4th of july

These Are the Best 4th of July Groceries to Pick Up at Trader Joe’s

published Jul 1, 2020
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Pre-pandemic, I used to visit my local Trader Joe’s once a day, sometimes twice, or even three times, just to check in on the daily sample. I’d log the samples on my shadow account, @traderjoesampleking, frequently buying items I’d never have tried otherwise. (I can’t wait for samples to safely return.) Since I started my mission, I’ve become attuned to the store’s latest and greatest offerings, particularly their oft-elusive seasonal additions. This year, I couldn’t wait to see what I could get my hands on to help celebrate the Fourth of July.

For most of my childhood and young adult life, the Fourth of July was my favorite holiday. I remember celebrating with my family at a local plant nursery in San Diego, California, which hosted a huge party complete with watermelon seed-spitting contests and performances by the local dance studio. The best part was filling our stomachs all day long with lots and lots of treats. Over the past few years, however, I’ve come to understand this holiday as a celebration of a freedom that has yet to be fully afforded to everyone in America. There’s no doubt this year’s celebration will be different — as it should be. 

If you are planning to attend or host a (safe, socially distant) cookout this weekend, consider picking up these eight Trader Joe’s finds.

Credit: Julian Montijo

1. TJ’s Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce, $2.99 for 18 ounces

This sauce tastes like the nostalgia of ordering a Happy Meal Chicken McNuggets and swiping as many BBQ sauce packets as possible without getting caught. This year, I’m going to use it to make barbecue cauliflower bites.

Credit: Julian Montijo

2. BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee & Garlic, $2.29 for 3.5 ounces

For all of your Fourth of July barbecue needs, try this Coffee & Garlic Seasoning. It has a noticeable whiff of coffee and a palatable amount of salt. For an alternative to a meaty main, I might sprinkle this on some grilled pineapple.

Credit: Julian Montijo

3. Ode to the Classic Potato Chips, $1.99 for 10 ounces

It’s an unspoken rule that every meal needs a side of chips — and your Fourth of July celebration is no exception. I dipped these in the leftover BBQ sauce and it was divine. As their name suggests, there’s no better way than “classic” to describe these crunchy morsels.

Credit: Julian Montijo

4. Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers, $3.49 for 10 ounces

If there’s a vegetarian in your family, you’d be wise to pick up a package of these veggie burgers. They take no time at all to heat up and are great as an accompaniment to salads. (I like a warm patty on top of arugula salad with TJ’s Green Goddess dressing.)

Credit: Julian Montijo

5. Turkey Corn Dogs, $2.99 for 10 ounces

What would a Fourth of July celebration be without corn dogs? Of course, TJ’s put their own spin on it with this turkey-based version. Are these a relic of state fairs past or an ingenious innovation? You decide.

Credit: Julian Montijo

6. Watermelon, $3.99 each 

Because there won’t be a seed-spitting contest this year at my picnic, a seedless watermelon will do just fine. Want to know how to pick the best watermelon from the bin? Kitchn can help with that.

Credit: Julian Montijo

7. Watermelon Soda, $3.99 for 33.8 ounces

These new fizzy watermelon sodas are a must for any cookout. If you ask me, Harry Styles had something to do with this drink because it is essentially Watermelon Sugar. With a dash of vodka, this soda is the perfect cocktail mixer. 

Credit: Julian Montijo

8. Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches, $4.49 for 20 ounces

I’m pretty sure that this is the best quartet of ice cream sandwiches that you can get for less than $5. The vanilla ice cream is perfectly smooth, and the chocolate chip cookie is perfectly soft. The best part? It’s the perfect size to gobble up before the vanilla ice cream melts out the sides.

What TJ’s buys will you be picking up for the Fourth?