome dummies standing at the grill and arguing over the perfect temperature to grill a steak at. Both of them rode bicycles here due to multiple DUI’s. They are not employed but have had some “really good auditions lately.” One of them sleeps on an air mattress on a sun porch, the other, his cousin’s couch while he “gets on his feet.” He’s been doing that for 11 years.

You’re just trying to decide which of them you’ll go home with.


10. Veggie Burgers

I mean if you don’t eat meat, these are fine. They are a food product made safe for human consumption so….
Go at it. Eat veggie burgers. Be a good person.

And I guess I’m a “bad” person because a few weeks ago I couldn’t stop murdering chickens. Yeah, I’m the monster because I bathed in the blood of a thousand chickens. Oooookay. See THIS is why people don’t like vegetarians. So judgmental.

Rating: 3 handsome dummies trying to figure out how to change out the gas tank. One of them is using a lighter so he “can see the label better.” I’m sure this will work out fine….


9. Caesar Salad

I like a Caesar salad as much as the next gal, but at any event where it’s hot, and outside for several hours at a time….it’s highly suspect. Like if I saw it shopping in a store, I’d call a security guard and have it checked out for shoplifting. Maybe that’s salad profiling. But I don’t care, it had shifty eyes and a suspicious demeanor. I don’t want it in my jewelry section. And I don’t want to put it in my mouth. That’s what she said. Literally. She said it about Caesar salad and it was just like a second ago so…AHEAD OF IT.

Rating: 4 handsome dummies all jostling for the best grilling position like dogs over a piece of meat. One of them started growling a few minutes ago. But you’re going to see how this plays out. You can always pull out the hose if things get out of control. Like, why is that one biting the others? You know what, your drink is empty, you’ll figure it out later.


8. Popsicles


The Firecracker sits patiently all summer, all year, and waits for this day.

“Sure, you like the fudgsicle better now,” he says quietly as he watches treat after treat be pulled from the freezer. “But just you wait!”

He has a quiet little confidence. Like the Ugly Duckling who knew that one day he might be a beautiful swan — a children’s story that reminds us firmly that it’s okay to be ugly for a little while as long as you turn out like REALLY attractive later. Then you can rub it in everyone’s faces. It’s not that looks aren’t the most important thing, THEY CLEARLY ARE. It’s just that some people or animals become pretty right away, and for some it takes a little longer. And for others, they never become pretty and those are the garbage people that we should for sure treat like trash forever.

All year, Firecracker watches child after child pass it by. But it keeps it’s popsicle stick up, proudly.

“My day will come,” he tells the cookie sandwiches and the drumsticks who tease him. “My moment in the sun is almost here.”

Finally, the 4th day of July comes. A child approaches the truck and the firecracker smiles proudly.

“I’ll take…” the child pauses. The ice creams all hold their breath. Which one will he choose? Firecracker leans forward, eagerly. “The firecracker!”

The other ice creams gasp. The Firecracker?? But he’d always been teased for being un-wantable! The Firecracker cheers! His day has finally come. The child unwraps him and he beams. His red, white, and blue stripes look so patriotic on this, the day of our nation’s birth. And then the child leans forward with a big wet smile.

“Mmmm,” he says. Then he opens his mouth and bites the Firecracker’s freaking head off. Just chews it up like a damn monster.

It’s a lovely story, share it with your kids.

Rating: 5 handsome dummies by the….Oh. You finally figured out why they were growling over the grill before. They’re not guys at all but really attractive German Shepherds. One of them might be rabid. That’s a shame. You thought the tall one with the white tail was making eyes at you earlier, but he was probably thinking about squirrels.


7. Devilled Eggs


Look, I don’t see what’s wrong with good ole fashioned hard boiled eggs. I don’t know why we need to go in and mix the yolk with all sorts a fancy ingredients like a bunch a big city floozies. Plus, why are they called Devilled Eggs? Yeah, it’s something I could easily Google. But I’m not going to because this article is late already. I’m just going to assume that Devilled Eggs are an evil food. The modern day apple in the Garden of Eden. And I’m going to say it loudly to everyone. I mean, I don’t think you’re going to go to Hell for eating them. Though, Purgatory, sure.

Rating: 6 handsome, handsome dummies flipping burgers up into the air like real chefs! It would be really impressive if every time they did it the burger didn’t fall on the ground. Really cool. We’re all getting pretty hungry though…


6. A Bowl of Fruit


“We have that cookout at Jack and Susan’s house today, should we pick up some beer or something?”

“A lot of people will probably bring beer, babe! You know what would be fun? A bowl full of chopped fruit”

“Oh sweetie, you read my mind. But only if it’s mostly cantaloupe!”

“Of course, baby. And there won’t be tongs in the bowl either. We’ll just provide a very tiny spoon. A child’s spoon, covered in Crisco so whenever someone tries to get a piece of fruit it’ll slide right back into the bowl.”

Oooooh that’s good!” (High Five)

Rating: 7 handsome dummies standing around the grill. I tried to go over to ask if I could help with anything. But I think it threatened them.

One of them, said, “When we need a lady female to help cook the meat and smear her blood that’s coming out of her … whatever… then weeeeeeee’llllll let you know, sweetheart.” He’s a gender studies professor normally, FWIW.

Then they all pulled out their penises and started peeing on all of the meat and the grill and each other. I just backed away at that point. They’re still screaming and peeing on things and yelling out quotes from the movie Van Wilder for some reason. Hopefully it’ll calm down soon.


5. Corn On the Cob


I am strongly against vegetables in a cookout. As rule, I load up with one hot dog, one hamburger, and maybe some cheap greasy potato chips for nutritional value, and because I heard a guy in an alley once say that you’re supposed eat one gallon of salt a day or you’ll die.

A veggie skewer is like bread at an all you can eat buffet. STOP TRYING TO TRICK ME IN TO NOT EATING MY MONEY’S WORTH, YOU FOOL. However, corn on the cob is the one exception. It’s sweet, it’s delicious and the perfect accessory to your 4th of July cookout meal. Plus, the skewers can be used as weapons if the zombie apocalypse breaks out. You should always be prepared for such a scenario.

Rating: 8 handsome dummies all trying to flip one burger. They each have their own spatula. I tried to suggest they take turns but they told me they, “Had it covered”. The thing is, that burger has been burned for hours. And it’s getting dark out.


4. Beer

There’s no such thing as a barbecue without the beer. It’s completely un-American. Unless you happen to pregnant all summer. In which case, you don’t get to drink beer. Now, that sucks for you, but don’t worry! You still get to get fat and vomit all the time. SO ALL THE GOOD PARTS OF BEER ARE THERE FOR YOU TO ENJOY.

I’m not the biggest beer drinker (even in my normal, nonpregnant times), but a cold beer on the 4th of July is exactly what the doctor ordered. Not a real doctor mind you. But that guy in the alley who sells pills and is always giving me medical advice. He seems like he knows what he’s doing. And he says that you can always mix your unprescribed pills with alcohol as long as it’s a weekday, and your name begins with a letter. And I think I’ll trust him over a guy who went to Johns Hopkins Medical School. They can’t even spell ‘John’ right! Dummies.

Rating: 9 handsome dummies, all in medical school, crowded around the grill. One of them vomited into my purse earlier after shotgunning a beer. I’m glad they’re our future!


3. Red, White, and Blue cupcakes from the grocery store with those American flag rings on the top.


Grocery store cupcakes with their crazy, sugary frosting are AMAZING. I may be the only person in the Universe who thinks so. But I own that. You may think I’m ‘wrong’ for expressing my knowledge that grocery store vanilla cupcakes with plastic rings are amazing. But you know what other visionary was laughed at? Einstein.

Probably. And also, Beethoven. The dog from the Beethoven movies. They said he’d never make it. And now he’s dead so….I think he did preeeeeetty alright for himself.

Rating: 10 handsome dummies just grillin’. A couple of them took their shirts off. It’s not hot at all. Now, a couple of them are gyrating against the grill. 8 of them are using their belts as lassos, and at least three are no longer wearing their pants.

I’m starting to worry that my craigslist ad about meats and sausages wasn’t worded right.


2. Hot Dogs

A hot dog is one of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures. I can’t tell you what’s in one. Nor do I want to know. But I have to think that it’s mostly love….and brains and intestines and skin and rats. But mostly it’s love.

Rating: 11 of the handsomest dummies around. Grilling meats and talking man talk. Like, “How can we create more gender equality in the workplace?” So stereotypical. Dudes, amirite?


1. Burgers

“Good morning. Good morning. In less than an hour, burgers from here will join others from around the world, and you will be launching the largest grilling battle in the history of burgerkind. Burgerkind, that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences any more. We will be united in our common interest, grilling burgers. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom to have burgers. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation of burgers. We’re fighting for our right to live, to eat burgers, the very best bbq food. And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice, ‘We will not go quietly into the night without burgers! We will not vanish without having a burger! We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive, and we’re going to EAT BURGERS’ Today we celebrate our independence day!”

Rating: 12 handsome dummies standing over the grill. Where did they all come from? They’re huddled over it mumbling. Are they plotting something? We’re so hungry…so very, very hungry. But mostly, we just want to leave. Two of them are guarding the gate though. A few are doing pushups. The rest keep screaming that they and they alone control the flame. It’s getting to be a reallll lord of the flies situation up in here. And we’re scared. So scared….Oh. Burgers are done. I’m gonna go make myself a plate.