One of the funnest parts of summer is hosting a backyard barbecue. These parties allow you to show off your grilling skills and to impress your friends and neighbors with your favorite burger or steak recipe, and grilling out is a cost-effective and healthy way of eating. Hosting a barbecue in the backyard also helps to keep the mess out of the house, and it allows you to accommodate more guests than if you were to cram around your kitchen or dining room table. Barbecue parties are great for celebrating birthdays and summertime holidays, or you can host one “just because.” With a little careful planning, you can throw a barbecue bash that will be fun for everyone without making a huge mess or spending a lot of money.
When planning your barbecue party, you first want to think about the number of guests you will be feeding. This will help you to come up with a good menu, and it will help you to plan your grocery list and budget. If you are feeding a large group or if there will be a lot of children at your barbecue party, you might want to consider serving hamburgers and hot dogs; these tasty treats are crowd-pleasers that are also relatively affordable. When serving a smaller group of adults, you might want to go all out with tasty steaks; barbecue pork or beef ribs, chicken or pork chops are also a great choice.
Next, you will want to think of a few side dishes for your barbecue party. You can prepare these dishes yourself, or you can ask each of your guests to bring in a small dish. Light pasta, macaroni or potato salads and cole slaw are refreshing on a hot summer day and go great with grilled meats, but make sure to keep them on ice so that they don’t spoil. You can also go with your grilling theme and keep the mess out of the house by preparing grill-friendly side dishes such as “baked” potatoes, packages of mushrooms and onions wrapped in tin foil and tasty grilled vegetable skewers.
Beverages are also important when planning your barbecue bash. Iced tea and lemonade are favorites for summer barbecues, and a tasty homemade punch will also be a hit. A cooler full of a variety of canned sodas and bottled waters is also a great idea, and a large cooler that is filled with ice should keep your drinks cold for the majority of the day. You might also consider mixing up a flavorful margarita, sangria or other tasty beverage, with or without alcohol, or you might want to stock a cooler full of beer and wine coolers for your adult guests.
If you are concerned about making a big mess on the day of your party, you should take a few precautions to make clean-up easier; this will allow you to actually enjoy your barbecue party instead of spending hours cleaning up. Try placing a large trash can or two where they will be easily seen, and rely on paper plates, cups, disposable cans and bottles of sodas and other beverages, plastic utensils and disposable napkins and paper towels so that you aren’t stuck with a sink full of dishes after your bash.
Seating is also a major concern for outdoor barbecues, but it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Pull up a few outdoor chairs to your picnic tables, and consider renting affordable seating if you can. You can also ask friends and neighbors to pitch in tables and chairs for your party; just make sure that these arrangements are concrete before the day of the party. You can tie a few balloons and hang a few banners on your porch and picnic tables and chairs to add a festive look to your party, and delightful conversation and delicious food should be enough to keep you and your guests entertained to make for a wonderful barbecue party.