Long, warm days are perfect for gathering with family and friends and nothing says summer quite like a BBQ. Keep the party going and the mood upbeat as the meat sizzles on the grill with this guide to throwing the ultimate summer BBQ:
Identify a Grill Master
First things first – you need someone to man the grill during the party. This can’t be just anyone. This person needs to be an expert; someone who’s obsessive about hovering over the meat and veggies as they cook and takes personal pride in ensuring the food has reached peak flavor before it’s served to the hungry hordes. Identify a grill master to guarantee your main dishes are delicious.
Set the right mood for your BBQ with some relaxed, happy tunes. Luckily the days of painstakingly creating your own mixes, song by song, are over. Services like Pandora and Spotify have a ton of playlists that are specifically created for summer parties and you can simply click “play” to keep the music flowing for the entire party.
Serve Party Dips
When it comes to BBQ appetizers, it’s all about the dip. Many hosts hang their hats on serving amazing party dips and these dishes will certainly keep the guests happy while they wait for the food to grill. Popular summer dips include the creamy spinach artichoke, spicy jalapeno, refreshing salsa, or the addicting Mexican five-layer.
Pop Open Seasonal Beers
Stock your ice chests full of some special beers that breweries release for summer. Blood-orange blondes have a tangy twist, but are still light and refreshing. Watermelon wheats are crisp and cool with a hint of sweetness. Summer pilsners are a consistent favorite – bright and light, and depending on the brewery, can include floral hops, hints of berries, and mild spiciness. Don’t overlook tropical saisons either… they balance the sweet and sharp, and usually have complex flavors that even the biggest beer snob will enjoy.
Mix Up Specialty Cocktails
Beer, water, and soda are expected at most BBQs, so mixing up some exotic cocktails will be an extra-special touch. Think fresh and effervescent – the best summer cocktails are flavorful without being syrupy or too rich. Moscow mules are crisp with the fizzy ginger beer adding a nice zing. Strawberry basil margaritas are a great summertime blend of fruity and peppery, while blackberry mojitos are equally as refreshing with a more minty flavor. For a classic summer drink, try serving a white or red sangria – it’s an easy recipe that can serve a large number of people.
Outsource the Side Dishes
Don’t try to feed a big crowd on your own – go potluck style. Your guests will be happy to bring side dishes and you can assign specific foods to individuals to make sure there’s not too much overlap. Mac and cheese, fruit salad, cowboy beans, coleslaw, and buttermilk biscuits are side dishes that are easy to make and ideal for summer BBQs.
Dish Up Dessert
No BBQ menu is complete without some sweets. It’s smart to keep the desserts on the lighter side in the warm summer weather, so go for zesty lemon meringue bars, grilled pineapple with Nutella, apple pie, or even good ol’ vanilla ice cream with toppings. Ne-Mo’s cake squares are also perfect for BBQs because these scratch-baked bites of goodness come in individual portions. You can choose from a variety of cake square flavors, including the famous carrot cake, chocolate, red velvet, banana, lemon, vanilla birthday cake, and more.
Throw Some Shade
You have the picnic tables and plenty of folding chairs to scatter around the backyard, but don’t forget to provide some shady oases for your guests. It can get hot in the summer sun and if you’re expecting people to hang out for a few hours, shade will be essential to avoiding sunburns and fatigue. Pop-up canopies and patio umbrellas are great for throwing some shade and not too pricey if you don’t know anyone you can borrow from. At the very least, make sure to place the seats and tables under trees to maximize your natural shaded areas.
Let the Games Begin
What better way to enjoy the sunshine that with some friendly competition? Lawn games are mandatory at BBQs! Ping pong, cornhole, croquet, spikeball, and Giant Jenga are guaranteed to keep your guests involved and won’t take up too much room in the backyard.
As the sun goes down and “golden hour” arrives, celebrate the fun day in style. Pause the party to do a group cheers at sunset and thank everyone for coming. You can also hand out sparklers to the kids and have them light up the night with glinting glows.
With these tried-and-true BBQs tips, you’ll throw an unforgettable party that your guests will look forward to every summer.