One of the best things about summer is having the chance to spend an entire afternoon at a barbecue, relaxing, eating, and drinking with friends and family. Though there’s always that one friend that’s up for hosting, sometimes they cancel and someone else has to step up to the plate. And if you have never thrown a barbecue, hosting your own could be stressful and overwhelming. In order to make things easier, we’ve written our very own guide to planning a barbecue.
The last thing you want to do is have to make last minute runs to the supermarket and then wait in a never-ending line. A week before your event, write a list of all the drinks, food, and supplies you’ll need. After that, make as many trips to the grocery store as necessary.
Before you start cooking or making cocktails, you should a rough estimate about how many people are going to show up. You don’t want to overcook or have too little food. When you send out your text message, email, or letter (if you’re feeling especially retro) inviting people, clarify that you will want to know if they are bringing a guest and if so, how many. A week before the event, send out a reminder to your invitees asking for a confirmation. Here's a good option using email.
There could be a lot of pressure to do every aspect of the barbecue — planning, shopping, cooking — all by yourself. However, it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or family members who have a bit more experience from you. If you are feeling stressed about cooking for dozens of people, you should try the potluck approach: ask all of your guests to bring something whether it’s booze, food, or paper plates. This way, you can try one another’s signature dishes and have a wide range of food options.
This one is absolutely key. Having all your friends show up to your place only to awkwardly wait as you figure out that your grill doesn’t work is a uniquely nightmarish scenario. Before you even send out your invites, make sure that you’re grill is working properly. According to Consumer Reports, you should check if your grill is rusty, has inconsistent flames, can’t ignite, and is dirty. If your grill is at the point of no repair but you don’t have the money or time to shop for a new one, RentalHQ can help find you a grill you can use for an afternoon.
In the year 2018, you should be prepared to accommodate for a wide range of food allergies. That buddy from college who used to eat hot dogs for breakfast could very well be a full-fledged vegan. Stock up on vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options and ask beforehand if anyone has a specific allergy. In addition, you should have an alcohol-free beverage for people who are sober or are simply not in the mood to drink.
Sometimes, even the closest of friends can run out of things to talk about. Here are some amusing games and activities for your barbecue:
Volleyball: Setup a net, pick teams, and you're good to go.
Piñata: The best part of this game is that even if you don’t win, everyone can partake in eating the candy.
Slip and Slide: Especially on a hot day, this could be a ton of fun.
Beer Pong: This one is a bit of a throwback to college but its a crowd pleaser.
Though planning your own barbecue can be nerve wracking, you shouldn’t be afraid to take risks with your food or beverages. Try out that new cocktail you read up about, serve Micheladas instead of just having the traditional keg, or improvise and come up with a wacky marinade on the spot. Don’t feel as if you have to place it safe at your barbecue — this is your ideal chance to try something new and get instantaneous feedback.
If you’re interested in reading more guides about health and lifestyle, check out our blog.