Despite the pandemic, you can still enjoy all your favorite pastimes. If you follow proper safety precautions, adhere to federal and state guidelines and recommendations, and behave carefully, you can still enjoy backyard barbecues and smaller tailgating (or “homegating”) parties. Wondering how to plan the perfect backyard barbecue? Here are some tips that’ll help you keep it fun, stress-free, and safe.
Above all else, stay safe.
- When hosting any kind of party, be sure to follow the federal and state guidelines regarding social gatherings. Keep your guest list small, reserved for family and close friends.
- If any of your guests report feeling ill, ask them to stay home. Wear masks and remain socially distant from other families or groups at the barbecue.
- Rather than having guests pick up foods with their hands, provide a variety of spoons, tongs, and other serving pieces. Try to have one person serve or plate all the food. This will help keep physical contact to a minimum.
- Keep hand sanitizer nearby and have your guests frequently wash their hands.
Plan Your Menu
Selecting your menu in advance will make gathering your ingredients, prepping, and grilling a breeze. When coming up with a menu plan, consider the number of guests you’ll have and what their preferences are. If children will be in attendance, try including foods that will suit their less developed palates. Be sure to accommodate guests with food allergies by labeling any foods with potential allergens, which will help them steer clear of things that might make them sick.
Meat, particularly quality beef, is a must-have for the perfect barbecue. Burgers, ribs, and steaks are all delicious and popular choices. As a side dish, grilled vegetables are a great, healthy option for you to serve up. Lay out some crackers, chips, and fruit on your snack table and fill your cooler with a variety of drinks, like soda, juice, water, and beer.
Make Sure You’re Prepared
Food isn’t the only thing that needs to be prepped. Another good tip for planning the perfect backyard barbecue is to make sure to have your decorations and accessories sorted out beforehand.
You’ll want to have enough plates, cutlery, and napkins, along with enough chairs for everyone to sit. Ensure your grill is well stocked with charcoal and that your grilling utensils are clean and ready to be used. Just as a precaution, stock up on extra masks for your guests, along with other common sanitization items like wipes and hand sanitizer.
Set up a radio or Bluetooth system and blast your favorite tunes. Provide plenty of refreshments. When you and the other party-goers aren’t eating, play games! Activities like croquet, charades, and at-home karaoke are fun, all-inclusive, and support social distancing. If you’re planning to watch a sporting event, place your television or home projection system in a place where everyone can see it—and then turn up the volume, sit back, and enjoy.