BY DANIEL BAILEY
When we think about summer memories of bare feet, popsicles, sun, sand, and fun all come to mind. Grills are fired up in backyard patios, neighbors come over, and kids stay up late into the evening, running around in the backyard. And even with the laid back mood of the season, we still have enough energy to organize a perfect BBQ party.
Summer was made for evening social entertaining: nature supplies the ambiance, local farmers supply the menu, and grills do the cooking. The smell of citronella and flickering candles set up the perfect party atmosphere.
Here are some helpful tips on how to plan your own perfect BBQ party!
- If pesky mosquitoes aren’t on your guest list, spray your backyard several hours before the BBQ begins.
- Be sure to use unscented candles, especially in areas where food is being served.
- If you’re using a gas grill, check the tank a few days before to make sure you have enough fuel.
- Votive candles can supply only so much light at night, which means you’ll want to think ahead about how to add to the summer’s night glow. Consider hanging tiny white lights in nearby trees and/or from your gazebo or deck railing, fire up some tiki torches or a few vintage lanterns throughout your backyard.
- If you want to save some running around and relieve pre-party stress, choose a party hire. There are plenty of businesses that cater to garden and BBQ parties, small or large.
Tips For BBQ Day:
- Clean first, cook second: To keep grilled foods from sticking, always prepare the grill grate before each use. Let the grate heat up for 15 to 20 minutes and then scrub it with a wire brush.
- Dress to Grill: Never underestimate how hot the grill can be. Protect yourself with grilling gloves and an apron that covers your clothes.
- Use the right tools: If you’ve tried turning over steaks or drumsticks on a grill full of hot coals with a dinner fork, then you know just how important it is to invest in a quality set of long-handled grilling tools.
- Cool it: Keep raw meat, fish and poultry on ice until they are ready to be grilled.
BBQ Planning Schedule:
Here is a general outline to help you prepare and get ready for your big party.
- Three weeks before: Call guests to invite them to your BBQ. Start thinking about what food and appetizers you’d like to serve—remember, simple is always better.
- 1-2 weeks before: Make phone calls to your guests and get an estimated headcount. If necessary shop for non-perishables.
- Day before: Gather your serving pieces and tableware, shop for perishables and arrange fresh flowers in vases and baskets. Prepare desserts and salads and place them in your refrigerator. Thoroughly marinate meat and store it a properly sealed container in your refrigerator to ensure freshness. Give your patio and yard is clean and ready to go.
- Party day: Clean grill and patio table and set up the table centerpieces. Just before the guests arrive take the meats and salads out of the refrigerator.
Other useful tips:
- The best vegetables are often found from your garden.
- If you don’t have a garden, the next best place is your local farmers market.
- Also, to be a little different, try substituting vases for baskets to place bright fragrant flowers in.
And that’s it. Kick off those shoes, turn up the music, grab a drink and enjoy your perfect BBQ party!
Photos: Daniel Bailey
How do you organize your BBQ party? Let us know in the comments.