Categories: Camping RecipesDinner

Food Before Fireworks: A Simple 4th of July Menu

Summer is in full swing, and one of our favorite holidays is right around the corner: Fourth of July! This holiday will forever be associated with long summer nights, good food, and good company, all of which are also the makings of a great camping trip.

While it might not be the ultimate “food holiday” (it’s hard to compete with Thanksgiving), it’s hard to picture a Fourth of July celebration without conjuring up images of someone grilling burgers, cooking corn on the cob, or biting into a juicy slice of watermelon. This food lends itself to camp cooking—it’s not particularly fussy, and because so many summer foods are at their seasonal peaks, you don’t need to do much in the way of preparation to make them shine.

To help you plan your holiday camping trip, we’ve come up with a great menu for a Fourth of July celebration in the great outdoors.

The perfect 4th of July camping menu

  1. Southwest sweet potato veggie burgers
  2. Potato salad
  3. So freakin’ easy grilled corn
  4. Red, white, and blue fruit salad

Southwest sweet potato veggie burgers

Serves 4 | 25 minutes total

The star of this meal is the southwest sweet potato burger, a healthy, spicy, smoky, and delicious alternative to the traditional quarter pounder. These veggie burger patties can be made ahead of time at home or at camp, then cooked over your campfire or on a camp stove. With these dressed up with spicy mayo, avocado, and fresh cilantro, we bet that even your omnivore friends will be coming back to the grill for seconds.

  • 1 medium/½ lb sweet potato, to yield about 1 cup grated sweet potato
  • 1 can small white beans, drained
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¾ – 1 cup panko
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ tablespoon New Mexico chile powder (this one is fairly mild—you can substitute if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon oil
  • Hamburger buns, toasted on the grill
  • Spicy mayo (1/4 cup mayo + 1 tablespoon sriracha, mixed)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Red onion, sliced into half-moons
  • Cilantro
  • Sharp knife + cutting board
  • Box grater or cheese grater
  • Spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Fork
  • Measuring cups + spoons
  • Skillet + camp stove (optional)
  • Metal spatula

1. Grate the sweet potato using the small holes on a box or cheese grater. Place in a large bowl.

2. Add the drained white beans and, using the back of a fork, mash the beans with the sweet potato to form a dough.

3. Add the drained white beans and, using the back of a fork, mash the beans with the sweet potato to form a dough.

4. Add the egg, spices, and salt and stir to incorporate. (If making at home ahead of time, all this can easily be done in a food processor instead.) Stir in the panko, ¼ cup at a time, until a fairly dense dough forms. You may not need all the panko, or you may need a little extra. You’re looking for the dough to reach a point that it will hold together when you make the patties—not too dry, not too wet.

5. Using your hands, form the patties: take ¼ of the dough and form into a ball. On a flat surface, or between your palms, press the ball evenly to form a disc about ¾ inch thick. Repeat to form the rest of the patties.

(The steps above can be made at home or at camp. If making at home, stack the formed patties, separated by a square of parchment or wax paper, and place in a large zip lock bag. Refrigerate until ready to grill!)

6. Over medium heat, either directly on a grill or in a lightly oiled skillet, cook the patties for about 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through.

7. To assemble, spread spicy mayo on a toasted bun, and then layer the burger, cilantro, red onion, and avocado. Serve immediately with your favorite BBQ sides (we have included some suggestions below!).

Potato salad

Serves 4 | 25 minutes total

  • 1 pound potatoes: Yukon gold, red, or new potatoes work well. If you want to be super patriotic, pick up a bag of Trader Joe’s multi-colored potato medley
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Equipment
  • Sharp knife + cutting board
  • Pot + camp stove
  • Measuring cups/spoons


1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.

2. Cut the potatoes into small ½-inch cubes (this will help them cook faster on your camp stove!).

3. Once the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook until tender, for 10-15 minutes.

4. Drain and let the potatoes cool. Once cool, add mayo, mustard, and scallions, then stir to coat the potatoes. Salt to taste.

So freakin’ easy grilled corn

Serves 4 | 15 minutes total

  • 4 ears of corn
  • Butter & salt to taste


1. Shuck the corn and remove the silk.

2. Grill the corn directly on the grill over high heat for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes to ensure it cooks evenly.

3. Serve with butter and salt to taste.

Red, white, and blue fruit salad

Serves 4 | 5 minutes total

  • 4 cups watermelon cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 or 4 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Squeeze of lemon (~½ tablespoon juice)
  • Sharp Knife + cutting board
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Large bowl

1. Place all ingredients in a big bowl.

2. Toss to combine, making sure that the mint is evenly distributed.

3. Serve immediately.

Fresh Off The Grid is a camp cooking blog featuring recipes specifically designed for cooking in the outdoors, written by Megan McDuffie and Michael van Vliet.

Recent Posts

4 Epic Stargazing Road Trip Ideas Made for Campers

Pack your bags and prepare for a star-filled journey that’ll take you to remote mountain peaks, red rock deserts, and…

1 day ago

10 Scenic Summer Roadtrip Routes by Hipcamp and Subaru

There’s nothing more quintessential than a summer road trip with your significant other, friends, or family. Camping is one of…

1 week ago

10 Uncrowded East Coast Beaches for Campers

Sun, waves, a good book, and sand between your toes, there’s so much to love about a summer camping trip…

1 week ago

Best Places to Camp for the Perseid Meteor Shower

There’s always been something special about camping underneath the stars, but what about when the night comes alive with hundreds…

1 week ago

The Best Stargazing Apps for Your Next Dark Sky Camping Trip

Camping and stargazing go together like chocolate and graham crackers during fireside s’mores. The act of watching the cosmos, from…

2 weeks ago

An Unforgettable Great Lakes Camping Road Trip Itinerary

Check out this scenic route along the Great Lakes, which includes stops at all three designated national lakeshores. The ultimate…

2 weeks ago