Grilling Guide

Tips for Serving Picture-Perfect BBQ Platters

Nothing captures the essence of spring and summer quite like cooking on the grill. Not only does a barbecue bring people together, but whether you’re grilling hot dogs or filet mignon, the options for an impressive and delicious meal are endless. So, the next time you fire up the grill, here are some tips on how to create the ultimate BBQ platters that will be the talk of the neighborhood.

Always Opt for Quality Ingredients

The foundation of any great BBQ platter is high-quality ingredients. Choose fresh meats, vibrant vegetables, and flavorful sauces to ensure your platter looks as appetizing as possible. Not only will these ingredients look better on the plate, but they’ll taste superior and be the healthier option for you and your guests than cheaper options.

Balance Colors and Textures

Like styling an outfit for a night out on the town, when assembling your BBQ platter, it is crucial to aim for a balance of colors and textures. Do this by incorporating a variety of vibrant grilled vegetables paired with the rich browns of meats and other side dishes to create a gorgeous combination on the plate.

Don’t Shy Away from Garnishes

If you’re trying to impress your guests, garnishes are almost a necessity for any BBQ platter of note. Garnishes can add a pop of color and freshness to your BBQ platter that many people often overlook. Including chopped herbs such as parsley or cilantro or sliced citrus fruit can elevate any ordinary platter to a whole other level.

Food Arrangement Is Key

Even if the food itself is cooked to perfection, the best BBQ platters are always thoughtfully arranged to look as appealing as possible. One popular strategy is to place larger items, such as meats and grilled vegetables, at the center of the platter, and fill in any gaps with smaller items like sauces, dips, and garnishes. Consider using different sizes of the foods available along with textures and colors to really make a plate pop.

Incorporate Serving Vessels

While there may not be anything wrong with grabbing a paper plate and piling the food on, the use of serving vessels like rustic wooden boards, cast iron skillets, or colorful ceramic platters adds a new visual element to any barbecue spread. These vessels can also help contain sauces and sides, making for a neater presentation, and are also a good excuse to show off any of your favorite modern kitchen accessories. Furthermore, the use of such kitchenware also demonstrates experience when it comes to hosting and cooking for large groups of people.

Don’t Forget the Sauce

There’s no denying that sauces and barbecue dishes go hand-in-hand. Some may even argue that they are one of the most crucial ingredients to any barbecue platter as they can make or break a BBQ platter’s taste and appearance. Once you have chosen the appropriate sauces for your dish, spice up the meal by drizzling sauces neatly over meats or serve them in small ramekins or jars alongside the platter for dipping or drizzling at the table.

Consider Temperature Contrast

One of the great things about barbecue meals is that they tend to be a combination of several different types of food that cohesively work together on a plate. Therefore, incorporating both hot and cold elements can make a dish an experience to eat while simultaneously creating a visually striking contrast on your BBQ platter. Serve warm meats alongside chilled salads or slaws, or pair grilled vegetables with cool yogurt-based dips or sauces to show your mastery behind the grill.

You Can’t Have Too Many Accoutrements

Sometimes, what separates a good BBQ platter from a great one are the little details like the accoutrements that are used. So, to take yours to the next level, try adding extra flair to your BBQ platter with thoughtful accouterments like grilled lemon wedges, pickled onions, or flavored salts. These small touches can elevate the overall presentation and provide additional flavor dimensions.

Keep Everything Clean

Presentation isn’t just about what’s on the platter—it’s also about the dishes, silverware, table, and anything else required to enjoy the meal. Ensure your serving vessels are clean and free of smudges or fingerprints and wipe away any drips or spills before serving. Setting and organizing the tables you are using to hold food or eat on is another great way to help enhance the overall experience of your meal.

Portion Control When Plating

While it’s tempting to overload your BBQ platter with generous portions, practicing portion control can improve the look of any dish. Arrange smaller, well-portioned servings that allow each element to shine without overcrowding the platter. Especially if you’re serving your guests, it’s best not to assume how much food they would like or have so much on a plate that everything is blended together.

Although there may seem like a lot that goes into creating a picture-perfect BBQ platter, it can easily be accomplished with the proper planning, practice, and basic cooking techniques. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things both on and off the grill at the next barbecue that you host!