Nothing beats a great barbecue when entertaining guests. With hot weather in the forecast, it’s a great time to round up your family and friends, and host a barbecue in your backyard.
One of the best things about a barbecue is that firing up the grill is a delicious and enjoyable alternative to spending hours in the kitchen. Grilling food on your backyard deck is an easy way to please a crowd, and it means summer is finally here.
The key to a successful barbecue is a little planning. Below are some easy tips and tricks on how to turn your BBQ into a party to remember.
Determine what kind of barbecue you want to host. Your idea of the ultimate BBQ may be a casual backyard get-together with burgers and hot dogs for the whole neighbourhood, or an elegant garden party for a few of your closest friends. Just pick a date and invite them to join you. Keep in mind that summer is a busy time for people so unless it is a spur-of-the-moment event, try to give them plenty of notice.
Next, plan what you’ll be serving and buy all the ingredients. There are hundreds of recipes online to try, but it’s best to choose one that works with your equipment (charcoal grill, gas barbecue or smoker), and your capabilities. Depending on your crowd, you may also want to plan some non-alcoholic drink options, and non-meat eater alternatives.
Top tip: Make sure you have enough fuel –whether it is charcoal or propane for the grill. After all, you don’t want to run out when you have a hungry crowd and the party is heating up.
A little prep can go a long way to a successful barbecue. The night before is an ideal time to marinate all your meats. You can also prepare all the sides, condiments and drinks that you want to serve ahead of time. Doing tasks like threading ingredients onto skewers an hour or two in advance, and keeping them refrigerated means that they’ll be ready when you are. Just be sure to soak wooden skewers in cold water for an hour first.
Right before the party, you can start setting up. Decorations like flowers, colourful table settings and party props can create a lively and fun environment. Set up the umbrella. Arrange the chairs. Bring out the food, drinks and appetizers, and preheat the grill.
Then start your summer playlist, and wait for your guests to arrive.
Designate your grill master, and help them avoid distractions. Depending on what you’re cooking, a few minutes can be the difference between undercooked, scorched or just right.
Remember that we live in Calgary, so one moment the forecast is for hot, sunny weather and the next it’s calling for snow – yes, we’ve had snow in July (don’t ask). So, be prepared to make last-minute changes.
For large crowds, you might want a covered area for when it’s too hot or if a light rain hits halfway through. Drastic weather changes may call for a postponement or a shift from an outdoor deck party to an indoor kitchen party. The key is to have a backup plan, just-in-case.
Lastly, enjoy this summertime ritual.