It’s finally warming up outside and it’s time to move to the backyard. Outdoor living and good weather means BBQ season.
Being a party-goer is easy: you show up, eat food, drink drink, have fun, and go home. Nice, but sometimes you need to be giving the party, it’s only fair and it may be the only way to ensure future invites.
These tips will help ensure your next barbecue is fun, easy and a success. Let’s get started!
- Plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time and start to put a list together of all that will need to be done.
2. Choose a location. If you have a backyard great, but if you don’t start looking around. Where do other people have BBQs? You can use a park, community are where you live, a roof top or a parking lot. Some of these ideas may require permission from a landlord or superintendent. Make the proper arrangements ahead of time. Barbecues are casual and fun so make any arrangements necessary, after all these are your family and friends, they enjoy each others company and want a good time.
3. Check the weather. Weather doesn’t always co-operate so do your best at checking what the weather will be like in the near future. Have a backup plan in case the weather turns bad. Having a second plan in place if need be will take a lot of pressure off you if you need an alternate plan.
4.The Guests. Make a list of who you owe invites to, others you would like to invite and those you should invite. By having an actual list you’ll know who you have contacted and what is their response. Contact your list 2-3 weeks out so they have time to put it on their calendar or make any adjustments necessary.
Call your list or contact them in person, don’t email or use a sign-up list at work, gym or laundry room. Your BBQ is a social event, start off socializing with that call, it will loosen everyone up for the event, give you a chance to make any adjustments to plans and answer any questions.If you are uncomfortable inviting people make a little script, something like ” “Hey, I’m having a barbecue at my house in a few weeks and I wanted to see if you’re free that evening cause I’d really like for you to come.”Tell them the date, and then, after you discuss, let them know that you’ll follow up by text or email so they have the details, your address, and the start time for reference later.
5. “Can I bring anything?” When you are making your plans for the barbecue make a list of what you might be short of:i.e. chairs, wine glasses, a backyard game you know some one has. Unless this is a potluck affair you don’t want to be bring food that doesn’t fit in with your plans. You can always respond, even at the last moment, “You can bring a bag of ice.” Have a couple of buckets a round where they can put the ice until it is needed.
6. The menu. Keep it simple. Have something for everyone. Remember not everyone likes everything or some may have a food or health problem.
Fresh meats, freshly ground pork, beef or lamb, brats
mayo in cups or bowls of ice to keep things cool
corn on the cob
7. The setup. There should be at least 2 tables. One for the food and one for the guests, put napkins at both. This will keep the flow moving where the food is served and prepped, reduce the likelihood of spills and make it easier to replenish items as they are used.
Put the food table out of direct sun light and have some type of cover over the food so flys and bugs don’t get in the food. You might want to tuck little baskets of insect-repellent towelettes around the party so people can spot them when needed. They’re super-effective and less messy than bug spray.(amazon)
If you don’t have 2 tables? Make one! Some ideas might be:
bring an inside table outside
put one together one with a piece of wood and blocks
cover them with tablecloths or brown Kraft paper.
use a folding or card table.
get a piece of plywood and some sawhorses and create a pop-up table.
8. Use real dishes outside. Even if you are just eating hamburgers the sturdiness of a real plate will make it so much easier for your guests to move around. You can get inexpensive wine glasses and plates at Amazon.com. Also with real plates you can use them over and over again so you will easily get your money out of them.
9. The bar. Again keep it simple. Water, non-alcoholic beverage, beer and wine. plastic cups or glasses(amazon), ice chest(amazon) your guests can serve themselves as they wish. A suggestion would be to serve only two wines – one red and one white.One thing that frequently happens when people are moving around is that they put their glass down and can’t remember which one is their’s. Try masking tape. Put a roll and a pen at the table and encourage your guests to put their name one their glass.. It won’t cost mush and can be thrown away at the end. You could even set a few up ahead of time to give them the idea how to do it.
10. Activities. Have some activities planned and don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions or favorites. Maybe Boccie, corn hole or badminton, or even card games on a picnic blanket, they’re great party starters, especially with guests who haven’t met before. Mention it to your guests before hand so they can dress appropriately and are prepared to compete.
11. The wrap-up. How to tell your guests the party is over when they are have a great time? This line usually works great. “We have some let overs. Would you like to take any with you?”
12. The clean-up. Have a trash can or two placed around the area and maybe one that can be used as the gusts are leaving. Have 1 or 2 plastic totes for washable items, plates, etc. And have a tray or tote for unused items and condiments that are going back in the house. Pretty simple.
13. Your party area should be set up before guests arrive. It will only takes a few minutes which you would spend anyway to get everything ready, but the reaction you get from your arriving guests may make you feel like you were preparing and decorating all day. By doing it beforehand you won’t be finding items after the party that you had planned on being part of the party. Depending on the situation, you may or may not want to have the food already cooking on the grill. The smell will surely be inviting if you start cooking ahead!
Armed with all these ideas you can’t help but have a killer barbecue this season. Maybe your barbecue should be one of the first of the season, so you can set the standard!