A good BBQ is all about the food, right? And it's even better if you can pull out all the stops and make some really fantastic party recipes. But who has the time for that? Enter our secret weapon: Trader Joe’s. Fourth of July is the kind of holiday that Trader Joe’s was made for!
Here you'll find the best burgers and dogs, plus tons of condiments, fun sides and party apps galore. And of course, it's all cheaper (and less boring) than what you'll find at your regular grocery store. These 12 Trader Joe’s summer BBQ products are sure to make your Fourth a lot more fun—and more delicious too.
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12 Best Trader Joe’s Summer BBQ Products
1. Frozen Burgers
Trader Joe's has no shortage of frozen items and some of their most popular are their boxed burgers. They're easy, inexpensive and super convenient. Shoppers go crazy for these and love to doctor them up—especially the Vegetable Masala burgers, which have been around for more than 10 years. One Reddit user says to add them on a wrap with tomato, onion, Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant and Garlic, and some tamarind chutney. We're also big fans of the Mahi Mahi Burgers, Salmon Burgers, Turkey Burgers and Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers w/ Black Beans & Roasted Corn. The upshot? No matter your crowd, there's a TJ's frozen burger for them!
2. BBQ Sauces
Trader Joe’s has a solid trio of sauces these days that are perfect for brushing on meat and veggies. The Carolina Gold Barbeque Sauce is particularly popular, with one Reddit user saying “It’s great on chicken. This weekend I used on grilled pork ribs—fantastic!” and another offering up a Chick-fil-A hack: “If you mix this with equal parts mayo it's like knockoff Chick-Fil-A sauce👌🏼” Want more options? The Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce (which is a bit sweeter) and the Organic Sriracha Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce (which has a kick to it) are awesome too.
3. Sausages and Hot Dogs
It just wouldn’t be a classic cookout without burgers and dogs, right? Trader Joe's has an impressive array of chicken sausages, pork sausages, hot dogs and vegan sausages. They carry their own line of organic, grass-fed dogs as well as Hebrew National and Applegate. Better yet, if you have leftovers after your cookout, take a tip from this brilliant Reddit user who says “Tuesday Dinner = chili dogs! TJ's uncured beef hot dogs, beef chili w/ beans, tater tots and microwavable asparagus.”
4. Veggie Kabobs
These pre-made (read: easy!) veggie kabobs come completely assembled and ready for cooking. The classic combo of mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, yellow squash and zucchini is great with burgers and dogs or as a filling veggie main. Marinate them before grilling, brush them with your favorite sauce as they cook, or just drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5. Ketchup & Mustard
You've got the BBQ sauce covered, but don't forget about the ketchup and mustard. Trader Joe’s has lots of options, including Tomato Ketchup with Black Summer Truffle, their Magnifisauce (which is their version of a special sauce) and Dill Pickle Mustard, which Reddit users say they love to use for not only hot dogs, burgers and fries into but also for grilled cheese sandwiches, deviled eggs and air-fried corn dogs.
6. Buffalo-Style Dips
It's not a party without a dip or two. TJ's has plenty of options, but the Buffalo Style Chicken Dip is a fan favorite. Reddit users say they eat so fast that they never realized there were heating instructions on the back. Whether you enjoy it hot or cold, if you serve this at your party (maybe alongside some of their corn chips or sliced toasted ciabatta?), there will be zero leftovers. For plant-based party-goers, pick up a tub of the Vegan Buffalo-Style Dip, which shoppers like to serve with celery. Redditors are big fans of this dip, with one saying “I recently tried this dip (along with the non-vegan one) and I like the Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers with the vegan one, which is what others have recommended to me :)”
7. Ice Cream Sandwiches
It’s really difficult to walk down the dessert aisle at TJ and not put something in your cart. There are new options all the time, too, which makes choosing even more difficult. To help you narrow things down just a bit, we suggest serving ice cream sandwiches for the Fourth.
You can't go wrong with the aptly named Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches, which are made with chocolate chip cookies and rolled in mini chocolate chips. For a grown-up crew, try the Brownie Crisp Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches. If you want just a little something, the Mini Mint Ice Cream Mouthfuls might be the right pick. We're also hearing a lot of chatter about the Figo! Half Dipped Chocolate & Vanilla Sandwich Bars which are made for TJ in Italy and feature “a vanilla-flavored filling that’s sandwiched between two chocolate wafers at one end and encased by a chocolatey coating on the other.” How could that be bad?
Can't decide? Buy a few boxes and set out the assortment on a pretty platter so people can choose their own adventure.
8. Brioche Buns
Don’t forget to pick up a pack (or three) of the TJ buns. They're much cheaper than the buns you'll find at the standard supermarket and their pretzel buns and brioche buns are standouts. They're great for burgers or for making next-level breakfast sandwiches. Speaking of breakfast upgrades, one Redditor says they never throw away leftover buns since they started making breakfast with them. “Used stale brioche hot dog buns to make an amazing ricotta-stuffed french toast! 10/10.”
9. Green Jackfruit in Brine and Pulled Jackfruit in Smoky BBQ Sauce
For great plant-based BBQ options, check out the giant cans of Jackfruit in Brine and the Pulled Jackfruit in Smoky BBQ Sauce from TJ. The former is delicious and almost indistinguishable from pulled pork by draining, shredding it with a fork and mixing it in BBQ sauce before spooning it onto a toasted bun. The latter makes things much, much easier by giving you a heat-and-serve meal. One user gives up the recipe by saying “I just had this yesterday!! I put it on the Aloha sweet rolls (also, shredded it into smaller pieces before in case there were shells) and made some DIY kale slaw because I didn’t have the ingredients to make true coleslaw. Delicious!”
When you go to TJ's I think it's safe to assume that you'll be leaving with at least three bags of chips (or is that just me?). The very popular (and very divisive) Patio Potato Chips are all anyone can talk about on Reddit, with users either loving the mix of chips that TJ's has put together in one bag: Sea Salt & Vinegar, Delicious Dill, Homestyle Ketchup and Smokin’ Sweet BBQ. If you’re not a fan, you can always get the crowd-pleasing Ridge-Cut with Sea Salt, Everything But the Bagel Seasoned Chips or the Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers. One Reddit user says the corn chips are their favorite and that they pair well with another crowd-pleaser for a party, the jarred Cowboy Caviar.
Trader Joe's Patio Mixed Bag of Salt & Vinegar/Dill/Ketchup/Sweet Smoked BBQ Potato Chips - 2 Pck (12 oz)
11. Juices and Lemonades
Would it really be a summer party without lemonade? Luckily, Trader Joe’s has a wide array of juices and lemonades ready for sipping or mixing or for freezing into popsicles. Redditors are partial to the refrigerated Spicy Mango Lemonade, saying “Omg this as a mixer for cocktails by the pool this summer??? Sounds like heaven! Been waiting for this to come back I have heard it’s really good!”
12. Frozen Fries
Whether you’re a sweet potato, waffle or tots person, TJ makes it super simple to serve all of them at your next shindig. Similar cooking instructions mean you can throw an assortment down on a sheet tray and serve it with any array of TJ's dipping sauces. One Reddit can't say enough about the tots (which many users say should be called “Trader Tots” instead of the wordier “Trader Potato Tots”). “These things are addictive! Air-fried until crispy on the outside. Best tater tots I have ever had. Crunchy on outside and perfect inside.”