It won’t be long until summer is upon us and that means that BBQ season will be here – and if you want to put on the best possible party on a beautiful summer day, then look no further than our handy guide to throwing a BBQ.
From how to set up your garden to the best desserts to serve. From jazzing up your burgers to the keeping the fun flowing long after the food is done and dusted, these top tips will not only take the stress out of BBQ hosting season, but they’ll ensure your reputation as a top host.
Set your garden smartly
The beauty of the BBQ is in how easy it is to serve. Unlike a normal dinner party where everything has to be served onto plates, with a BBQ you can keep a production line of meat constantly topping up what is available.
The best way to do this is with a buffet. Set up a table with plates, salads, and condiments and then pile various meats onto plates once they’re suitably cooked for people to help themselves from. Have a separate area for sitting down and eating, and you’ll have the most efficiently run and least stressful BBQ in town.
Jazz up your meat selection
When you think about meat for your BBQ, what route are you going down? Beef burgers, some sausages, ribs maybe and some chicken if people are lucky. The success of your BBQ can be made or broken by what food you serve up, so think outside the box. You can get all kinds of jazzy burgers these days, for example, ranging from pork and apple to lamb and beetroot – not to mention the growing number of vegetarian options with the Economist having tipped 2019 as the year of the vegan.
Dedicate a whole section to toppings
It isn’t just your meat that you can jazz up, but your toppings as well. There seems to be a real craze for mad toppings at the minute. Pulled pork has been on the rise for some time so that perhaps won’t come as a surprise to see you, but people are now experimenting with peanut mayonnaise, mac and cheese, caviar and even doughnuts. Get your guests talking by giving them some quirky options – as well as cheese, of course. You can’t have a BBQ without cheese.
Don’t forget dessert
With so much thought going into what you’re going to throw onto the BBQ, dessert can often be overlooked. Cakes and trifles are always a winner or if you’re looking for something to make yourself for the homely touch, then have a look at the pot ricotta lemon cheesecake on this website which is relatively quick and easy to make.
Serve every drink chilled
Nobody wants to drink a warm beer or an un-chilled wine on a hot summer’s day, so make sure you have the facilities available to ensure everybody’s drinks stay cool. That might be through creating ample refrigerator space, investing in some outdoor cool boxes or by ensuring that there is a never-ending supply of ice. If you want to brighten up your ice cubes, you can even freeze berries inside of them. Not only will your ice cubes then look pretty, but they’ll add even more flavor to your already tasty summer drinks.
Get the games out
An after-dinner lull where everybody feels completely stuffed and drowsy as a result is a very real danger of any BBQ. That’s where your selection of games can come in. You’re outdoors and there is plenty of room, so take advantage of that to get people active. You could throw a frisbee around, play some badminton or volleyball with a net strung up between a couple of trees or even whip it Twister if you’ve got the sort of guests who don’t mind contorting themselves into strange shapes.
Select a summer playlist
You’ll want to set a summer vibe throughout the party, and that is where your choice of music is important. There are certain songs that just have to be played on a hot summers day when the food is gorgeous, and the drinks are flowing. Check out this list of the 50 best summer songs of all time for inspiration and remember that the best playlists will cover all generations and all tastes.
Be prepared for what the summer can throw at you
Summer is great, we know that – but it can also pack quite a few nasty surprises. Your BBQ won’t be immune to that so make sure you are prepared for every eventuality that could befall your event or your guests. Have sunscreen on hand to prevent guests from only remembering the day because they spent a week afterward in agony through sunburn. Insect sprays can help keep the bugs away and if it’s going to be really hot, then consider investing in some fans to ensure nobody overheats. You could, of course, suffer from the complete opposite problem when it comes to weather and end up getting rained on, in which case you’ll want a plan B for that as well.
Tidy as you go
Keeping the garden and the party tidy as you go has two benefits. The first one is pretty obvious in that it means there will be less work for you to do later when it comes to tidying up. The second is that it can help guests feel involved. You’ll always have those who will ask “Is there anything I can do?” and the answer inside your head will often be “No, get out my way.” By placing bins around your garden, you can instead say “Just thrown your rubbish in the bins when you’re done with it”, making them think they are helping out and leaving you to concentrate on running the show without being pestered. You will thank yourself the next day when you wake up to a relatively tidy garden, as opposed to having to deal with a mountain of leftovers and trash to sort.