Barbecues with friends and family in the summertime are one of the things we look forward to the most. But far too often, the hosts are buzzing back and forth from the kitchen, refilling coolers with ice, making appetizers, or tinkering with the propane tank when they should be enjoying their company and their party! Ensure your next big bash goes off without a hitch by following these BBQ party planning tips.
Plan a list (and stick to it)
If your barbecue is on a weekend, make sure you’re going grocery shopping at the beginning of the week as opposed to Thursday or Friday. Take a quick inventory of what’s on hand in the kitchen and plan some dishes around what you already have – then fill in any ingredient gaps on your shopping list. If you’re trying out new recipes, make sure you read them all the way through to ensure you have everything needed.
Clean and Chop Produce
After washing your produce in a fizzy solution of water, vinegar, and baking soda, let them air dry. For salads and main dishes, you can cut up those veggies and store in the fridge in airtight containers. (Don’t precut avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, or green leafy veggies that will bruise, discolor, or weep. They need to be added freshly chopped!) For those who take hours just to mince an onion, consider a fully loaded food slicer to literally “cut” down on time spent doing that job.
Keep frequently used utensils by the grill
Spatulas, meat thermometers, and grilling forks need to be always within arm’s reach. Consider using a container for storing your go-to tools and place them on a landing attachment or shelf that is away from the flames. Alternatively, you can often hang these from hooks off the lid or side of your grill.
Handle sides ahead of time
Not all the food you and your guests will be eating need to be made the day of the barbecue. Supplementary dishes like the mac and cheese or baked beans can be prepared during the week and stored away. After the cooked mac and cheese has cooled, spoon large sections into a baking dish, cover, and place in the fridge. When it’s time to eat, plop it in your oven to re-heat; the already-prepared baked beans can sit on top of the warming rack, while you tend to other foods.
While it may appear extra attentive and even personalized to have a cocktail bar section where people can make or request their own drinks, this is time-consuming for all involved. Stick to alcoholic beverages that can quench the thirst of the masses, like a punch that can be served in a cool-looking drink dispenser.
Make extra marinade
Marinades take a while to fully infiltrate the meat with flavor. Splashing on some barbecue sauce and a few spices thirty minutes before grill time simply won’t do. Aim to use 75% of the marinade on the chicken or beef itself, and let it sit in the fridge for a day, or at least overnight. But set aside a portion of your secret sauce that has not touched the meat yet and save that for grilling on the day-of. Grab your grill brush and continue to baste the meat in the marinate as it cooks for extra flavor boost!
If you follow these BBQ party planning tips, your event should run smoothly while providing your guests, and yourself, a wonderful time.