How to Throw a Great Summer Barbecue

How to Throw a Great Summer Barbecue

It’s that time of year again! Beautiful weather means more time spent outside – the perfect opportunity to host that summer barbecue you’ve been thinking about. Are you planning on gathering your family and friends for some weekend grilling, sipping and socializing soon? If so, here are a few tips on how to make your summer bash the best one yet!

Don’t reinvent the wheel. People love the classics, so there’s no need to feel pressured to come up with a ton of new, exciting recipes. Whip up a batch of burgers (try these black bean sliders for the vegetarians on your guest list), shuck some corn on the cob and heat up some Hanover Baked Beans to help get the nostalgia flowing.

Do a pot-luck. Take some of the stress away from planning your party by asking each of your guests to bring a favorite dish to share. To avoid duplicates and have a good idea of what dishes you might want to prepare yourself, keep a running tally of what everyone plans to bring in advance.

Keep the refreshments flowing. Bottled water and cans of soda or beer are great to keep on ice so your guests can grab and go as they need to. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative and try a few summer cocktail recipes. All you need is a few large pitchers, some plastic cups and straws (tiny umbrellas are entirely optional).

Play some hot tunes. Of course you want your guests to mingle and chit-chat, but you may want to fill the awkward silences in between with some hot summer tunes. Crank up your local radio station, stream your favorite music app on your smartphone or pop a few CDs into the disc changer. If you’ve got a big enough budget, you might even consider hiring a DJ to keep the music flowing.

Stock up on munchies. This is especially important if there will be adult beverages on tap. Give the guy or gal on grill duty a break and put out plenty of finger foods to snack on. Stock up on Wege Pretzels or Bickel’s Potato Chips so your guests never run out of munchies.

Get your yard games on. Kids aren’t the only ones who love a good yard game every now and then, so be sure to plan a few fun activities for all ages. Set up a game of horseshoes, croquet, corn hole, badminton or bocce ball. Don’t have the right equipment? No problem. Spray paint a Twister board onto the grass, bring out the squirt guns or leave a bucket of sidewalk chalk out for everyone to share.

Incorporate some good-for-you stuff. BBQ’s don’t have to be all junk food. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate more healthy options into the food rotation. For instance, creative side dishes like broccoli salad, green bean casserole or edamame succotash add color, flavor and wholesome nutrients to balance out your dish selection.

Don’t forget the desserts. No summer barbeque would be complete without a selection of sweet treats at the end. Add some variety by including fresh fruits along with your baked goods. You may also want to provide a few healthier dessert alternatives, like black bean brownies or vegan peanut butter bars. Or whip up a batch of creamy, decadent black bean chocolate dip and serve with sliced fruit for dipping.

As summer hits us with full force, these tips and tricks should help you throw the kind of outdoor party that will have the neighbors raving for years to come! Enjoy!