Make Sure Your Next Barbecue is a Success

Four Keys to Having an Amazing Spring Barbecue

The weather is finally starting to warm up and you decide that you are going to host a neighborhood barbecue. Everyone you know has been invited over to your house.  Suddenly the fear sets in as you realize that you don’t know the first thing about throwing a great barbecue.  A Bah mitzvah - no problem. A Quiniceanera - piece of cake.  But a that is a challenge.   You don’t have to worry because there are four easy keys to throwing a wonderful barbecue. First of all, provide entertainment.  Second, don’t be cheap and only bring in hamburgers. It is much better to get some quality meat.  Third, think about all the fixin’s.  A great barbecue is more than just barbecue ribs or chicken, you need to have the appropriate salad and other menu items to match the main course.  Fourth, and perhaps most important,  be safe. With these four keys you can throw a great barbecue that everyone will enjoy and talk about for the rest of the year. 

Understanding the crowd that you are hosting is really important to creating a fun environment.  If you are having an adult only affair, you can get away with just letting the folks mingle.  But if there are going to be kids, young adults, or even just the young at heart, you should think about how to entertain everyone.  The worst barbecues are the ones where people just stand around, bored stiff waiting, and staring idly at the barbecue grill while they wait for the food to be done cooking.  Even worse than that is having your friends have to deal with antsy kids or the teenagers just sitting around and texting their friends about how lame your party is.  You also don’t want them to be listening to your crazy uncle tell wacky stories about the time you.... never mind, it would just be best if we didn’t go there. The entertainment you should provide is more along the lines of backyard games and music. Some good backyard games include croquet, badminton, and horseshoes. These games are easy to set up and fun to play, and can foster a little friendly competition between your neighbors. Also, backyard games let the kids provide some of the entertainment for us old geezers.  Remember, any one can grill food, you are responsible for entertaining your guests while the food is on the grill. After all, people come to barbecues for more than just the food. Providing the entertainment will make the barbecue be much better and may even make it spectacular.  Music is also an essential piece to creating the festive atmosphere at a barbecue.  Think beyond just setting up a boom box on a picnic table and maybe invest in some outdoor speakers.  

If you wanted a cheap meal you could go to McDonalds or Burgerking and get a really cheap burger. However, you do pay for what you get. Hot dogs and burgers may be a classic, but they just won’t cut it if you want to throw an amazing barbecue. Don’t be cheap with you selections of meat. Go to your local butcher and get some awesome cuts of meat that are more than your ordinary burgers. Steaks and ribs are a surefire hit at a barbecue. Another good thing is to intermingle different kinds of cuts to give your guests a variety of choices. Having better meats will more than likely result in better food for your guests, which will keep them enthused in your barbecue, which will move your barbecue towards neighborhood legend status. 

People aren’t pure carnivores. While meat may be the main attraction, why should it be the only thing you serve? You should include vegetables, some seafood, and even some dessert. Adding these other choices allows for a greater palate of food that you can offer your guests. With more choices in the food department, people will more likely be satisfied because there will be many choices for them and not just a single option. They can customize their own dinner without really needing to specifically request it. As this is a neighborhood barbecue, you could even have your guest bring over some of his or her best dishes to share out among the guests. This will give the food selection an even greater diversity because many people cook differently and some make some dishes better than others. With others bringing in the side dishes, such as salads, deserts, and drinks, you can focus on the primary dishes, such as steaks, burgers, or ribs. The choice of foods is elemental in hosting a great barbecue. Provide a great selection so that even the pickiest eater will have nothing to complain about. 

A sure way for a barbecue to be a bust is for one of your guests to come down with something awful, such as food poisoning or salmonella. You want to BE SAFE when you are cooking your items on the grill. The well-being and safety of your guests should be a priority. You are going to want to make sure you accurately measure the temperature of the meats, so that you know when they are ready and that you don’t undercook them. Also if you do end up with several types of meat, you must leave some space between them on the grill so that their marinades don’t mix together to get some less than desirable outcomes. Especially be careful with chicken because the uncooked juices can lead to salmonella. You are going to be safe because these are your neighbors and your friends and you wouldn’t want to see any of them seriously hurt by your cooking when you could have prevented it. That would be a ruined barbecue for sure.

If you follow those four keys to having an amazing barbecue, you will. Provide the entertainment while the food is cooking, don’t be cheap with your cuts of meat, don’t serve only meat, and be safe. All of these combined will give the neighborhood a new annual tradition when done right.