Summer’s around the corner and the festive mood will soon be in full swing. Now is the best time to prepare yourself for the onslaught of BBQs, poolside parties, and catching up with friends and family over the holidays. Worried about how to throw a memorable BBQ? Well, you have come to the right place for a comprehensive guide for a BBQ that will make the most popular host this season.
An unexpected rain in the middle of your BBQ is any host’s worst nightmare. To prevent the rain from ruining all of your efforts, it would be wise to do a weather check on the day of your party. However, it is good to be prepared just in case the rain makes an appearance. Keep a designated space to quickly move your things in an abrupt weather change.
Once the weather is dealt with, your next concern should be your party venue. If you are having your party in your backyard, then use this opportunity to show your creative side to your guests. On the other hand, for public BBQs, consider bathroom facilities, disabled access, sufficient parking space, and easy access to the venue for the guests when selecting a location.
You can also take it up a notch by printing out attractive invitation cards or flyers for your guests.
It is likely that your party will extend well into the evening. Set up your party for a festive summer mood with tiki torches, which can double as mosquito repellants with the addition of citronella. Alternatively you can opt for solar mason jars for a magical touch at an evening BBQ. Furthermore, you can also hang string lights or fairy lights around your porch and the backyard for an eye-catching transformation with minimum effort.
Theme and Decor
A theme party is the trend these days, and the same can be done for your BBQ. Some interesting themes for a BBQ can be:
- Traditional Country BBQ Party
- Western BBQ Party
- By The Sea Party
- Backyard BBQ Dinner Party
- Labor Day
- Beer & BBQ Tasting
- Outdoor Movie Marathon
- Farm to Table Spread
Your seating arrangements should reflect your guestlist as well as your guests themselves. For example, aim for an intimate, cozy atmosphere with family and friends or a small number of people by placing rugs or mats around with a few colorful pillows for extra comfort. Additionally, you can hang hammocks for a laid back atmosphere. You can also set up benches for a more formal and farmhouse feel.
It is a good idea to keep a utility basket containing essentials like sunscreen, lotion, hand sanitizer, bug repellants, wipes, towels, and blankets in a specific location for guests to use.
It is impractical to waste your best dinnerware and cutlery at a BBQ party that is bound to get messy with all the steaks and sauces. Besides the mountain of dishes that you are left to wash, there is also the risk of breaking them during an outdoor party if your guests are not careful.
Opt for disposable plates and cutlery instead, which are hassle-free. However, for a more environment-friendly approach, you can buy compostable plates instead.
Pre-BBQ Food Prep
This will save you a lot of time once the guests arrive, and you will be able to serve food more quickly.
- Chop and toss salads (add dressing before serving)
- Marinate all of the meat the night before
- Cut the bread for hot dogs and burgers if not already pre-cut
- Prepare the skewers for the grill
BBQ cooking can get quite messy and hot, so it is best to wear comfortable clothing that you can afford to get stained. It is also a good idea to have an extra set of clothes to change into after you are done cooking. Don’t forget to wear mittens when you are grilling the meat. Moreover, avoid long sleeves in case of fire hazards.
Find The Perfect BBQ
The BBQ grill is the heart of the party, so you should invest in one that meets your needs. There are different types of grills so select one depending on your needs, the amount of meat that can be cooked at once, the number of guests, the flavors you want to infuse in the meat, and the ease of use. You can do more in-depth research to find out which grill is ideal for you.
Be sure to stock up on fuel before the party. Remember that gas grills need a canister of patio gas whereas charcoal grills require charcoal, chimney starter, and lighter fluid. Keep a lighter or matches handy, and if you are using a charcoal grill, add wood chips for tastier meat.
Cooking Equipment and Utensils
The right tools will help make a successful BBQ. Make sure that long-handled spatulas, tongs, knives, and forks are within your reach while cooking the meat. A meat thermometer will make sure your meat is cooked at the perfect temperature.
Food Storage & Hygiene
Maintaining food hygiene is absolutely important in general and even more so if you are preparing food for a large bunch of people. It will be very embarrassing if your guests become sick after your party due to poor food handling. Some ways to prevent this include:
- Store meat in cool bags with ice packs preferably and thaw them fully before you grill them. You can also store prepared food in tupperware wrapped in foil to preserve freshness.
- For charcoal grills, grill the meat once the coals are red hot so that the heat is evenly distributed.
- Cook meat to a temperature of at least 70℃ for at least 2 minutes.
- Don’t leave food out of the refrigerator for more than 30 min or out in the sun, as both encourage bacterial growth. Store them in a cooler if you have to do so.
- Keep salads and meat items in separate coolers to prevent contamination.
BBQs can get messy, so it is important to clean up properly after the party is over. Here are a few things to keep on hand:
- Garbage bags for disposable waste
- Hand wash and hand sanitizer. Wash your hands before handling food and after handling raw meat.
- Anti-bacterial wipes
- Drying towels and tissues
- Grill brush to clean your grill (prolongs grill life and improves meat’s taste)
BBQ side dishes
Get the guests munching on appetizers while they wait for the star of the show, the meat. Keep them satisfied but hungry enough to appreciate the meat.
Go classic with guacamole and chips or try some refreshing yogurt dip with za’tar flatbread. Alternative options include some hearty crackers with hummus or garlic bread. A popular option includes watermelon slices or corn on cobs for the guest to munch on while chatting.
This is a great opportunity to show off your signature homemade sauces and specialties. This will keep guests praising you and returning to your parties for years to come.
BBQ prep can be quite overwhelming. If you’re worried about what to keep on the menu, here’s some helpful suggestions:
- Burgers (beef/chicken/turkey/lamb/vegetables)
- Hot dog rolls and burger buns
- Chicken wings and thighs
- Burger garnishes: cheese slices, lettuce, tomato, and red onion (cut into rings)
- Mixed Salads – basic salad, couscous, potato salad, etc.
- Meat/Fish Skewers: make them with prawns, chicken, or chorizo chunks
- Veggie Skewers: halloumi, red pepper, onion, courgette
- Baking potatoes
- Mustard, ketchup, mayo, BBQ sauce, and or relish.
A BBQ party is incomplete without its share of refreshing drinks. Keep light beer or summer ales on your menu. If possible, a drink dispenser would be greatly appreciated by the guests.
If you wish to include it, rose wine is a great option that is neither too light or heavy to wash down the meat. Other alternatives include watermelon-coconut mojitos or fresh pressed juices for non-alcoholic options. Don’t forget to stock up on ice to keep your drinks cool.
After the savoury meat, your party should conclude with something sweet. Try something simple like ice cream or jell-o. If you are upto it, go for these fun recipes.
Avoid Food Waste
It is quite easy to overestimate the amount of food you need when preparing for a large group. Once your party wraps up, store the leftovers in separate containers and reheat them or make other dishes to enjoy later.
Entertainment and Activities
Parties can quickly get boring without anything to do. Bring life to your party with games like jenga, cards, or cornhole. If you have a pool, water polo or water volleyball are great options. Turn on some wireless speakers and blast some great summer tunes for the guests to vibe to and relax.
A BBQ party can be quite stressful to plan and execute, but good preparation and some helping hands can help you host a successful party that your guests will praise for ages. At the end of the day, remember the most important thing about BBQ parties is to have fun and enjoy yourselves. Have a great summer afternoon with your loved ones and great food!