Summer is here, which means that it’s time for some summer fun. That means spending time outdoors, whether you are hiking, swimming, playing sports, lounging by the pool, or simply sitting outside with your thoughts. The other thing you start to do more during the summer is cooking outdoors.
When someone thinks back to the highlights of any given summer, barbecues are often at the top of the list. Of course, there are big family barbecues where the kids run around and constant splashing from the pool. But, there are also more laid-back affairs with more sophisticated cuisine for sit-down meals. Going to barbecues is always a good time. The same can be said for hosting them, however, that comes with an additional amount of stress. Here is the ultimate backyard BBQ preparation list to help you ensure that you take care of everything you need. Don’t grill outside your home without it.
Prepare Your Yard
The first thing you need to do is prepare your yard for a gathering. This is more than just putting out tables and chairs. You will need to pick up any pet waste, for example, and mow and weed the lawn. It’s usually best to mow the lawn at least a day or two before the event. That way, any guests who have sensitivities will not be affected. Plus, if you are going to have any water-related activities, you don’t want everyone getting grass clippings all over their feet.
On the day of the bbq, set up your tables in a way that fits the number of people who are attending. If you put out table cloths, clip them down to protect against the wind. You may have to wait until closer to your start time before putting out paper plates since you don’t want them to blow away, either. If you are worried about rain, then a canopy is a great choice to keep everyone dry. If it’s really hot, a canopy can work to keep everyone cool, too.
The last thing you want is to realize you are missing something important minutes before your guests are due to arrive. Do an inventory and make sure that you have everything you need for grilling. Fill up your propane tank or buy an extra charcoal bag to ensure you don’t run out. Make sure you have a grill scraper. You will need tongs, a grill fork, a spatula, oil, and anything else that might be special for your meal. For instance, if you have shish kabobs, you might need a cedar plank for salmon or a bamboo paddle skewer for each guest.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that your barbecue is in good working order. Check the line for any leaks, and test out all of the burners. You should also clean your barbecue thoroughly to look great for the big day.
Drinks should also be planned out in advance. You will need to time it properly for when they go in the fridge to be nice and cold on a hot day. If you are making anything, such as lemonade, do it the day before and chill overnight. Purchase an abundance of ice, as you will have to refill through the event. The last thing you want is to run out of ice.
Set up all your utensils and other eating needs ahead of time, so they are ready to go. If you have disposable dishware, there is always the chance they will be blown away, so place them in baskets or containers. You will need forks, knives, spoons, service tongs, plates, and bowls. You will also need dishes to serve on, such as platters and service bowls. Don’t forget to have many napkins if a package gets blown away in the wind. If you are using disposable essentials, set up garbage and recycling receptacles all over the yard so your guests will have an easy place to put them.
Of course, the most important part of any barbecue is the food. Make sure you have an overabundance since the last thing you want is to find yourself short on food. While you can give a heads up that you are having a certain type of barbecue meal, always make sure to have some simpler things on hand, like hot dogs and burgers, in case children come, or someone doesn’t like the original meal plan. You should also have some vegetarian options on hand as well. If you need to thaw your food, give it 36-48 hours in the fridge to ensure it is fully thawed. Then, you can take the meat out the morning of the event and let it finally thaw to room temperature. This will ensure that it’s ready to go and make it easier to cook.
Don’t forget about your condiments. Even if you don’t like something, someone else might. Get ketchup, mustard, relish, and steak sauce, for example. You will also need salt and pepper, along with garnishes. These can include tomatoes, onions, pickles, cheese, lettuce, and anything else you like to put on your barbecued food.
There is always a fire risk when it comes to barbecues. Make sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand and a water spray bottle for small flare-ups. Have sunscreen and bug spray available for guests in case there are lots of pests around trying to get a taste of the food. If it’s going to stretch into the night, have citronella lamps and other lighting so everyone can see, and it sets the mood.
Having a backyard barbecue is great fun and allows you to spend time with people you love. Follow this checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your summer cookout!