Fire up the grill, it’s BBQ season! There’s nothing like the smell of food coming off the barbecue to put you in a fun, summery mood. But throwing a backyard BBQ party for your friends and family doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. Keep it comfortable and casual with these simple backyard party tips.
Keep Your Backyard BBQ Casual
The best thing about a backyard barbecue get-together is that it is casual and breezy. People can pop in, grab a plate, grab a drink and have a good time without any worries. As long as the food and drink are plentiful and your guests can stay entertained, you are well on your way to being a great host. Plus, BBQs don’t have to have an elaborate fancy menu or decorations. Now, let’s throw a party!
Good Food and Good Drinks = Good Backyard BBQ Party
Keep the menu simple. Burgers and hot dogs on the grill are fine. While ribs, pulled pork or brisket may seem difficult and intense, the slow cooking of it actually allows the host to not have to man the grill and actually be apart of the party. Get it cooking early, enjoy the party then serve hours later once it is cooked. You will impress guests. For more barbecuing tips, check out How to BBQ.
Make it a potluck! This is great for many reasons. People are generally happy to pitch in an bring a dish. Plus, everyone will be guaranteed to have at least one thing they like. If you have finicky friends or people on restricted diets, this is a great solution for making sure everyone feels included. Additionally, it is easy on the host! You supply the main dish and everyone else brings the sides and desserts. The party will be stocked with plenty of food and you won’t break your bank!
Drinks can be easy too. Put out a bunch of coolers and serve beer and soda out of cans or bottles (and make sure to set out a recyclables container), and water from bottles or a dispenser. Wine is fine too but keep the wine glasses in the cupboard. Plastic wine glasses are perfect for outdoor use! It doesn’t have to be fancy bar service. Leave the mixed drinks and fancy cocktails to the professionals. If you must include a fancy cocktail, make it one that can be mixed in a large batch and placed in a beverage dispenser.
It’s All Fun & Games
Every backyard BBQ needs a few backyard games. Set up a corn hole bag toss or a game of horseshoes. Put out a Frisbee or ball for people to toss around. Bocce ball is easy to set up and easy to play. Fill up some water balloons or squirt guns and feel like a kid again. It doesn’t have to be formal or organized as long as people have something to keep them occupied. Get creative and come up with a new game all on your own. Get a can of spray paint and paint a Twister board right on the lawn, or use sidewalk chalk for the driveway. Find some more ideas in our BBQ Games blog post.
Make sure to have music on and something for everyone to enjoy. Let your guests play DJ and have fun. Just make sure to keep the noise level down to not draw the ire of your neighbors. Better yet, invite the neighbors to join the party!
Backyard BBQ Decor
Don’t go overboard. A few simple tablecloths (plastic is OK) and some lighting to go with your music, games, and food are all you need. Make sure your decorations include citronella candles to keep the bugs at bay. Also set out containers of bug spray and sunscreen for guests so nobody ends up with unwanted bites or burns.
Ensure shade or a spot for cooling off is available. Put up a patio umbrella or outdoor shade to provide relief from the summer sun. Set up an oscillating outdoor fan or misting fan to create air flow. If you have a large open space, a backyard party tent may be an option for you as well.
Since you’ll be partying until the wee hours of the night, you need to ensure you have some kind of backyard lighting. If it gets chilly in your neck of the woods at night, get a fire pit (if legally allowed) or have an outdoor heater to keep guests from getting cold. Keep the people happy and no one will remember if you had matching plates and napkins or not!
Don’t get out your good China for this get-together. Paper plates are completely acceptable and even expected. Place paper plates and napkins, plastic silverware and party cups out and let your guests know everything is disposable. Put trash cans or bags out and label for recyclables or trash. Everyone can clean up after themselves and enjoy a good party. Serve beer and soda in cans and water in bottles or drink dispensers. There is no need to create any dishes that will need to be washed for this party.
Another great tip is to use washable grill mats on your barbecue grill. They still allow for the grill marks but simply rinse and wipe clean rather than scrubbing the cooked on grease and grime left behind on hard to clean grill racks.
If you don’t get the grill mats, check out our BBQ Cleaning Tips blog post.
Are You Ready to Throw a Backyard BBQ Party?
Send out the invites; it’s BBQ time! Keep it casual, comfortable and easygoing. The most important part of a good backyard party is good food, good drinks and good conversation with good people. If you have all of that, then you have the recipe for a successful summer event. Don’t stress out and remember that the host/hostess should enjoy the party too! What’s your best tip for throwing a good summer party?
For more tips, check out our BBQ Party Ideas blog post.