Planning a BBQ party? With these tips for BBQ party success in mind, you’ll be ready to host the perfect summer BBQ!
Time To Get Your BBQ On
Yipee! Summer is finally here and you know what that means – BBQs!
As the temperatures rise, so does the opportunity for outdoor entertaining. But when it comes to planning the perfect BBQ party, there are a lot of things to that go into it: from the food and drink selection to the seating arrangements and entertainment – it can certainly be overwhelming.
Hubby and I are blessed with a big backyard that backs a river. The yard is full of growing veggies, fruit trees, and tons of beautiful flower beds. You can often spot deer frolicking along the banks and the variety of birds we get is truly astounding. Needless to say, our yard is considered an ideal spot for family BBQs and over the past 10+ years I have thrown more than my fair share of backyard bashes. During that time I have learned a tip or two and I can’t wait to share these with you.
So whether this is your first time hosting a BBQ or you are just looking for a few ideas to up your backyard hosting – let’s roll up those sleeves, fire up that grill and let the good times begin! It’s time to host an epic backyard get-together!
Planning Your BBQ Party The Right Way
Are you ready to get your summer grillin’ on? Throwing a BBQ party is an exciting way to get together with friends and family for an outdoor fun-filled day. With the right planning, some creativity, and maybe a little help from your guests, hosting an epic BBQ can be simpler than you think!
To help you out, I’ve got all the essential tips needed for throwing a successful backyard bash that will have everyone asking when they can come over again!
From shopping for supplies to choosing great recipes and decorations, I’ve made sure that all of the bases are covered so you can become a grill hosting pro. Get ready for some fantastic food and festivities with these simple yet essential BBQ party tips!
49 Tips for BBQ Party Success
Want to host an stress-free barbecue? Follow these BBQ party tips and you’ll be sure to have an event that everyone will remember!
Choose the right location
Make sure to choose a spot that has enough space for your guests to move around and enough shade so everyone can stay cool. Take into consideration the number of people you are inviting, your outdoor cooking needs, proximity to bathrooms, and a plan B in case you need to get out of the rain.
Some of the most popular places to host a BBQ party is at the beach, in a public park, or just in your own backyard.
Prepare ahead of time
The top tip I give to anyone planning a party is to always plan way ahead and prepare for things as much as possible before hand. The BBQ party is no exception. If you want to enjoy your party then the best gift you can give yourself and your guests is to do what you can in advance.
So make sure that you:
- Plan ahead and make a list of everything you need. Include in this list all the ingredients needed for the menu, decorations, games, table settings (as well as the serving dishes, serving utensils), any other needed components, and the guest list.
- Choose a date and time that works for everyone or at least almost everyone. And have a plan B incase the weather doesn’t cooperate. This can be another location that provides shelter or a preset rain date.
- Do as much prep work as possible before the BBQ party. To avoid any last minute scrambling make sure all ingredients are on hand to save time. Set out the dishes and serving necessities a couple of nights before. Buy all decorations, table clothes, and extras at least a week before the BBQ.
- Get the yard ready. You want guests to feel comfortable and welcome. So before the party make sure that you cut the grass, clean up around the yard, wash the furniture, and wipe down the grill. Oh, and dump any free standing water so that you keep the bugs at bay.
- Assign clean up duties for during and after the BBQ. To end the night on a good note, make sure to clean up any messes that were made and properly dispose of any trash and food waste. Nothing’s worse then waking up to a family of raccoons having a second go at your party fare.
PRO TIP: Get ice! Everyone always forgets about the ice. No matter where you’re hosting the BBQ you are going to need ice for either drinks, ingredients, or both.
PRO TIP: When you plan ahead and take things out beforehand you get to see what you are missing and this gives you time to beg, buy, or borrow it. Don’t steal it. Stealing is bad.
Covering the basics
When it comes to throwing a successful BBQ party there are just some basics that you need to know. These are the things that will make the party a success even if the rest of the embellishments get shelved.
- The grill is crucial so make sure that you have one that works properly and that you have enough propane. Or do as hubby and I did and go with gas. So easy!
- Investing in quality grilling tools makes life a whole lot easier. A set of BBQ tools comes in handy especially one with a carrying case to make storage easy. BBQ baskets are also a great tool to have. I use these all of the time especially when making my famous BBQ potato salad.
- Enough seating is provided for all of your guests. Double check that you have enough chairs, blankets, cushions and any other comfortable seating that fits your theme or decor. If not, see if you can borrow some or get creative. I once had hubby bring our basement couch outside for some additional comfy seating. The guests loved it!
- Shade options are a must. If your BBQ party is earlier in the day they’re going to need a bit of respite from the blazing hot sun. So make sure that you offer some protection. Easy ways to do this is to set up near trees, set up free standing and/or table umbrellas, or have a roofed structure nearby. We used to use a vinyl car garage for parties. It worked perfectly.
PRO TIP: Don’t have everything you need? Try renting. Party supply stores often offer rental options. This can be a great way to get chaffing dishes, drink dispensers, extra seating, and so much more.
It’s all about the food
Seriously. It’s all about the food. Whether you are going BBQ basics or instead are opting for a fancier, gourmet affair when it comes to a backyard BBQ party you need to:
- Plan a make ahead menu. This way you can focus your time on the guests and not on preparing the food.
- Stock up on condiments and sides. Don’t forget about those extras like ketchup, mustard, mayo and pickles – plus sides like chips & dip or potato salad are summer BBQ staples! Or make your own dips and sauces.
- Go gourmet. Yes, there are the BBQ staples but maybe work in a few twists. Try grilling the corn, serving homemade potato chips, or grilling bison burgers instead of the regular beef kind.
- Consider dietary restrictions Before planning the menu ask your guests about any food allergies or dietary restrictions and make sure there are options for everyone to enjoy.
- Don’t forget about dessert. Nothing completes a BBQ like a sweet ending! Whether it’s ice cream bars or s’mores by the fire pit, you can’t go wrong with a tasty treat. Go homemade for that extra special touch.
PRO TIP: Cook it like it’s hot! For best grilling results make sure that the grill is smokin’ hot before putting food on it. You want a good char on the outside of the meats.
Keeping ’em hydrated
When the temperatures go up so does our need for hydration. No BBQ is complete without decent beverage options.
So make sure that:
- Everyone is properly hydrated and offer a variety of non-alcoholic drinks like lemonade, tea or juice to quench your guests’ thirst.
- Keep coolers stocked. Have plenty of coolers or buckets filled with ice to store any drinks or ingredients that need to stay fresh and cool.
- You set up a drinking station and that you place this away from the food area so that neither area gets too crowded.
- Alcoholic and non alcoholic are kept in separate coolers so that little ones don’t accidentally grab the wrong can. Label the coolers so that adults know where to put their alchololic drinks and keep this out off the ground.
- Punch is always a great option. To jazz it up a bit serve it in a retro dispenser like a charming Mason Jar inspired one. Add citrus slices, herbs, berries and always remember to add flavoured ice cubes.
- You consider using fun beverage vessels such as mason jars, watering cans, or tea cups for serving drinks in. Embellishments like fruit slices, potted herbs, flavoured ice cubes, or fancy umbrellas are always a nice, elevated touch.
PRO TIP: Galvanized tubs look great and they do work but keep in mind that the ice will melt faster. Assign someone ice duty and make sure that you free up space in the freezer for back up bags.
It’s all fun and games until someone gets a hot dog in the eye. Nothing ends the party vibe like a trip to the E.R. so when planning your next epic BBQ party make sure that you’re:
- Keeping food safety in mind. Keep all meat properly refrigerated until ready for grilling, and always wash hands well before handling food items.
- Keeping cold foods cold and that hot foods stay hot. You want guests to remember your BBQ for the right reasons and not because you gave them food poisoning.
- Using a meat thermometer to ensure that meat is cooked to the right temperature. We’ve used this one from ThermoPro before and like it.
- Using separate utensils for raw and cooked meat to avoid cross-contamination.
- Keeping a fire extinguisher nearby … just in case.
- 1st AId Kit is somewhere safely out of reach from little ones but still handy and nearby so that you can grab it in a flash.
Keep It Clean
BBQs mean plates balanced on laps, sticky fingers, and bug spray. So keeping things clean is a must. Here are some things that you are going to want to keep in mind when planning your BBQ. To keep it clean make sure that you:
- Have enough bathroom access. You’ll also want to make sure that there is enough hand soap and fresh hand towels for all of your guests.
- Keep handy wipes available so that little and big ones alike can wipe off theirs sticky, yard smudged hands before and after eating your BBQ delights.
- Clean grill and tools well before hand. Nobody wants last week steak goo on their freshly grilled burgers. Do this a couple days ahead of time. Better yet, get hubby to do this job.
- Make sure that there is garbage handy by placing garbage cans and recycling bins strategically around the yard so that all refuge can be easily disposed of.
- Bug nets will save your food by keeping those pests at bay where they belong.
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Get creative with decorations
The great outdoors already offers a hand in the decoration department which is nice. But there ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little extra embellishing. Some
- Match the decor to the party vibe. For BBQs with kiddos go with bright colours for tablecloths, napkins, balloons, and banners. Going classy? Then use white linen table clothes, floral centrepieces, simple china, and paper lanterns. In the mood for boho? Think rope hammocks, low tables with pillows and blankets, and jars filled with wild flowers hanging from the trees.
- Use varying outdoor lighting options to create a mood for BBQs that go well into the evening. Consider using: candles, lanterns, fire pits, solar light, hanging lights and outdoor chandeliers.
- Vintage or rustic accessories like metal buckets, wooden ladders, vintage looking beverage dispensers, or retro coolers can create a charming retro vibe that works brilliantly with BBQ parties.
- Let nature do the talking. One of the many wonderful things about hosting a BBQ party is that most of the decor is done for you thanks to Mother Nature. So help her along by putting out a few hanging baskets and flower pots for a dose of nature’s splendour.
- Signage matters so consider labeling the foods, drinks and desserts. Add rustic wood signs letting people know where things can be found. Such as: the BBQ party itself, the bathrooms, or where to find a place to change the baby.
Entertaining the masses
One of the things that will take your BBQ over the top and make it a party rather than just an every day BBQ is to pay attention to the entertainment. You want this to be fun, engaging, and you want to leave those guests talking. To accomplish this:
- Include a photo booth so that guests can take pictures to remember the event. I like to use a simple card stock cut out frame or hanging cloth streamers to make this happen.
- Make sure you pump up the music with portable blue tooth speakers, like this one from Boss. Because nothing brings the guests to the yard quite like a rockin’ play list.
- Plan out some yard games. Some of our BBQ favourites include: lawn bowling, badminton, croquet, and water guns.
- Can’t go wrong with bubbles. We also love a good bubble. So big or go small. Adults or kids. You can never go wrong with bubbles.
Bonus! Pro Tips for BBQ Party Planning
Now that you’re armed with almost everything you need to know about how to throw an epic BBQ party let’s finish up with these few bonus pro tips!
- Make it a potluck. To save yourself some time and money ask each guest to bring a dish that complements the menu. Everyone loves an outdoor potluck!
- Bucket with all the essentials. Buy a couple of cheap metal buckets at the dollar store and fill each of them with mosquito spray, sunscreen and hand wipes. I also like to add bubble dispensers for a little touch of fun. Place these around the yard for guests to help themselves.
- Provide evening comfort for the ladies. If you know that your party will be going into the evening a nice touch is to have a basket of inexpensive shawls on hand. Often the ladies will be wearing short sleeves and trust me they will love this little detail when the cool evening hits.
Jenny’s Finishing Thoughts On These Tips for BBQ Party Success
With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to host the perfect summer BBQ! With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can throw an unforgettable barbecue that your guests will talk about for weeks to come.
What is that one BBQ food or detail that you just have to have at every one of your BBQ parties? Make sure you share in the comments below.
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