Hosting Tips

A Skewer Soirée for Fourth of July

By Camille Styles
fourth of july skewer party!

Last week, Phoebe announced that moving forward, she wanted to eat all her food skewered on a stick. And can you blame her? There’s something inherently more fun about veggies when they’re in kebab form, and as summertime grilling reaches its peak, I’ve been experimenting with skewering just about everything, from corn to brussels sprouts to melons (don’t worry, we’ll get to that) to nail down the perfect technique. Turns out, it’s all in the seasonings, so we tapped our friends at McCormick to help us throw the most festive, patriotic, and kebab-filled Fourth of July party ever. Keep reading for the recipes, and we’d love to hear if you guys give these a try this July 4th!

*photos by kate zimmerman

The best thing about a skewer party is that all you have to do beforehand is chop your veggies into equal sized pieces. Once guests have arrived, set out platters of ingredients and skewers, and let guests build their own! It’s my stealth way of actually getting them to cook their own meal. But let’s just keep that our little secret, mmmkay?

Pro tip: if you’re using bamboo skewers like these, soak them in a tall pitcher of water for 30 minutes beforehand. This will keep them from burning up on the hot grill!

When grilling shrimp, it can be tough to keep them from falling through the grates, which makes them the perfect candidate for kebabs. I purchase mine from the fish counter already peeled and deveined, but with the tails still in. Thirty minutes before cooking, I put them in a simple marinade, then sprinkle with McCormick Grill Mates Bacon Chipotle Seasoning just before putting on the hot grill.

We kept things casual and festive by passing out red and white plates, galvanized chargers, and star-spangled napkins so everyone could serve themselves. These American flag pillows looked perfectly patriotic nestled on the couch.

Carmen scored this adorable mini charcoal grill for us to experiment with. If you’ve never used a charcoal grill before, no worries — this baby is so easy to use. Just make sure you grab easy-light charcoal and have some lighter fluid on hand.

Get the recipe for my Chipotle-Lime Grilled Shrimp Skewers right here!

Serve-yourself style meals make it so easy to accommodate all your guests. Picky eaters can choose what they like and everyone is encouraged to go back for seconds!

This McCormick Grill Mates Garden Herb Veggie Herb Marinade Mix is a revelation! We grill veggies all the time at our house, but I never thought to marinate them. All you do is whisk the mix together with oil, water, and vinegar, and you’ve got an instant herb-inflected marinade. I let the veggies hang out in it for about an hour before grilling, and they were packed with so much flavor that everyone was asking for my “secret” recipe.

Get the recipe for my Garden Herb Veggie Kebabs right here! 

Dense veggies, like brussels sprouts and corn, can be really tough to thread onto a skewer. To soften them up a bit and make the process easier, I like to quickly blanch mine in boiling water for a couple minutes beforehand. You don’t want to cook them per se; just soften them up a bit so that they’re easier to skewer.

Nothing says “summer” like a tall ice cold pitcher of fruity sangria.

For a lighter twist on the classic, I added fresh peaches, berries and mint to a bottle of sauvignon blanc in a pitcher, then let chill for a few hours in the fridge. Just before serving, I topped with sparkling wine. Cheers!

When we were in Italy earlier this month, I consumed more prosciutto-wrapped melon than I ever thought humanly possible. So imagine my delight when I was at the grocery store the other day, and saw a big pile of cantaloupe imported from Tuscany! I thought it would be fun to put my own twist on the classic by skewering and grilling it.

This one’s so easy that it barely needs a recipe. Just cut your melon into bite-sized pieces, wrap a thin piece of prosciutto around it, and throw onto a very hot grill just until you get a little char on the prosciutto – a minute or two is plenty! If it stays on the grill too long, the melon will get mushy (gross), so make it quick.

The only thing more fun than frosé? (that’s frozen rosé, in case you’ve exiled yourself from Pinterest.) Frosé popsicles, of course!

This is my new favorite refreshing summer treat – it’s creamy and fruity and boozy, all in one cute and patriotic little popsicle that’s perfect for the Fourth.

Get the recipe for our frosé popsicles here!

Happy Fourth, everyone! xo