May is the month of barbecues, so this blog is a step-by-step guide to hosting a successful barbecue, including making sure you have enough seating, enough food and activities to keep everyone entertained.
Foolproof Barbecue Checklist
The BBQ is a summer statement – there can be few households across the country that don’t have at least one outdoor cooking and dining session over the summer months. When the sun shines, we Brits need to take advantage and that means enjoying as much time in the garden as possible.
If this year you plan on BBQing, then here is the definitive step-by-step guide to hosting a brilliant BBQ and outdoor party, in honour of May being ‘the month of barbecues’.
Step 1 – Planned or Impromptu
The best thing about BBQs is the fact that they are informal, an almost-impromptu celebration of summer with family, friends and neighbours.
This means you don’t need to be overly-uber-organised. A quick email, phone call or text to family and friends is all you need.
Better still, make it a potluck gathering too, meaning everyone brings a pot or dish, either savoury or sweet.
Step 2 – Get the garden organised
Just like you would organise your home for an indoor party, you need to spend some time getting the garden organised too.
The biggest issue for most of us is enough garden seating. Clearly, investing in easy-to-store garden dining sets is a great idea – just whip them out when people come over.
Seating needs to be comfortable so as well as garden benches and dining chairs, create ‘impromptu’ seating for guests. Cushions on blanket boxes or sturdy plastic boxes work just as well. You will also find that people are more than happy to soak up the sun and chat with a burger in hand on a picnic blanket, nestled against outdoor cushions.
Step 3 – Sweat the small stuff
We started by saying that the beauty of BBQs is that they are an informal gathering but sometimes, sweating the smaller detail is what sets your BBQ apart from all others.
And by this, we mean creating a room outdoors. From solar powered string lights to flickering candles in lanterns, adding small details has a huge impact on the ambience of the garden.
Don’t forget cute stuff like bunting in the gazebo and funky serviettes, plates and the like.
Step 4 – The BBQing menu
Barbecues are fantastic because you can cater for virtually anyone. From the big meat eaters who like a blue, smoky steak off the barbie to those who prefer chargrilled sausages, to the vegetarians and vegans, there is something for everyone off the BBQ.
As well as BBQing meat and processed products such as burgers, there are many different ideas for creating a mouth-watering menu of accompaniments and dishes. From delicious salads to barbecued vegetables, take a look at some modern BBQ classics with a twist.
Step 5 – The drinks menu
You could, of course, keep it super simple with cans and bottles to which your guests help themselves when they want. A mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are a must!
For a little something different, you could always enjoy a cocktail bar. Summer cocktails tend to be lighter in taste and so look for recipes that use ready-mixed fruit drinks, along with a tot of gin or another summer drink.
Create fantastic non-alcoholic cocktails too with fruit juices and sparkling water and serve in plastic cocktail glasses complete with a cherry on a stick and an umbrella to add even more summer swish to your BBQ.
If you are planning a BBQ for a summer birthday party or celebration, why not hire in a cocktail bar for an hour or two? It means you don’t need to worry about the mixing of cocktails and the clearing up!
Step 6 – Garden games
Informal it may be, but sometimes you need to add a little something extra and that means breaking out the garden games.
There are shop-bought games you can buy from high street and online retailers but there are many you can create yourself too.
Stuck for garden game ideas? Take a look at these fabulous ideas!
Step 7 – Simple = Enjoyable
BBQs or even pizza from your outdoor oven is an informal way of getting together, enjoying the summer sun and each other’s company. Whether you are hosting an al fresco event for close family, friends and neighbours or hosting an outdoor celebration, the key to a brilliant barbecue is a formula of keeping it simple equals enjoyment for everyone.
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.