So, you’re going to throw a Fourth of July barbecue. Of course you are. You and everyone else in America.

Yes, make no mistake: Independence Day is a competition, and that competition is for the hearts, minds and gullets of this great nation’s partygoers. To really take your Fourth of July celebration to the next level, a standard grill-out will not do. You’re going to have to pull out all the stops. And never fear: We’re here to help you do just that. Put these few pieces of advice into practice and you’ll be the envy of every Fourth of July bash in town. And what’s more American than that?

Create an All-American Playlist

Obviously, we have no issue with bands across the pond, but there is a time and a place. Nothing kills a Fourth of July bash faster than “Back in the USSR.” If in doubt, just load up a Bruce Springsteen/Neil Diamond playlist on Pandora, and let the algorithm do its work.

A Hot Dog Pie Eating Contest

Two things that are unequivocally American: hot dog eating contests and apple pie. Why not combine them both into one perfect event? If you don’t know how to make a Hot Dog Pie, it’s easy enough. Just make an apple pie and add hot dogs.

Semi-Legal/Homemade Fireworks

Every party in town will have a fireworks blowout, so it’s up to you to add a little extra flare to your own show. The simplest (and cheapest) way to do this is to make your own fireworks, presumably with household kitchen supplies and weed-whacker fuel.

(Our lawyers are making us tell you this just “a joke.”)

Free American Flag Tattoos Upon Entry

Everyone has an artistic friend looking to get his or her name out there, so this should be pretty easy to set up. And in the event you don’t have an artsy friend, you can probably handle this one yourself. Fifty stars and 13 stripes. It’s not that hard.

Invite Mom

What red-blooded American doesn’t invite his or her mom to their Fourth of July barbecue?

Dress As Your Favorite President

Depending on your favorite president, you might feel a little overdressed for your own party. But if our Founding Fathers can write the Constitution, you can handle July in a petticoat.

Invite Michael Phelps

As a last ditch effort, invite Olympic hero Michael Phelps to attend. It’s unlikely he would come, but there is no reason not send him an invitation.

Butcher Your Own Meat

Having a Fourth of July Barbecue with meat you bought from a store is like having a Christmas party and using a cactus for a Christmas tree.

Procure a Jet Ski/Muscle Car

They’re all over the place, glimmering in the early July sunlight on every street corner from sea to shining sea. You just have to get one. What you do with it is up to you.

Recreate Mount Rushmore In Your Backyard

You may not have a mountain in your backyard, but you can get creative. Use bushes, trees, your porch and your neighbors’ porch as a canvas for your tribute to Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. For bonus points, add other great Americans like Beyonce, Ron Swanson, Batkid, Betsy Ross and that jet-skiing squirrel.