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Kid-friendly Recipe Ideas for a Perfect Fourth of July Cookout

family grilling

Dear parent(s), it’s an exciting time for your babies! Summer is in full swing--feel the heat, smell the breeze, sense the celebration in the air!--and the kids are likely experiencing their first post-pandemic cookout this Independence Day. To be expected, families looking to spend quality time during cookouts this year are probably looking online for ideas for kids' recipes to ensure that this holiday is safe, fun, and, most importantly, easy to plan.

According to Delish, one of the best ways to ensure everyone’s safety is by making a strict and strategic menu. Menu ideas like these help prevent too much plate-swapping or sharing. Plus, designating a menu made for the outdoors helps to keep everyone at a safe distance. Furthermore, especially if picky kids are involved, this will ensure they are on board with selecting the food items.

We at the MeatStick want to make sure you are able to spend quality time without worrying about the family. Mom and Dad need a breather too!

So check out these kid-friendly meal ideas we’ve curated for you to ensure everyone at the party has a good time.

Cookout ideas for kids and adults to enjoy together


While the grill is warming, stave off the hunger with simple appetizer ideas that adults and children will love.

Potato Salad

One of our favorite recipes. It a convenient, marvelously cold for a hot summer day, and highly customizable to satisfy picky eaters in your house. Every family has their preferred delicious recipe for this classic staple of the American BBQ experience. Try adding a splash of pickle juice and top it with scallions or other fresh herbs to up the flavor and make your a unique, delicious version. 

Salsa and Chips

The sweet and sour of chunky salsa and the crunch of crispy chips? A match made in heaven! Plus, it's a good side for BBQ items, with its refreshing crispness and grease-cutting tang. If your kids possess a more adventurous palate, try this spicier mango salsa by Cookie and Kate, or any of their favorite toppings to add variety. 

Mac and Cheese

Can anything go wrong with Mac and Cheese? Seriously. This dinner staple is simple to prepare, has simple ingredients, is easy to serve, and is perfect for weeknight meals. Tip: it even tastes better the next day! So you can lighten the workload during the day of the celebration by preparing this the night before. Creamy, cheesy, and filling, every family member will find this delicious dish incredibly satisfying. Also, they make the best sides to go with our main cookout meals.

Main Dishes

Recipes From The Grill

The crux of the cookout! For a helpful refresher that shows you how to use the Meatstick meat thermometer to achieve perfect cooking temperatures, check out our grilling guide for various meat types!

Also, chef? Try to swipe a few of these BBQ menu items for yourself because they will be gone fast.


The kids may clamber for Mcdonald’s, but you can do it better in your backyard barbecue! It’s healthier and completely no-hassle with the MeatStick; grill the beef patties for 5-7 min per side over medium heat and wait until the target temperature is 160ºF/71ºC. Our mobile app will notify you if any cookout foods need checking up on. Kiss goodbye to hours guarding the grill. Instead, spend more relaxing with the family.

Grilled Teriyaki Pork Chops

Try our teriyaki pork chop recipe with a dark, syrupy sauce (created by caramelizing brown sugar) that will please all picky guests! Although this dish does contain mirin, a type of Japanese alcohol, rest assured that through the cooking process, the alcohol will evaporate and be perfectly safe for kids.

If you're opting for something classic, we also recommend our easy & fast grilled pork chops. Pair with any sauce of your choice, and these chops can just as easily be the perfect dinner recipe. This an amazing dish to ensure your kid will get their protein, 

Grilled Vegetables

Time to listen to mama and eat your greens! Grilled veggies are a good way to incorporate healthy meals among all the BBQ meat dishes. Besides grilling corn, try coating these other veggies in oil and seasoning them with salt and pepper before throwing them on a quick grill:

  • Zucchini and squash (7-8 minutes)
  • Tomato (4-6 minutes)
  • Bell peppers (8-10 minutes)
  • Onions (4-6 minutes)

Remember to keep track of the char on the vegetables, as some kids may find it unappetizing and bitter. However, you can make vegetables overall more appealing for younger children by pairing them with a light squirt of ketchup or honey!

Recipes From The Kitchen

In case things don't go as planned, we've got you covered. These plan B alternatives can be prepared in the kitchen if your child does not enjoy the smoky flavors from the grill. Don’t fret; these classic dishes are a guaranteed failsafe to keep them enjoying the fourth of July celebration as much as the others.

Or perhaps, you're feeding a large number of guests. With the help of the MeatStick, these quick recipes require little supervision and work well in large numbers too.

Fried Chicken

Another dinner staple. Crispy and golden brown on the outside, this fried chicken recipe made with the MeatStick Mini also ensures the meat inside is safely cooked and perfectly tender. Paired with a fresh side of green vinegarette salad, some sauces, or the mac and cheese we mentioned earlier? This will be a definite hit-or-hit combo.

Baked Salmon

Protein doesn't always have to come from pork or beef. Our baked salmon is healthier with lemon, rosemary, and garlic-infused flavors, and at the same time, a great source of proteins for your kids. It's flaky This easy oven weeknight dinner will also allow you time to focus on quality family time–you won’t have to stress about the doneness of the fish, regardless of thickness; the MeatStick mini will tell you when it’s done!


Ah. Dessert, the best part of any meal. These sweet treats are good for having around the grill while making precious memories:


Time to bring the ice cream out to beat the summer heat! Who doesn’t love a good milkshake to end the meal? Instead of the usual chocolate or vanilla drinks, fresh berries into a creamy concoction of vanilla ice cream, ice cubes, and milk (or even Greek Yogurt for a spot of tangy flavor) make a perfect idea for kids who struggle to eat fruits. Tip: Keep your milkshake glasses in the fridge before serving, as the cool glass prevents a melty mess in the summer months.

Fruit Salad

Like grilled vegetables, a fruit salad is a tasty way of ensuring everyone gets their nutrients from Mother Nature. You can grill fresh fruits like peaches, watermelon, and pineapple and toss them on a platter for a healthy treat. Or perhaps combine summer berries like blueberries and raspberries with cold yogurt or sour cream! Garnish with a mint leaf or two if you’re feeling fancy.


If we're mentioning cookout kids' ideas, this is a must-have. With just a handful of ingredients,  the classic combination of marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers? It's powerful stuff. Furthermore, let the kids get involved by roasting their own marshmallows as a fun backyard activity.

Cookout Classics For The Win

These classic recipes can be made in batches to accommodate the size of your group of guests. They are time-saving (many can be prepped the day before), and the grilling portion is made effortless and uncomplicated with our handy meat thermometers.

Although some may claim that pasta salads, hotdogs, burgers, and potato salad are overdone for a 4th party, what's wrong with something classic, simple, and delicious? You don't need to change perfection, after all.

And so perhaps, the best part about this fourth of July menu is that it is highly customizable to your family's needs and tastes.

These past two years have reminded us all about the importance of family and socializing. This fourth of July, let’s make sure everyone in the family is able to fully enjoy each other’s company in the presence of great food and drinks! By taking the guesswork out of cooking, the MeatStick can help minimize time spent in the kitchen and maximize the joy of loved ones. Let's feast!

family on a bbq


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