What’s not to like about parties? You show up, drink as much as you can, eat as much as you can, have the time of your life and go home.
However, there comes the time when you need to play host. Since you’re not a kid anymore, you’re going to skip burgers and hot dogs but keep the open flame and the masculine mood that comes only from manning the grill and being the housemaster at the same time.
Here’s a no-brainer guide for an ultimate barbecue party to throw in your backyard.
Invite People Over
What’s all about those Facebook invites and events? Interested? Going? Pending? Then half of the people who click don’t show up and another half shows up from the thin air. I hope you don’t plan using the Google Calendar either – it’s not a staff meeting.
Digital invites require an event to be made, and then there is public RSVP that might putt some people off. So, don’t email, don’t text, don’t use a third party app, just call your friends on the phone and talk to them directly. Tell them the date and time and then, if need follow up with texts about other details.
Let Them Bring What They Want
While you shouldn’t act like Tony Soprano and ‘get everything taken care of’ yourself, don’t compromise on the party vibe either. If someone offers to bring something, say yes. In many situations, your friends might help with things you don’t have, for example, a large number of folding garden chairs. If a number of your friends prefer their wines to brews, you might ask some of them to bring their wine glass sets.
Unless that was your plan from the start, avoid asking people to bring food. Not only it is annoying, but you can never be sure they’ll get the right thing. You as a party master should be the sole supplier of meat and deli. If some of them get persistent to bring something anyway, always ask for a bag of ice.
Arrange The Seating Space
A beauty of an outdoor barbecue party is that you can invite more people than can fit around your dining table. People won’t be sitting around a table anyway – especially if you use it to lay out the food and drinks so people can eat wherever they want.
The whole point of parties is that folks are mingling about. if you don’t have a patio table, you can bring your indoor table and protect it with a brown kraft paper, or create a kind of a trestle table using two sawhorses and a piece of plywood.
If after raiding your whole place for chairs you couldn’t muster enough, consider a full picnic mode and invite guests to sit on the ground, all with blankets and Tiki torches or their alternatives. In that case, you need to:
Give Your Lawn A Trim
Even if you don’t plan your guest to be sitting down, you need to get your backyard in shape for the party. Apart from purely aesthetic reasons, there are also safety considerations – as the party goes on into the dusk and your friends become more relaxed with their drinks, you don’t want someone to trip onto a garden hose or step on a proverbial rake Tom & Jerry-style.
First things first, trim the lawn. I don’t want to hear about it being broken – these days there are many excellent online suppliers like Green Acres Mowers who trade in parts and accessories for many mower and trimmer brands. You also want to trim those shrubs and low-hanging branches, if nothing else for safety.
Finally, store all the gardening tools that might be lingering about in a shed or garage.
Lay Out The Menu
When it comes to the grill, meat is usually king, but don’t be an ignorant snob and forget your vegetarian friends and non-meat alternatives that steal the show more often than you think. Grilled corn on the cob dressed in butter and sprinkled with salt, halloumi and pepper skewers seasoned with sweet chili sauce, or cauliflower steaks sprinkled with turmeric are definitely to keep any vegetarian smiling.
When grilling meat on charcoals, leave one side of the grill free of coals and cook large pieces directly and move to indirect cooking if the outside is charring before the meat is cooked through.
Simplify The Drink Card
While cocktails are summer-time parties’ favourites, buying ten different bottles of spirits and several dozens of mixers just to match everyone’s taste goes far from throwing a roaring backyard barbecue party. People love backyard barbecues because they are simple and undemanding.
Soft drinks apart, boil down the drink card to two options: beer and wine. Between rich reds and dry whites, there is something for everyone, but you’re not a sommelier, eh? Buy a supply of a hearty red, for example, Cabernet and a few bottles of Riesling. As brews are concerned, make sure you throw in a few wheat choices in that ice tub full of lagers.
There is something inherently primal and attractive about cooking food over hot coals and sharing it with your friends. Make your turn to host a party stand out by following these tips, and there’s little that can go wrong.