A barbecue is the perfect excuse to get family and friends together on a nice summer day. Planning a barbecue is easy, fun, and can be stress-free, if you plan ahead and keep it simple.
First of all, you want to secure a ballpark number of guests that you think will come. Ask each guest to bring something, such as a salad, dinner rolls, chips or a beverage. This will ease the burden on you, so that cooking doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
Once you know approximately how many people will attend, and what they will be bringing (that you can cross of your list), go shopping for assorted meats, sides and condiments. Hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, chicken, fish filets and veggie-burgers are all popular main dishes and potato salad, fruit salad, corn on the cob and cole slaw are always hits for on the side. For wonderful recipe ideas, check out our Fiesta Grill Menu. If you don’t find what you are looking for there, try our Recipe Box, which also provides a multitude of tasty options.
In addition to traditional condiments such as ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles, mayonnaise and sauerkraut, pick up some barbecue sauce and or Italian dressing to spice up the meat on the grill. You may also want to consider buying paper plates, paper cups and plastic silverware to save you the hassle of cleaning the many dishes that accumulate from a big crowd and be sure there are plenty of napkins on hand.
In the days prior to the barbecue you should make sure you have seating (outdoor is best) for everyone invited. If you don’t have enough picnic or patio table space, a picnic blanket placed on the sunny lawn is an alternative. If possible, set up the tables with the condiments you will use (mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, salt, pepper, butter etc.) in the hours before the guests arrive.
A barbecue is not complete without your favorite music to contribute to the energy of the event. If you don’t want to drag the stereo outside with extension cords, just open a window facing the backyard and prop the stereo up near the window, putting it on full blast.
While the food is cooking, you should have a few activities to entertain your guests. Bocce-ball, horseshoes and croquet are great ideas for the adults. Having a deck of cards on hand would be a good idea for after dinner too. For the kids, you may want to provide a wiffle ball and bat, hula-hoops or water balloons. If you don’t have those things around, you can always suggest tag or hide-and-go-seek.
As long as you don’t wait until the last minute to plan and you assign guests to bring food, you should have a very relaxing and successful day. Don’t panic if the weather goes against your day: move the crowd inside and bring the grill into the garage to cook. Everyone will still have a wonderful time visiting with friends and family.