A Successful Cookout

How Do You Know When You’ve Had A Successful Cookout?
You spent days preparing a cookout menu, planning activities for guests and prepared your backyard making sure it was safe and well groomed. The big Cookout Day arrives and guests begin to stroll in. Hungry guests with pretty big appetites are already swarming around your grill, drawn by the intoxicating scent of your barbecuing foods aroma filling the air. So how do you know if you have a successful cookout?

All Signs Point To A Successful Cookout
The clever manager of a cookout knows they want to enjoy the food and fun as much as their guests. This means planning a cookout that doesn’t keep you at the grill all day. Start by planning how much time you’ll need to prepare and serve the entire menu from appetizers to dessert. Make as much use of your grill as possible to cut the length of time required. Review your menu carefully so you can properly prepare each part of the meal within the correct duration of time. Start with appetizers you can serve directly from the grill. A cookout is a casual affair and guests won’t expect to be waited on for each phase of the meal. With accurate and thorough planning from beginning to end, all signs point to a successful cookout.

A Full-Course Cookout Meal
A cookout meal can be a three or more course meal if the menu is planned in advance. For instance, mini-kabobs make wonderful hot appetizers. These can be prepared at least one day in advance and are ready to grill and serve. Prepare a grilled salad with a mixture of greens and grilled baby corn, peppers and tomatoes with a spicy dressing. Even a wonderful rustic soup can be made in advance and warmed on the grill for the next course. Make a side dish of potato salad using grilled potatoes instead of the usual boiled potatoes. Go for a different version of cole slaw using Savoy cabbage, carrots and onions shredded and a sweet mayo dressing blended with blue cheese. Add crispy bacon bits and toss. The entree can be an assortment of char-broiled ribs and steaks or a single rib roast char-broiled while guests devour the second or third course.

No Cookout Is Complete Without Dessert
A successful cookout needs a super, fantastic dessert that captures attention and puts the finishing touches on the meal. Choose desserts that can be made one or more days in advance. The easiest desserts are also the simplest to make. For example, slice a variety of fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Cut a pound cake in half lengthwise. Scoop out enough cake from the bottom layer to fill with sliced fruits. Add a layer of frozen ice cream cut lengthwise. Replace cake top onto the ice cream layer. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve. Remove from freezer before serving and frost with a prepared whipped topping. For adults only, drizzle lightly with a strawberry or melon liqueur. Add a lighted sparkler for a spectacular presentation. Dessert has never been so easy.

The End of a Successful Cookout
If your guests are groaning from the weight of a full cookout meal expertly crafted by you, it may be time for a little fun and games. Fun is always at the discretion of you and your guests. It’s helpful to know your friends preferences for party activities they enjoy. Do be creative. Some guests much prefer a little restful relaxation to busy games after a full meal. Be prepared though to keep your guests amused and entertained as much as possible. Start with a scavenger hunt, preferably one where they need to peruse the neighborhood for four or five items on their hunt list. Set up two teams of scavenger hunters and offer prizes to the winning team with the most finds.

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