How to Throw an Epic Fourth of July Barbecue Abroad

July 8, 2013 11:16 am

It isn’t always easy living the expat life: on major American holidays your Facebook, syphilis Instagram, orthopedist and Twitter feeds feature a continuous stream of barbecue, beach, and party shots galore while where you live, it’s just another day — a cold winter day at that. So what do you do?

Have your own all-American themed Fourth of July barbecue, of course! Granted it might have to be on the Sixth of July, and sure, the locals might insist on calling it a “braai” instead of a BBQ, but just roll with it. Here’s my guide to throwing the ultimate Fourth of JuBraai.

Step one Make an awesome invitation.


Step two Dress up in red, white, and blue (right down to the blue eyeshadow and bright red lipstick) and have appropriately patriotic décor.


Step three Have an awesome cohost and party planner extraordinaire — step one was courtesy fellow American in Cape Town, Tasnim Motala.


Step four Come up with an all-American playlist. Some of my picks include Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner, American Pie, Empire State of Mind, California Love, American Gangster, Shipping Up to Boston, New York, New York, Sweet Home Alabama, Born in the U.S.A., American Life, American Woman, Hotel California, I’m in Miami B****, Stars and Stripes Forever, and Californication.


Step five Use assorted red, white, and blue paraphernalia, and grill up some cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and fries — sorry South Africans, there will be no chops tonight!


Step six Serve excellent homemade mac-n-cheese courtesy Tas and mini PBJ sandwiches.


Step seven Get Faatima Tayob to make some super refreshing and supremely tasty cranberry cinnamon iced tea.

photo-9Step eight There must be American games! Start things off with a little (nonalcoholic) beer pong.


Step nine Let guests take turns at an American-themed piñata — extra points if you can find a hundred-dollar bill piñata in a foreign country.


Step 10 Invent an American version of a classic local game (30 Seconds, in this case), and force your guests to play and decipher all the Americanisms (Poodle skirt?? Homeroom?? Arsenio Hall?? Dime??)


Step 11 Roast some marshmallows and serve s’mores. Improvise when necessary — no graham crackers in South Africa.


Step 12 (not pictured) Set off fireworks on the street in front of your house; irk neighbors.

Step 13 Leave the décor up for a few days… or weeks… or forever. Happy Birthday America, I miss you!