Don’t make the mistake in thinking all summer barbecues involve fireworks and a federal holiday. Summer goes on for months, so consider these steps when hosting a summer event.
1. Preplan the Menu
A summer cookout generally tends to favor the classic dinner offerings of burgers and hot dogs, mostly because they’re popular and easy to acquire in large quantities. However, if you want to try something a little different, consider options like kebabs, chicken breast sandwiches, traditional barbecue, or even fish.
Feel free to ask your guests if they have any meal preferences, but for sake of simplicity, offer a few options. This will allow you to keep your shopping list small and discourage any out-of-left-field dinner requests from the guests. You can also check to see if anyone has specific food allergens or dietary requirements.
2. Clean the House
Cleaning can be a hard, thankless task even when you’re not about to have other people over, so this suggestion can seem like the one least likely to be addressed. However, a clean dwelling space will go a long way to helping your guests feel welcome and comfortable in your home.
Depending on the amount of work this suggestion could involve, it’s okay to take it in steps. For example, if you need to sweep and dust the house and/or back patio area, you can do this task a few days before the gathering. Save the kitchen for the night before the party and the bathroom until a few hours before the first guests will arrive.3. Prepare the Cooking Tools
If you’re cooking with a grill, make sure it’s clean and ready to be used for the handling of food. Ensure you’ve got enough propane and/or charcoal to handle the amount of food you’re planning to cook. Make sure you’ve got coolers for food and beverage storage, and make sure they’ve been cleaned out if you haven’t used them for a while.4. Supply Some Shade
It’s summer, which means it’s hot outside. And while everyone talks a great deal about loving the sun and the heat, sooner or later they all start looking for some shade to hide under. If you’re going to host a barbecue, it’s probably going to be a good idea to provide some shade for your guests.
This can be as simple as setting up an outdoor canvas canopy for people to hang out under, or maybe holding off on trimming the limbs on the backdoor tree to afford some extra shade for a little while longer.5. Don’t Fear Prep Work
Doesn’t matter if that means marinating a brisket or just cutting up onions for the burgers and hot dogs; start with the prep work for your meal before you even think of putting the meat over the fire.
There’s two primary reasons for doing the prep work before going anywhere near the main course. For one thing, cooking burgers and hot dogs won’t be anywhere near as time consuming as dealing with the side dishes. For another, there’s no guarantee any of your guests will able to help you in the kitchen, so take care of as much of the early work yourself to ensure it gets done.