I’ve just returned to London after spending another sunny (for the most part!) bank holiday weekend on the Kent coast. This time we were in Ramsgate. We had a great time visiting friends and made it to the beach for a bit. On Sunday, my fiance’s friend from med school even managed to bbq for us in his back garden. Nothing beats a great bbq! They are the perfect summer party for almost any occasion. If you’re getting ready to dust off the grill and want to host an amazing bbq for family or friends, here are a few great bbq planning ideas to help you throw an event your guests will be raving about for months.
It’s always fun to incorporate a theme into your party. Choose a cool theme that will set your party apart from all the other summer events. Carry the theme through the food, decor, party games and attire. Your guests will appreciate the creativity and efforts. Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
- Hawaiian Luau
- Mexican Fiesta
- British Seaside
- Texas Rodeo
- Caribbean/Island Jam
As discussed in my post on dinner party invitations, sending an invite for your bbq is always a good idea. Most importantly, sending out invites is an effective way to encourage RSVPs and help you finalise the guest count.
Set up fun games to keep your guests entertained while you’re busy at the grill. You can go for traditional outdoor games like horseshoes or a bean bag toss. Personally, I love the idea of giant jenga – bound to be a hit with adults and kids.
Provide a variety of grilled items, not just meat. Include seafood options and make some tasty vegetable kebabs. BBQ is not just for burgers anymore people! Offer pork, sausage, chicken, and veggie burgers. Also, take the time to research grilling methods to ensure you don’t burn foods. There are tons of books, online videos and how-to guides on how to grill food perfectly. Do a google search to get started. If you have time, make a homemade bbq sauce recipe. Let your meats marinate overnight in the sauce to enhance flavour and for safety reasons, always use an instant read thermometer to measure when meat is done. It will also prevent overcooking.
Here’s a top tip for those on a budget – buy less expensive cuts such as chicken leg/thigh instead of drumstick, or less prime cuts of beef. After marinating and grilling to perfection, your guests will be too busy licking their plates to notice the difference.
As for side dishes, its perfectly fine to stick with the classics such as potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, grilled corn, etc. For dessert, ice cream, fruit (watermelon!) and cheesecake work well. Serve side dishes in containers with lids, instead of fiddling with all that plastic wrap. Keeps the flies out and keeps the food fresher for a longer period. If you’re concerned about food safety and outdoor heat, serve sides that stay fresh at room temperature and do not need to be chilled. Here are some examples,
Keep the drinks flowing! Plan ahead and talk to your guests to know what they like. Think of a creative way to serve drinks. The oh so popular mason jar goes incredibly well with most bbq themes.
If you will have a sit down meal, create a bright colorful outdoor table setting. Here is some inspiration.
Inspire Others! If you’ve hosted a BBQ party and would like to share pictures of the party on my blog, please contact me.