How to Eat and Drink on the Fourth, According to NYC’s Chefs


As with just about any holiday we celebrate, we’re preparing for the anniversary of America’s birth by contemplating what we’ll eat and drink. And while our plans normally include some variation on grilled meat and beer, we decided to garner a little inspiration from New York City’s chefs this year, who we asked to weigh in on Independence Day menus and traditions. Their answers include everything from slow-roasted pernil to fried chicken to rum punch. Get a taste of what 10 chefs had to say about how they’ll eat on the fourth, and come back tomorrow for more.

Chef Richard Gibbs, Battery Harris
“If I’m not working the holiday, I normally go to my childhood friend’s house in Staten Island and bring a slow-roasted pernil (pork shoulder). I marinate the pernil overnight in a mojo laced with chipotle, garlic, oregano, onions, and sour orange juice. It’s then roasted for six hours. There are never any leftovers, so this year I’m planning on bringing two.”

Chef Jesse Schenker, Recette
“If I had the night off, I would make a really good potato salad with mustard, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese. I’d make pork ribs with spicy dry rub, and a side of cold ginger ale.”

Chef Bruce Bromberg, Blue Ribbon Restaurants
“I’ll be with my wife and daughter on the Kona coast of Hawaii watching fireworks and eating laulau, roast pork, poi, and many more traditional Hawaiian dishes. We will also partake in Turtle Independence Day when the Mauna Lani Resort releases the Hawaiian turtles that they have nurtured back to health back into their natural habitat along the lava rock coast.”

Executive chef Marc Vidal, Boqueria
“I’ll be celebrating this July Fourth cooking for my friends on my rooftop in Brooklyn. First, I’ll be whipping up a fresh salad of watermelon, tomatoes, basil, and cheese, something light and refreshing for a hot summer night. I’ll then make paella de mariscos–a classic seafood paella with shrimp, cuttlefish, squid, mussels, saffron, and salsa verde–on my grill. For dessert, we’ll grill up some pineapple and serve it with sweet molasses and fresh lime juice. We’ll pair it all with crisp Spanish wines and my summer cucumber sangria.”

Executive chef Gabe Thompson, dell’anima, L’Artusi, Anfora, and L’Apicio
“My mother-in-law always makes fried chicken on the Fourth of July. It is marinated in buttermilk, mayo, beer, and herbs. The chicken is aggressively seasoned with salt and paprika and dusted with flour before it’s fried in a large cast-iron skillet. She always serves the chicken with baked beans cooked with sugar and bacon. This year, I’m contributing a cucumber, red onion, mint salad to be served alongside.”

Executive chef Elizabeth Karmel, Hill Country Barbecue Market and Hill Country Chicken
“This year, I am taking a break from my traditional Fourth of July cook-out and celebrating with an all-American picnic of fried chicken, deviled eggs, potato salad, tumbled tomatoes, and lemon bars. Spiked sweet tea made with extra lemons and a shot of whiskey will be definitely be in my thermos.”

Chef and co-owner Daniel Holzman, The Meatball Shop
“For me, the Fourth equals grilling. This year I’m headed out to Long Island with some friends to celebrate in style. We will be grilling on the beach with striped bass, some local veggies, and a whole lot of cold beer. There’s no celebration without an open fire, a cold beer, and friends and family to share it with.”

Chef-owner Jimmy Bradley, The Red Cat and The Harrison
“American was built on beer and rum, so I serve beer from New England like Geary’s, Allagash or Narragansett, and I make a rum punch to keep the scurvy at bay. The punch has light and dark rums infused with rhubarb, demerara [thick simple syrup], and lime. Wicked yummy. And for those who don’t prefer beer and rum, I make some champagne cocktails, one with crushed strawberries and one with crushed blueberries. For the meal, I make grilled baby chickens and lobsters and serve them with corn, rhubarb cole slaw, baked beans–Bradley Arms-style–and butter with bay and black pepper. For dessert, I make an ice cream cake of vanilla, strawberry, and blueberry ice creams.”

Executive chef John Parlatore, Preserve24
“My family usually roasts a whole lamb and a whole suckling pig at my sister’s house in Connecticut, where we built a stone oven for cooking the pig and a spit outside for roasting the lamb. The lamb is garnished with tons of olive oil, rosemary, and garlic and cooked on the spit over a wood fire. The whole suckling pig is stuffed with summer onions before being cooked in the stone oven. Our family also makes wine in the basement with grapes we order from Sicily. Making our own wine is a family tradition–it seems like everyone in Sicily does it.”

Executive chef Philippe Berteineau, Benoit
“I like to celebrate the American way with friends around a barbecue. The menu usually includes glazed pork ribs or prime beef steaks grilled on the barbecue with corn on cob, a fresh cold Brooklyn Lager, and a seasonal fruit tart.”