The Stories Behind July 4th Food Favorites

july 4th bbq in san diego

With the 4th of July holiday just around the corner, you’re probably looking forward to a day off and some summer fun with family, friends, and great food! If you’re Independence Day plans include a July 4th BBQ in San Diego, take some time to learn about the history of the most common July 4th food staples and hopefully have a richer experience when you enjoy this food!

And remember, if you prefer to have someone else do the cooking, all these staples and more are on the menu at Felix’s BBQ With Soul. We’d love to be part of your 4th of July celebration, so bring your friends and family and enjoy some delicious BBQ with great company!


july 4th bbq in san diego
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As you probably know, BBQ is one of the most popular foods eaten during July 4th gatherings. BBQ is a food whose history is rooted in large community gatherings, so it’s no surprise that this is how we celebrate the 4th of July with our friends and family. 

BBQ got its start in the US sometime during the 19th century. Communities occasionally hosted large events during which the community’s farmers would gather a few pigs, slaughter them, and place the entire animal on a barbecue pit to cook. People typically think that BBQ comes from a tradition of “making do”, but it was actually used for the purpose of cooking an entire animal to feed communities of people. As all of our customers know, the tradition of feeding the community is one that’s very important to us here at Felix’s BBQ With Soul!

In 2020, 56% of Americans planned to celebrate July 4th with a BBQ, cookout, or picnic, and we imagine that number will increase significantly in 2021 now that people are getting vaccinated and COVID restrictions are loosening up!

Now that you know a bit more about the history of American BBQ, celebrate the upcoming holiday with July 4th BBQ in San Diego!

Potato Salad

A required side for any BBQ, potato salad was actually taken to Europe from the “New World” by Spanish explorers sometime during the 16th century. Potato salad recipes from this time involved boiling potatoes in wine or a mixture made of vinegar and spices. 

However, the earliest recipes that can be found for American potato salad date back to the mid-19th century, similar to when BBQ got its start. This version of potato salad is heavily influenced by German cuisine and originated from European settlers. This version of potato salad typically involved dressing potatoes with oil, vinegar, and herbs.

But when was mayonnaise first added to potato salad? There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer to that question, but we know that mayo-based salads became popular in the 1920s and 1930s when brands like Hellman’s, Best Foods, and Miracle Whip were introduced to the market. This is when mayo-based potato salad recipes began to include cooked potatoes, chopped celery, and dried herbs seasoning. 

While most potato salads are based on this 20th-century recipe, there are a variety of ways to make this BBQ staple. Variations depend on the region of the US the cook is from, but even within these regions, most families have some secret ingredient of their own that makes their potato salad unique.

So when you’re creating your menu for your July 4th BBQ in San Diego, don’t forget to include some classic potato salad!


july 4th bbq in san diego
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There are few drinks more refreshing than ice-cold lemonade on a hot July day. Before your July 4th BBQ in San Diego, let’s take a look at the history of this BBQ staple!

Although the history of lemons themselves reach far earlier than this, lemonade made its debut in Paris during the 17th century. During this time, the typical recipe consisted of sparkling water, lemon juice, and honey, and it was sold by vendors with tanks strapped to their backs. Lemonade eventually became so popular in Paris that a union for lemonade vendors called the Compagnie de Limonadiers was formed in 1676.

Lemonade reached the United States in the 18th century, thanks to European immigrants. Here, its popularity increased during the temperance movement, when lemonade was promoted as an alternative to alcohol. 

Ice Cream

Ice cream’s origin in the United States is traced back to a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen. 33 years later on May 12, 1777, the first US ice cream advertisement was published in the New York Gazette for confectioner Philip Lenzi. During the summer of 1790, President George Washington spent about $200 on ice cream, according to records kept by a merchant in Chatham Street, New York.

Ice cream was a luxury dessert mostly enjoyed by the wealthy upper class until 1800 when insulated ice houses were invented. Soon, ice cream manufacturing became a US industry and production increased significantly thanks to innovations like steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes. In addition to this, motorized vehicles made delivery easier than ever before, and all of this made ice cream more widely available to the public.


july 4th bbq in san diego
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The earliest pies were known as “pyes” and were actually made with meat filling rather than fruit filling. These pies were English and first appeared during the 12th century. The crust of these meat pies was referred to as “coffyn” and they were usually made with more crust than filling. The most common meat pie recipes of the time used fowl, with the legs left hanging over the side to be used as handles. Fruit pies came into popularity in the 1500s, with Queen Elizabeth I being credited with the creation of the first cherry pie.

Eventually, pie made its way to America with the first English settlers. These pies were cooked in long narrow pans and called “coffins”, similar to the name for the crust in England. During this time, pie crusts usually weren’t eaten and were only designed to hold the filling during baking. Later, during the American Revolution, the term “crust” was coined. Now, pie is considered one of the most quintessential American desserts, which is probably why it’s become a July 4th staple!

Enjoy a July 4th BBQ in San Diego With Felix’s BBQ With Soul!

All of these top BBQ staples can be found on the menu at any of our four Felix’s BBQ With Soul locations! We believe that every meal is made better when you enjoy it with your favorite people, so we welcome you to enjoy your July 4th BBQ in San Diego with us, either in Oceanside, Carlsbad, San Marcos, or Lake Elsinore. Our goal isn’t just to provide you with great food, but the experience that we believe should come with enjoying BBQ and Soul Food as well. We want you to feel just as comfortable here as you would be at home!

We hope we’ll see you this 4th of July!

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