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I absolutely love to have backyard cookouts. It is one of my favorite things to do in the summer time. Over the past couple of years, I feel like I have become an expert at throwing last minute barbecues for hoards of people. Believe me, it can definitely be intimidating to cook for a lot of people, but grilling out is the most simple way to feed a dozen mouths. Here are just some little tips I have acquired over the years.

1). The meat is the most important part of your meal. Yes this seems sort of obvious. But occasionally people forget how important the center piece of the meal is and, in the case of a cookout, the centerpiece is the meat. Stay away from something ridiculous like steaks or ribs. These items are impressive, yes, but people are picky about steak temperatures (not to mention it can get expensive fast) and with ribs, you will be outside slaving over the food all day. Stick to something easy for big groups such as hotdogs and hamburgers or kabobs. Chicken Kabobs, if marinated, can be a HUGE hit at BBQ’s. People love the colorful fresh veggies and who doesn’t love food on a stick?! Also, if you have friends or family who cannot live without their red meat, kabobs are an easy and affordable way to incorporate steak into the mix.

2). Don’t forget the condiments! It is so easy to get caught up in what your are preparing for the sides or desserts that you completely forget to grab important extras like ketchup. These little items make a huge difference and the more you have the better hostess you are. Here’s a little list of extras that you may need:

  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • onions
  • relish
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • sliced cheese for burgers
  • mayo
  • pickles
  • salt and pepper

3). Make sure you have appropriate table settings. This would include plates, cups, silverware, napkins, tablecloths, and serving utensils/trays. I have some stuff that I bought a couple of years ago and it is my go-to box of necessities when I have a BBQ. It is always useful to have extra disposable table ware around for last minute get together’s. Also, fresh flowers never hurt a table setting 🙂

4). Have some kind of bug repellent. This is super important! No one likes bugs to be all over their food/ faces while they try to eat. A good citronella candle (or 5) is always a good option. I personally hate the smell of bug spray. Most of the time I buy the sensitive/organic stuff that seem less noxious. Also, a fire next to where you eat could be a natural deterrent.

5). Lastly, smores are a must! You just have to do it. Everyone loves a smore. I have all kinds of skewers that we roast marshmallows with. Make sure you watch little ones around pointy objects and fire…HAHA! But I have realized that you can never ever go wrong with smores. Aslo do not use any artificial fire starters, such as a Duraflame quickstarter logs, to get the fire going. Food is not meant to be roasted over those flames as the chemicals are dangerous. Little bunsen burners could substitute for a bonfire as well.

All in all, these are just some reminders before you hit the store. I realize this list does not cover everything needed for a BBQ, but these are just little details that I some times forget about. Hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! Thanks again for reading!

Ashley