Tips for the Perfect Summer BBQ Celebration

Casual get-together BBQs make the perfect summer celebration. One can’t help but relish those communal outdoor afternoons – cheerful chatter as you and your friends catch up, the telltale sizzle of hot dogs hitting the grill, a moment of total relaxation with a cold brew in a shady spot. Nothing says “summer is here” quite like a cookout.

And the sentiment applies whether you’re throwing a summer barbecue in your spacious backyard or urban hidden rooftop.  Welcome the onset of warm weather by hosting your best-ever BBQ in any square footage – even your tiny balcony.

Keep the BBQ Simple

The key to a great barbecue is to keep it casual. Don’t go overboard on the menu: focus on a few tried-and-true recipes.

Think quality, not quantity. Pick one or two meat-oriented meals (burgers, steaks, or sausages are solid bets), and an easy veggie option (roasted veggie skewers are always a win). Provide fixings and a salad or two—or just go with the barbecue classic, corn-on-the-cob.

Drinks for Everyone

Offer a variety of nonalcoholic drinks for kids and guests who don’t drink alcohol. The most important drink, especially if it’s a hot day, is water. Be sure to have plenty in stock so everyone can stay hydrated. Fruit punches are perfect for a summer cookout and a pitcher of homemade lemonade is always a hit.

Filling the cooler with ice-cold beer is a barbecue tradition. While you can pick up a case of your trusted go-to brand, there are many fantastic beers to explore. Pairing barbecued foods with wine is another adventure that can keep you busy all summer. It’s fun to discover the “rules” of finding a great cookout wine and you’ll often find that inexpensive red wines are the best picks.

Request Side Dishes

This tip comes in especially handy when it comes to large barbecues. Ask your guests to bring side dishes and desserts. Avoid asking them to bring snacks and appetizers. Don’t feel like asking for side dishes is a burden. People love to show off their prized dishes. Besides, you don’t want to be whipping up five pounds of baked beans, ten pounds of potato salad, and four dozen deviled eggs while you’re getting the house and backyard ready.

Setting Up

Rather than grouping everything onto one table, have at least two serving stations set up. One can be for food, and the other for drinks. If you’re hosting in a small space, make use of even more surfaces – think shelves, kitchen countertops, windowsills – to avoid “bottlenecking.”

When it comes to seating, remember the only thing worse than spending hours in the direct glare of the sun is standing for hours in the direct glare of the sun. Provide plenty of seating options for your guests, both under the shade and in the sun for heat-tolerant folks.

If you’ve been planning on upgrading your outdoor furniture or grabbing some new backyard pieces, a barbecue is a perfect excuse to finally splurge for them. Just make sure you have a plan to get them home. And if you plan to keep the party going past dark, plan for lighting, too. String lights make any spot look upscale, while candles are straight-up magical.

Desert: Sundae Bar

Remind your guests to save room for dessert, and wow them with the ultimate sundae bar. Ice cream just tastes better at the end of a sweltering day, especially when it’s covered in scrumptious toppings. Set up a topping bar and let guests customize their sundae. Avoid a literal melt-down by keeping the ice cream in the freezer until the sun has gone down.

Attending a summer barbecue is always a great time but hosting one can be stressful—whether you’re hosting a small group or planning a larger gathering. For more BBQ tips and tricks, check out this summer BBQ branch on MrOwl. With a bit of planning and a well-thought-out menu, it can be easy to make your next barbecue a hit!