Fourth of July Test Kitchen Recipes

Planning a Fourth of July gathering? Here are some yummy dishes, prepared by our Drummer test kitchen, that you may want to add to your menu.

Let us know if there is something you would like us to put in our column, or if you have a recipe to share, please submit to

Smoked Chicken Legs


 Prep Time: 15 min

 Cook Time: 2 hrs

Yield: 12 chicken legs


Dry Rub:

1/2 T. kosher salt

1 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. ground dried ginger

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. coriander

1/4 tsp. cayenne (opt.)


Smoked Chicken Legs:

12 chicken legs  


Ensure grates are clean and preheat smoker to 225 degrees F. Pat chicken legs dry with clean paper towel.

Combine dry rub ingredients in small bowl. Cover chicken legs in dry rub, ensuring you get it into every nook and cranny. Place chicken legs on smoker and close lid.

Let smoke for approximately 2 hours or until chicken legs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.


Ranch Chopped Salad


Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 min

Total Time: 20 min


12 slices bacon, chopped

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 c. sour cream

1/4 c. buttermilk

2 T. chopped fresh chives

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

1 pt. grape tomatoes, quartered

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

2 c. shredded cheddar cheese


Cook the bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 10 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

For the dressing: Whisk the mayonnaise, parsley, sour cream, buttermilk, chives and garlic in a medium bowl until smooth. Season with the salt and black pepper.

Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, scallions, bacon and all but 1⁄2 cup of the cheese in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.


Fourth of July Baked Beans


Prep Time: 10 min.

Bake Time: 55 min.

Yield: 8 servings


1/2 lb. ground beef

1 lg. onion, finely chopped

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. ketchup

1/2 c. barbecue sauce

2 T. yellow mustard

2 T. molasses

1/2 tsp. chili powder

2 cans (13.7 oz. ea.) beans with tomato sauce

1/2 lb. bacon strips, cooked & crumbled  


Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain. Stir in sugars, ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, molasses and chili powder. Add beans and bacon.

Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake, covered, 45 minutes. Bake, uncovered, 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through.


Caramel Morsel Bars


Every summer, my grandmother would make these bars when we were at the lake. Hence, they were affectionately called “lake bars” by the whole family. Since her passing in 2012, I took over the role of making these for the family whenever I get to the lake. – Jenny White


5 c. rice cereal

1 (11oz.) pkg. caramels

3 T. water

1 pkg. butterscotch chips

1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips


Melt caramels and water, using preferred method. If microwaving, check every 30 seconds.

Pour melted caramel mixture over rice cereal. If the mixture appears “gooey,” feel free to add more cereal for a better consistency.

Grease 9x13 inch pan. Press cereal mixture down, using greased waxed paper or rubber scraper.

Melt chips, then pour over cereal mixture. To speed up the hardening of the frosting, place in the refrigerator until firm. Cut after frosting has set.


Mom’s Fruit Salad




1 can of Mandarin oranges, drained

1 can of fruit cocktail, drained

2 c. mini marshmallows

1 lg. container of whipped topping

Nuts - Optional


Mix all ingredients together and chill.

Notes: Good idea to add bananas last, as they will darken after they are cut.

I add mine just before serving.

Another Note: Feel free to add more of less of the ingredients. Make it yours.

I usually use 2 cans of mandarin oranges and fruit cocktail.

Family Favorite for All the Holidays.

Quick and easy to make!


Chocolate Covered Oreos®


Regular Oreos®

Candy melts (or chocolate)

Sprinkles if desired


Cover a pan with a baking sheet so finished Oreos do not get stuck. Melt candy melts or chocolate as instructed, may use multiple colors and flavors. Use a fork to dip the Oreos into the melted flavor of choice (chocolate, vanilla, etc) or drizzle over the Oreos on a cookie sheet. If fully dipping the Oreos, place on cookie sheet to dry. If using sprinkles, decorate when wet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to set when finished.


Lemon Chiffon Blueberry Dessert


Prep: 25 min. + chilling

Yield: 15 servings


1-1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)

1-1/3 c. sugar, divided

1/2 c. butter, melted

1-1/2 c. fresh blueberries, divided

1 pkg. (3 oz.) lemon gelatin

1 c. boiling water

11 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 carton (16 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed


Combine cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar and butter, reserving 2 tablespoons for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into a 13x9-in. dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup blueberries.

In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water; cool. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar. Add vanilla; mix well. Slowly add dissolved gelatin. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over blueberries. Refrigerate, covered, until set, about 3 hours. Top with reserved crumb mixture and remaining blueberries. Refrigerate leftovers.


Quote of the Week:

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.’’    

- William Blake



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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