It's BBQ season and when it comes to throwing the ultimate backyard party everyone will be talking about, you want to make sure you come out as the hostess with the mostess. With enough propane or briquettes, a little moxie and our expert tips, your fete is sure to be the talk of the neighborhood. Here are our super-easy BBQ hosting secrets to take your skills to expert level without spending a fortune or having to take a week of work to prepare.
1. Master the Grill First things firstgive your grill a top-to-bottom scrubbing and oil the grates to keep food from sticking. Next, stick to a menu that features items you already know how to make. A party isn't the time to try out new recipes. Instead of turning your friends into guinea pigs, offer up your signature ribs or that killer cheeseburger everyone's always begging for. Above all, keep the menu simple. There's no need to be a short-order cook. Pick a limited menu and stick to it. And don't forget to include options for vegetarians or anyone with other dietary restrictions.
2. Dress Things Up You don't need to go overboard to transform your patio into a BBQ paradise. Help the occasion feel special with colorful table cloths, clever lighting, splashes of wildflowers displayed in rustic containers or bright, outdoor cushions and pillows that provide additional, comfy seating. You can also augment seating by throwing shabby chic quilts or fun beach towels on the lawn.
3. Set the Mood Everyone will be in the mood to relax and have a good time when you provide a killer playlist and patio lighting. Create a playlist on a streaming service like Pandora or Songza. Test out BBQ-themes or pick a genre that keeps the energy high. If your crowd is in their 40s, pick an eighties soundtrack or choose a country theme if you're hosting a rural crowd. When the sun goes down don't leave your guests in the dark. Hang a few strings of decorative white lights or scatter mason jars with tea lights throughout your backyard space. Citronella candles will also help keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay.
4. Pick a Signature Drink It's fun to throw a bunch of bottles in a galvanized tin with ice, but take your BBQ to the next level with a signature drink. Try adding berries or mint to lemonade, along with some flavored vodka. This mixture also makes a special virgin beverage for those underage. Drinks you can serve in pitchers or punch bowls are a great choice and they leave you free to mix and mingle and keep your guests' drinks full.
5. Keep Everyone Entertained Make sure guests of all ages stay engaged and have such a great time they won't be able to stop talking about it. Paint a Twister mat on the lawn and see if the kids or the grown-ups are more limber. If you have any kind of sports net you can play a variety of games from water balloon volleyball to badminton. Other activities like bubbles, water guns or an impromptu hillside water slide can lead to hours of funjust be sure to provide plenty of towels so your guests don't have to eat in soggy drawers.
6. Prep In Advance As the host, you need to be calm, cool and collected once the party starts. To make sure you're not running around in circles when guests arrive, do as much as you can the night before. Get that meat marinating, chop those veggies and whip up your famous potato salad early in the day. The only thing you want to worry about during the party is what you're putting on the grill and making sure every guest has a smile.
7. Serve Up Something Sweet Dessert is often overlooked at a BBQ, but you can really blow your guests away by planning a star-gazing s'mores cookout or setting up a serve-yourself banana split bar. If you're feeling ambitious make a tasty Dutch oven fruit cobbler or grill up some sweet and savory fruit kabobs. Pineapple, bananas, mango and most berries are great on the grill. Offer some creative dips for the kabobs like brown sugar, yogurt, sour cream or whipped cream. With these amazingoutdoor entertaining tips you have no more excuses for putting off the annual BBQ. And thanks to these tips you can pull off the best shin-dig yet with half the stress!
Sources http://www.redbookmag.com/food-recipes/entertaining/advice/g1179/bbq-hosting-tips/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlo-thomas/tips-for-the-perfect-barbecue_b_3359926.html http://www.julep.com/blog/how-to-throw-a-summer-bbq/ http://www.samplehouseonline.com/national-bbq-month-host-hostess-tips/