Best Of Home

Ask A Minnesota Chef: Easy 4th Of July Recipes

June 18, 2014 5:00 AM


You don’t have to subject yourself to store-bought hot dogs and your crazy uncle’s overcooked burgers. There are plenty of recipes for you to enjoy on this all-American holiday, and often with local ingredients to boot. Whether you’re hosting the cookout at your place this year, want to wow the neighbors with your culinary prowess or simply want the very best eats on American’s Independence day, Brandon Randolph is here to help.

(credit: Heartland)

(credit: Heartland)

Brandon Randolph
Line Chef
Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market
289 E. 5th St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 699-3536

Having worked at locally-loved, nationally-known Heartland Restaurant for four years as a Line Chef, Brandon Randolph has committed himself to a tradition of quality unmatched in St. Paul. Heartland’s dedication to local and sustainable eating has allowed him to work with some of Minnesota’s finest ingredients, and he is the man responsible for that steak cooked to perfection, that crisp, savory chicken skin and those mouth-watering pork chops. Taking a little time away from his busy schedule, Brandon shares a few recipes to make this 4th of July something special.

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Grilled Vegetables

July is the perfect season for young zucchini, squash, onions and bok choy. Some of the best vegetables of the summer start appearing around the fourth of July. They’re at their freshest and most delicious, and can add that vibrant splash of color to the grill. 


  • Squash, zucchini, onions, bok choy (any or all)
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


Cut into long strips to lay across the grille after marinating in just a little grape seed oil, salt and pepper. Only leave on the grill a short time, 3-4 minutes, so that you don’t lose that raw crunch. 


Flank Steak


  • 1 1/2 lbs of flank steak 
  • 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


Cut thin the flank steak, and cut at a radical bias (against the grain) so as to keep it tender. Throw it in a marinade of cilantro, lime, oil, salt and pepper and let it sit for at least 12 hours, letting the marinade soak into the meat.

Beware when putting the meat on the grill. They don’t need long on the grill, so be careful not to overcook them. Three minutes will typically be a good amount of time.

If you want a little variety, the same can be done for pork or chicken as well.

Chanterelle Mushrooms

July is also the perfect season for chanterelle mushrooms. One of the tastiest mushrooms, they come into their own this time of summer and are an unbeatable addition to any burger. Meaty and full of flavor, these are the mushrooms for people who don’t like mushrooms.

Don’t eat the chanterelles raw. Saute them in butter until they are soft and cooked through, as the flavor comes out the best when they are fully cooked. Add them to a burger will a little aged cheddar cheese to elevate a good burger into a great burger.

Related: Alta Editions Five Best E-Cookbooks For Your Kitchen

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Cole Slaw

There’s nothing more classic than cole slaw on the 4th of July. For the real zest, a vinaigrette base is best.


  • 1 full head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced very fine
  • 3 radishes (4 if they’re small), julienned
  • 4 shallots
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon 
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp of grape seed oil 
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  • pepper, to taste


Mix the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl, and then toss in the cabbage, fennel, radishes, shallots and tarragon. Cover the bowl and let sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. The longer it sits, the more the cabbage will soften and the more the flavors will blend.

Related: Best Cookbooks For Cooking In College

Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.


More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Ski Report

Listen Live