What’s more fun in the warm months than grilling out? It’s grilling out with friends. Host your own backyard barbeque and invite all your buddies over for a tasty meal and some backyard fun. Here are some tips to get that party started right.
The number one complaint I have about throwing a barbeque party is that the cooks do more cooking than enjoying their company. Last minute preparations mean that the food is not ready when the guests arrive. It is hard to entertain and fix the appetizers at the same time. People seem to eat in shifts as the food gets ready.
Let’s avoid that bit of nonsense this year. If you are going to have a barbeque get-together, plan ahead so that it is easy on the guests and the hosts. Know your menu. Decide the week before what you will serve for the meal. Appetizers or finger foods of some sort allow guests to munch while they wait for the main course to finish on the grill.
Appetizers should be small especially if you plan on serving a variety of grilled meats and vegetables. Try a veggie or fruit tray with some low calorie dip. This is easy to make—you go to the store and pick one up! The name of the game here is to have fun and to do as much as you can ahead of time. These appetizer trays have no preservatives so it’s okay to buy them pre-packaged from the store.
Punch is a good idea for a party where there will be children as well as grown ups. If the punch is meant to be sparkling (adding soda), chill the punch first without the soda and add it just before the guests arrive. That way, the punch won’t lose its kick while in the fridge.
If the guests were told to bring their appetites, you may want to eliminate grilled chicken from the menu. Chicken takes a long time to cook depending on the parts of the bird you are grilling. This alone will cause some people to get their food ahead of others. So no guest is left with an empty plate, choose other meats or pre-bake your chicken before grilling to reduce cooking time.
Remember to always preheat the grill. When people come in and see smoke rising from the grill they expect that you have already put food on it. Don’t surprise them with the smell of smoldering charcoal. Forty-five minutes before the party, start the gas or charcoal grill so that the coals get hot and are ready for grilling once the guests arrive.
As for the side dishes and cold salads, prepare those at least an hour (for the side dishes) or two (for the salads) before the party. This cuts down on the work of the host and hostess. You can sit with your friends and await the goodies from the grill. Better still, everyone can watch the grill master at work and nibble on appetizers.
The backyard barbeque should flow smoothly when you take the time to prepare. When the work is done early, the fun can begin as soon as the guests arrive.