A backyard barbeque party is a great way to socialize with friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors. You get to share food, catch up on the gossip, and have plenty of fun, all in a laidback atmosphere without too much preparation or fuss. However, to make your BBQ party truly great you will need to put in some planning, here’s how.
No matter how relaxed your grilling etiquette, like all parties a backyard barbeque does require planning. We’re not talking a formal summer party in the Hamptons, but a bit of planning will help to ensure your party is the best that it can be so get your party planning hat on.
To invite people to your party, you can send formal invitations, although a quick email, an e-vite, or a phone call is more fitting with this informal occasion. Keep a guest list so you know what numbers to expect and take some time to confirm with guests by phone or text message a couple of days before the event.
Pick a Theme?
You could create a theme for your barbeque and make sure all of the decorations and table settings match. Fun ideas are tropical, Hawaiian, flamingoes, or a good old fashioned hoe down. Decorate your yard and add some festive touches to your front door or garden gate so people know where to come in. Carry the theme through paper plates, cups, and tablecloths.
The center of your party and your planning will be food. To please all of your party guests you will need to have a large selection of meats. You could also try something different like salmon steaks or even grilled pizza! Don’t forget to add vegetarian or vegan choices too. This will ensure that all of your party guests are able to eat the foods that they like.
Make sure you don’t overlook the power of condiments. These can turn an ordinary burger into something your guests talk about for weeks. A little variety really does go a long way so mix it up with condiments and seasoning. As well as the usual ketchup, mayo, and barbeque sauce, add salsa, mustard, guacamole, and chutneys.
You can use marinades, rubs, sauces, and different woods to add extra flavor to your barbecue favorites. Look up recipes for barbeque rubs and marinate your grilling meats and vegetables overnight. These give your food that extra pizzazz.
Add to this a wide selection of side dishes, such as toss salads, rice salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, and baked potatoes from the grill embers. Mashed potatoes, Boston baked beans, and macaroni cheese will always go down well too.
Vegetable kebobs are another delicious choice, use bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. You should also include a variety of bread rolls, and don’t forget gluten-free bread for anyone who may need them. The meats will be grilled at the party of course, but you will need to make time to prepare the side dishes ahead of time. You should also cook any vegan or vegetarian foods away from the meat, so you’ll either need separate space on the grill or to cook these in your kitchen then take them outside. To ensure all your side dishes are ready ahead of time, you may want to start cooking them the day before your barbeque or earlier in the morning. This will depend on the time of your BBQ party. If you are having a large party with many guests, you may like to ask guests to bring a small side dish for the potluck.
Drinks and Snacks
You will also need to think about the drinks and snacks you will serve. With some imagination, you should be able to lay on a number of different snacks for a reasonable cost. Great snack ideas include crackers and cheese, chips and dips, pretzels, and cookies. This will keep your guests happy until the main food is ready. You may also need fruit salads, cake, or ice cream if you wish to serve dessert.
For drinks, decide whether you want to serve alcoholic beverages or not. You can make large party drinks purchases from most supermarkets. You will also need to make sure you have enough glasses, plates, and silverware for the number of guests. Ask around friends and neighbors to see what you can borrow.
While the center of your backyard barbeque is the food, you could also supply some entertainment for your guests. Look for affordable giant games such as Jenga or chess. A football or basketball and hoop will be good entertainment for both men and teens. Or set up a backyard bowling alley with household items or simply empty bottles.
If you have a pool in your garden, you could include swimming in your backyard fun. But you will need to establish some rules, especially if there are children, and supply somewhere for people to change. Plus plenty of towels.
For the Kids
If you have children attending, provide some activities for them too, perhaps a bounce house, paddling pool, or craft activities. You could also set up a station where kids can use cookie cutters to cut bread or fruit into fun shapes. Or you could supply them with the ingredients and let them make cookies for dessert.
A large outdoor canvas or even an old bedsheet to paint on will be popular and bring out their inner Jackson Pollock. And don’t overlook the simple pleasures of a game of tag or hide ‘n go seek.
However much you plan there may still be a last-minute panic. But don’t fret! Try not to get lost in the detail of planning the perfect barbeque party and forget to enjoy the social atmosphere and delicious food. So, kick back, bask in the sunshine and enjoy your party. And don’t forget to leave the clean-up for later!