With people ready to enjoy the summer together, the summer barbecue is a staple event that many get excited for. Whether planning for a holiday get together over the Fourth of July weekend or just wanting to spend some time with close family and friends, the good food and pleasant setting of a home barbecue can be the perfect opportunity to enjoy them. Below are our tips on planning and hosting an amazing summer barbecue.
Invite your guests. Not only is it important to invite your guests and give them ample time to RSVP, but you’ll want to know who is coming. Decide early on how big of a barbecue you want to host. This can impact the time you’ll need to dedicate to planning, and the investment in your ingredients. Keep in mind, larger get togethers will also require more cleanup. It’s a good rule of thumb to verify who will be in attendance, both after the initial invitation and shortly before the barbecue; some people might need the reminder, or have a change of plans. Others might not have replied and still show up, so double checking before the event can ensure there are no surprises in turnout.
Prep your food in advance. Plan what you’ll be cooking and prepare it before the guests arrive. This will streamline the cook-time management, ensure food is ready at a reasonable time, and allow everyone the ability to chat without being distracted or burning themselves. Use this prep time to take your guests’ dietary needs into consideration. Knowing who you’ve invited and who plans to come can also help you prioritize foods. Certain foods take longer to cook, while others will be ready fairly early on. When planning out your food, plan to have 2–3 grilled items per guest. Don’t forget ice for drinks, especially on hotter days. If you’re not planning on having much indoor time, ice becomes that much more important.
Be mindful of the plates and utensils you’ll likely need for your barbecue. This includes napkins, cups, and condiments.
Ensure your grill is completely ready. Whether you have a gas or electric grill, you’ll want to make sure you have enough gas in your propane tank or enough charcoal on hand. You don’t want all your preparation to go to waste by taking the time to drive out for a shopping trip. A spray bottle for small flare ups and an extinguisher in case of emergency are advised to have close at hand.
Set up your outside space. Whether you’ll be eating outside or taking the food indoors to the dinner table, someone will end up outside for long periods of time to cook. Encourage guests to remember to go out there with some nice seating and string lights. Keep seating away from the grill to discourage crowding. Having a few appetizers outside but not too close to the chef can help. Don’t forget to add music or some other background entertainment.
If you’re inviting kids or have kids of your own, set up backyard games to keep them occupied. Horseshoes, Twister, and other outdoor games that require a lot of space can keep them busy and having fun while the food is cooking. Backyard sports are another option if you have the equipment for them.
Now you’re ready to host the best backyard barbecue in your neighborhood! The most important thing is to make sure you’re having fun, and remembering to appreciate the time with your family and guests.