by: Ashley Stewart
Kickoff the grilling season with the best BBQ! Not only will you put those neighbors you can’t stand to shame, but also shut down all of the rumors that you don’t know how to operate a grill. From backyards, to rooftops, to in-home NYCish barbeques, you can put it all on the table without tapping into your savings account…and still have your guests feel the love. Read on for the inside scoop on how to host a disaster-free Memorial Day BBQ and have your guests vibin’ all day and all night long.
We have all been perpetrators and culprits of talking about a friend’s party and how it went so wrong; what he or she didn’t do right and what we could do better. Now it’s time to prove it. Follow these guidelines to keep your guests happy and the food finger-lickin’ good.
#1 – Get it Together!! – The single most important thing about hosting a party or event of any sort, is planning. First things first, know your limit. If you are hosting the party in your home, be sure to put a limit on the number of people invited. You don’t want a line forming outside of your house and you don’t want all of the food and drinks gone by the time you sit down. Yes, the saying goes, the more the merrier, but not exactly in this case.
#2 – Your Evited!! – Sending out invites is very important if you want your party to turn out amazing. It goes hand in hand with planning because this is the number you base your menu from. Also, going green has never been easier. Sending out carbon-free invites should be your way to go and all it takes is finding a free evite service. Design away and make people feel like you took some time with the invite. You can also create an event on FaceBook and have people RSVP that way. Remember to always reconfirm attendance a couple of days before the event, since last-minute changes usually occur.
#3 – Mmmm…BBQ never tasted so good!! – Once you have an estimate on the number of guests attending, you can start planning your menu. This is the best part because you should always go for the foods you like and of course have a variety for those vegan and picky-food eaters. It’s easier to plan the menu in the order in which people typically eat (eg. Appetizers, entrees, desserts), which assures you will not miss anything. In addition, always buy more than you need and if you are really nice, you can even give your guests takeaway boxes! Here are some ideas for what menu items to go for.
- Drinks – alcohol-friendly? Make sure to have beer, sangria, wine and a specialty cocktail (maybe frozen margaritas?!). If it’s a party sparing the alcohol, go for the Arnold Palmer (½ iced tea, ½ lemonade), gingerale, and plenty of water.
- Appetizers and finger foods – Everyone loves chips and salsa, fruit salad, veggies and hummus, and the traditional bbq smokies. Serve a few of your favorites on platters and they will go fast!
- Main Course – The beauty of a BBQ is nothing is ever on time, and no one seems to care. So go all in, skip the pre-formed hamburger patties, and make your own! There are great recipes for marinade and if you shape them the night before, you will skip all that prep time. Include hotdogs, boneless chicken breasts, kebabs and baby back ribs. Also have some veggie burgers just in case someone prefers those.
- Dessert – This should be the easiest part. Just grab some Italian ice or gelato and bring it out after everyone has finished eating. Try pairing with fresh berries and home-made whip cream. You can also go the traditional route and bake a home-made apple pie and cherry cheesecake as well.
#4 – Nothing says a party like over-the-top decorations!! – Put everyone into great sprits as soon as they walk into your house. Have streamers, banners and even balloons to signify the holiday and the arrival of summer, while also cherishing and remembering those people we have lost. To stay mosquito-proof, spray the area the morning of the party and light tiki torches and citronella candles during the party to keep your guests bug-free.
#5 – Have Fun!! – BBQs are meant to be gatherings where friends and family can get together and have a great time. Have activities for your guests to embark on such as Frisbee, croquet, card games and dominoes. Crank up the music (but not too loud that guests cannot hear one another), with a portable ipod player so guests can play their favorite songs and dance ‘til they drop.
Don’t forget the condiments! You would be surprised how quick a bottle of ketchup goes. Get plenty!
Ditch the straws. No one uses straws at their own house, and neither should you. Save the earth!
Prepare dishes ahead of time that don’t require a grill! The night before is perfect for making potato salad and baked beans.
Don’t drink and drive! If your BBQ is an alcohol environment, make sure there are sober drivers or have guests take cabs home. Better safe than sorry.
It’s all good if you have the three “F’s”: Friends. Family. Food. J