Are you planning a backyard BBQ for your friends and family on the 4th of July, but aren’t sure what to make? If so, you’re in luck! Entertaining expert and celebrity caterer, Mary Giuliani joined me for an interview yesterday to dish on how to set the ambience for your 4th of July backyard bash, the secret to impressing your guests when entertaining this summer, her favorite BBQ dishes and seasonings, the must have desserts kids and adults will adore and the secret ingredients in her renowned lemonade (that are most likely growing in your garden) and much more.
Candace Rose: How can a person set the ambience for their 4th of July parties?
Mary Giuliani: “You can start with a very easy way which is picking a place you’ve never entertained before in your yard. Just pick a new spot under a new tree, a new area by your pool. I think just switching up where you’re going to be having fun is a great way to recharge some energy into the night.”
Candace Rose: What’s the easiest way to impress your guests during summer entertaining?
Mary Giuliani: “I think the easiest way is choosing really good qualities to serve, things that are going to be your/the hosts best friend and really make you shine using good flavors. No barbecue for me is complete without using Weber sauces and seasonings because they’re very easy to use and they really bring out the best flavors and what you throw on the grill.
For my chicken, they have a (Weber) Kick’n Chicken that is just delicious and nice and spicy, that with their Buzz’n Honey BBQ sauce is a no brainer, it’s really really good. A regular beef patty can just be a regular beef patty or you can use their gourmet burger seasoning. I put that into my patty, throw it onto the grill and then serve that with some BBQ sauce. Everyone’s talking about my chicken and my burgers, then. There’s are great products to think about using this summer.
I don’t know about you, but hot dogs are my personal favorite on the grill. Ball Park has come out with their Park’s Finest Premium Flavors. They have great flavors like Cracked Dijon their signature, inside you can actually see the flavors and seasonings, so it’s a really delicious and nice taste. They’re 100% all beef, no preservatives, no nitrates and I like to serve those with a toppings bar, so I cut up some onions and tomatoes and some relish and pickles. It’s a nice way for my guests to customize their bite.”
Candace Rose: Everything sounds delicious! How can a host make dessert as tasty as the rest of the meal?
Mary Giuliani: “Well, you have to pick a good ice cream. I love ice cream, I love ending with ice cream and fortunately Blue Bunny ice cream has something for everybody. I choose their scoopable flavors, their premium flavors like Creamy Vanilla or Chocolate. But I also like that they have really unique flavors – they have a Bunny Tracks ice cream, which is a fudge swirl ice cream with peanut butter filled chocolate bunnies inside the ice cream. Adults kids get really excited about that one.
In a cooler I also like to set out for a little ambience, I throw in ice cream sandwiches almost as if I was throwing in drinks. I throw in ice cream sandwiches or mini swirl cones, they make these adorable little swirl cones, kids get so excited about them because they’re so small. Adults really like them because they’re all under 130 calories, so it’s a nice little bite of ice cream without the guilt.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other dishes you suggest hosts serve at their Independence Day party?
Mary Giuliani: “I think it’s a great time to start picking things out of your garden and just throwing them on the grill- things you’ve never thought about before. Vegetables and fruits on the grill is great. It’s something unique and they’re definitely available all summer long.”
Candace Rose: Are there any seasonings that you recommend when grilling your vegetables?
Mary Giuliani: “The regular salt, paprika that is. If you can go and use a specialized sauce or seasoning from the pros, you’ll actually look like a pro.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Mary Giuliani: “If you’d like some more information, you can go to MaryGiuliani.com. One last thing is for your drinks, fresh basil and fresh mint that sometimes grows right in your backyard – throw that into your lemonade this summer. The basil lemonade, one of my favorite drinks of the summer on some ice…really good!”