Getting Ready to Celebrate

July 3rd, the day to get all the prep for your Independence Day celebration.  Growing up in Fife Lake, Michigan I love a small town holiday!  The parade, the craft fairs, the fireworks….There is an energy in town that you don’t experience any other day of the year.

Living right on the parade route and having prime seating to view the fireworks of course there was ALWAYS a barbecue at our house and people coming and going from sun up until sun down.  Lately the only difference is I no longer live on the parade route, my parents do.  As a result I am responsible for providing side dishes for our annual food-fest.

This year I broke out my smoker to get ready for a new potato salad recipe I am going to try.  I made smoked chili-lime pork chops for dinner over the weekend and smoked some potatoes along side.

Chili Lime Smoked Porkchops

  • The juice of 1 Lime
  • 1 small onion
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic
  • 1TBSP Kosher Salt
  • 1TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive Oil
  • Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Pour over pork chops and let soak 2-3 hours.

Remember this guy?  Prepare according to manufacture’s instructions.  I used apple wood to provide the smoke.  I didn’t want anything as heavy as a mesquite flavor.  The potatoes I tossed in a mix of olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley flakes than placed directly on the grate.  Smoke for 1 – 2 hours depending on the thickness of your chops.  (Shorter smoking times mean you will have to finish your spuds off in the oven/microwave or stove top.)

Prepare your smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

My potatoes didn’t quite finish in the hour I smoked my pork chops so I finished them on the stove top.  This did reduce the smokey flavor a little but some in my family prefer a little less smokiness.

Smoked Chili Lime Pork Chops with Smoked Red Potatoes

Baked Potato Salad

  • I boiled the potatoes (about 3 lbs of red potatoes) for about 5 minutes until they were nice and tender.  After draining them I set them aside in the fridge to chill.
  • Meanwhile, fry up 1/2 pound of thick cut bacon until crispy.  Drain, cool and crumble. 
  • Cut 1 bunch of green onions into small pieces.  Mix your potatoes, bacon, green onions and
  • 2 cups shredded cheese with
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise and
  • 1/2 cup sour cream. 
  • Serve well chilled and with a BIG spoon!



The other side dish I am making is a family favorite refreshing summer salad passed down through my family for years.

Cucumber Onion Salad

  • 4 large cucumbers sliced thin
  • 1 large WHITE onion sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced thin (my addition)
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (the original recipe calls for white vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Add water to bring liquid up enough to cover all the veggies.  Cool in the fridge for a few hours, overnight if possible.

This cool, crisp salad is a refreshing treat on a hot afternoon.


Finally, what is a 4th of July celebration without decorations?  Adding flags and buntings to your tables brings an easy festive air to your table scape.  Or get your kids involved in making center pieces!

However you decide to celebrate, have a safe and happy holiday!

-Nikki, Home and Garden Welcome





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Filed under Grilling and Barbecues

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