What separates a decent backyard BBQ from a totally electrifying summer shindig? It’s all in the details. We’ve laid out a few fundamental tips on hosting a summer BBQ to help you plan your memorable bash in-the-making.
Send Out the Invites ASAP
The summer social calendar fills up fast. The sooner you can get those party invitations out the door, the more success you’ll have getting people to attend. Email and social media are the simplest ways to get the word out, but it doesn’t hurt to send a real invitation in the mail as well — the personal touch means a lot. Either way, let your guests know of the time and date, and make it clear whether they should bring their own food or beverages.
Once you start receiving RSVPs, keep track of who’s coming on a note or spreadsheet so you’ll know how many people to expect.
Check Your Grill Space
When it’s dinner time, your goal will be to feed as many guests as you can at once. Is your barbeque up to the task?
You don’t want to have people waiting too long for their turn to eat, nor have burgers getting cold while people are waiting for their friends’ food to be ready. It might benefit you to borrow an extra barbeque or two from your neighbours.
Plan the Menu in Advance
There’s usually no shortage of food at the typical Canadian barbeque. Chances are that your guests will bring along enough salad, casserole and dessert to feed everyone twice over. But unless your invitation says to bring-your-own-meat, you’re in charge of ensuring there’s enough burgers and hot dogs for your guests to have their fill.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to have a meat-free main course for the vegans and vegetarians. And we don’t mean a pile of leafy greens! Choose a filling vegetarian dish that everyone will want a bite of.
Pick Your Playlist
A great summer barbeque isn’t complete without a sweet summer soundtrack. Putting on a bit of background music helps guests get in the mood to unwind, even if you don’t have a top-notch sound system.
On that note, if you expect the party to get loud, tell your neighbours ahead of time. Better yet, invite them to come on over and join the fun! It’s the right thing to do, and it’ll help you dodge noise complaints during the main event.
Keep It Cool
We can’t talk tips on hosting a summer BBQ without bringing up the refreshments. Whether you’re serving up pop or beer, you’ll need a way to keep those thirst-quenching beverages good and cold. We wrote an entire article on ways to chill your beer on a budget, but let’s be honest — by far the easiest way to keep beer cold is to pack those bottles and cans into a perfectly-chilled mini-fridge.
For those who believe beer tastes best out of tap (and who doesn’t?) there’s the kegerator: a handy keg cooler that comes with everything but the beer.
Be a Smart, Safe Host
While we’re on the subject of beverages, there’s one summer BBQ tip that outweighs all the rest: take steps to keep your guests safe.
As the one who holds the title of BBQ host, you are responsible for ensuring everyone makes it home safe and sound. Find out how your guests plan to get home before the beer starts flowing. Stock non-alcoholic drinks for the designated drivers. Jot down the number for the local taxi service or download your ride-sharing app of choice.
Alternatively, you could always turn your summer BBQ into an overnight backyard camp-out. It could become your next great summer tradition.