Hosting a backyard barbecue doesn’t seem hard. You put some beer in the fridge and some meat on the grill, and you’re good to go. However, there’s a lot more that goes into it. For example, making a mistake or missing a detail could ruin the whole day.
Never take a barbecue party for granted. While barbecues are pretty forgiving, you could end up with improperly cooked food, leaving your guests waiting to eat. With all this in mind, here are some tips for organizing the perfect backyard BBQ that your guests will love and you will love hosting.
The first thing you want to do is plan out what you will serve. You can go simple with hot dogs and hamburgers or get more complicated with shishkabobs, steaks, or souvlaki. You will also have to decide on sides and if you will have hors d’oeuvres or finger foods before the meal.
When planning the meal, take into account if you are going to have children there. They may be interested in something other than steak and shishkabobs. Have hot dogs at the ready so that everyone can enjoy themselves. If you have to, prepare them ahead of time since they can be reheated without a problem.
Try offering something different with your selection. For example, try some cheese mixed into the butter on your corn on the cob, or offer twice-baked potatoes instead of the usual baked or potato salad.
Schedule Your Grill and Your Day
There’s only so much time in the day, so you’ll have to plan how to use it. Try to prepare whatever you can the night before. For example, marinate your meat, or put your ingredients on flat skewers. The more you can do ahead of time, the better. You certainly don’t want to be scrambling around on the day of your barbecue if you don’t have to.
There’s also only so much space on the grill. First of all, you need to make sure that it’s possible to cook everything on your grill. Secondly, it might take some planning and positioning to make it work. If certain items can be cooked ahead of time and wrapped in foil or reheated on the grill, then plan out when you will do that. While cooking, some things can be transferred to the warming area while you cook everything else.
Make sure to plan to have refrigeration outdoors. Your guests will want their drinks to be icy cold on a hot summer evening. So put some ice in a kiddie pool and store your drinks in there for a big centralized spot. Or you can have coolers spread throughout the yard with assorted drinks in them. Make sure that you have a wide range of options for your guests to choose from. You don’t want someone to feel that they can’t refresh themselves with something other than water because they don’t like the choices. You may need refrigeration for your meat as well. Plug in a mini fridge the night before, so it is ready to go in the morning.
We’ve all experienced it before. We’re having a great time outside, laughing and having fun, when the wind changes, or it gets darker. Then suddenly, you’re inundated with a swarm of annoying bugs. You should expect bugs, even if it isn’t the time of year when they are usually out in force, or you don’t live in an area with many bugs. Citronella candles do wonders to keep bugs at bay. You should have covers for all of your dishes, as well as for your drinks. The last thing you want is someone to swallow a bee that had gone into their glass or can.
Cleaning and Sanitation
Especially in the post-pandemic world, people are worried about sanitation more than ever before. You need to make it easy for them to clean up, even with bathrooms being inside. Have some disinfectant wipes available all over the yard so people can give themselves a wipe before eating.
Cleaning up after the fact is the least fun part of it. However, you can make it simple. Make sure trash receptacles are at every table or spread out around the yard. Recycling bins should also be clearly labeled. If you are using paper plates, then the cleanup will mostly be done for you. However, if you use plates and cutlery and some wash bins spread out in the yard filled with soapy water. Your guests can put their dirty dishes in the bins, which will soak while you cannot get to them immediately.
If you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, then you will have to have some games to play. There are lots of options. You can play cornhole or horseshoes, for example. You can also go with badminton or croquet. As it gets darker, or if you have people who aren’t into active games, simple card games will do just nicely. If you invite families, ensure that there are activities for the kids.
If you are going to be partying well into the evening, then you need to have some lights. Not just for ambiance but for safety. If you don’t already have a lighting system in your yard, then place lamps or tiki torches around the yard. White LED Christmas lights give off more light than you might think and provide a nice, warm glow.
A backyard barbecue can be a great time for everyone. However, you need to take some steps to ensure that everything is prepared and safe. Follow this advice to organize your barbecue and throw a party that everyone will remember.
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