Hosting a Barbeque

In the spring and summer seasons, there always seems to be an increase in invitations to outdoor BBQs and other backyard social gatherings. This year, up your game and throw a backyard BBQ that stands out from the rest. Like with any party, all you need to do is pay some added attention to the little details. You’ll find that with just a little added effort, your guests will be beyond impressed with your spread, leaving them happy, full, and waiting for your next invitation.

Foods to Grill
"ESN House" by Jirka Matousek is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Foods to Grill: While burgers and hotdogs are the most common entrees to be found at any backyard barbeque feast, here are a few recommended grilling ideas that are sure to have your guests asking for more! Test your skills on the grill and choose a few items to barbeque, to that you have a varied selection of items to fit everyone’s taste and maybe even introduce your friends to foods that they might of otherwise associated with grilling season.

Kebabs: The upside to this popular barbequed food is that not only do they provide that perfect balance of meat and veggies (alternate between the two while preparing your skewers), but they are also mobile and easy for party guests to grab, eat and socialize with ease.

Steaks or Sliced Tri-tip: Hearty and flavorful, steaks or marinated beef cuts are perfect for grilling. The flavors of these meats pair well with the smoky flavors from the grill. It is important not to overcook these meats as even the highest quality cut can be ruined if not cooked properly. For steaks and even burgers, you might consider asking your guests how they prefer their meat cooked - medium rare, medium, well done, etc.

Chicken: A lighter and healthier option like barbeque chicken cooked right can be hard to turn down. A favorite of kids and adults, having easy to grab and eat chicken legs, wings or even whole roasted chickens will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Use your favorite marinade and soak your meat a day ahead of your event to assure that the pieces are flavorful and juicy when grilled and served.

Sliced veggies: Not everyone is looking for meat when it comes to BBQs. Offering a selection of grilled vegetables are a lighter option for those looking for healthier options and those who simply do not eat meat. Best of all, grilling provides its own unique flavor so more often than not your prep work includes simple slicing or skewering, drizzling your veggies with oil and sprinkling them with salt, pepper or other herbs and seasonings.

When it comes down to it, you will want to simply cater to your guest’s tastes. You want to stick with the classics simply dress them up by offering a fully equipped DIY hamburger bar with all the fixings. In lieu of hotdogs, go for the heartier and fuller flavored bratwursts or a gourmet selection of sausages. Depending on the dietary restrictions of your guests, you might even grill up some fish like salmon!

Drinks to Chill: With the warm weather and delicious spread of food, you’ll definitely not want to slack on beverages either. Tailor your drink selection to your guest list. If you know that there will be lots of kids attending make sure to provide popular fruit drinks like lemonade or juices. And there should always be plenty of water on had to make sure everyone stays hydrated during the festivities.

Drinks to Chill
"Portmouth brews" by James Lee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here are some other specialty drink options to consider at you next backyard BBQ -

Craft beer selection: Are your family friends and buddies big fans of having a beer with their barbeque? While it’s safe to have a few favorite go-to brands on hand, impress their taste buds by grabbing a few craft beers. Serve them by the bottle or have a tasting or beer flight option planned for quests that might be curious to try the selection of beers that you have on hand.

Customizable cocktail bar - Signature cocktails are a common practice at a well planned social gathering, so why not put a spin on some of those classic drinks that everyone knows and loves? Pick a beverage and set out a selection of ingredients that allow guests to “build their own.” For example, if this is a daytime BBQ, assemble a mimosa bar with a selection of complimentary fruit juices in addition to the classic orange juice mix.

An easily accessible ice bucket - Make sure you have plenty of water, soft drinks, and iced teas on hand to keep everyone’s thirst quenched. If you’re planning on hosting events like a pick up game or sports day activities for kids, you might even have a few bottles of electrolyte filled drinks like Gatorade, chilled in a conveniently placed beverage bucket.

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