Whether your kitchen is getting renovated or you simply want to host a summer get-together, a backyard barbecue is a great way to entertain your family and friends in a hassle-free, outdoor setting.
Keep things relaxed by cooking nutritious, no-fuss foods like potatoes and corn cobs on the barbie – you don’t have to go all-out to create a crowd-pleasing meal.
Here are 11 ways to plan an epic barbecue that everyone – including the kids – will love.
Quality over quantity
Your guests aren’t expecting a grand gourmet feast – keep things simple by sticking to the classics and cooking them well. Tried-and-tested foods like sausages, corn cobs, steak and burgers can be jazzed up simply by using the right marinade or sauce. Check out these barbeque sausage recipes if you’re looking for some inspiration to mix up the typical spread.
Fill up your cooler
That being said, don’t skimp out when it comes to drinks, especially if it will be a hot day. Providing a range of drink options such as juice, water, soft-drink and beer will ensure that no one complains they are thirsty. And don’t forget to stock up on plenty of ice!
Bring a plate
If you are on a budget, you might want to consider asking your guests to contribute a plate of food. You can allocate either a sweet or savoury meal to each guest or family. This is a great way to be introduced to new foods and encourage variety at your event.
Depending on the number of guests you’re inviting, 1-2 meat-based foods and a vegetable dish is standard. If you can’t get anyone to bring a dish, you can try cooking cheesy beef meatballs for an easy and fast way to make sure everyone is satisfied.
Check your equipment
Make sure you check that you have all the grilling equipment you need for the barbecue before the day of the gathering. This ensures that you have time to purchase anything you’re missing. You will need:
- Grill fork
- Basting brush
- Cooking oil
- Flame-resistant gloves
- Extra charcoal or gas
- Aluminium foil
- Paper towel
Crank the tunes
Music is one of the best ways to help set the mood, so make sure to prepare a crowd-friendly playlist that will last all day. Opt for upbeat or chill music that isn’t too loud – you want your guests to be able to hear it whilst still being able to hold a conversation. And is it even an Aussie barbecue without Jimmy Barnes?
Prepare your spread smartly
While it goes without saying that you should ensure you have an adequate supply of cutlery, plates and cups for your guests, something you might not have considered is your presentation of condiments. Sauces, chutneys and dips can easily end up spilled across the table (or on somebody’s shirt!); serving them in tiny, pre-portioned individual cups can help to avoid this.
Always make sure you have plenty of chairs to go around so that no one is left awkwardly standing as they try to eat their meal. You don’t necessarily need fancy tables and chairs; camping chairs or even bean bags are fine.
Ward off pests
There’s no greater killjoy than mosquitos, and they are frustratingly common in the summertime. Citronella is not as effective at keeping mozzies away in open areas as it is in areas with limited air movement, so opt for repellent instead.
Whilst music is a good start, turn your gathering up a notch by offering some family-friendly entertainment. Things like toys, a soccer ball and some chalk will provide plenty of fun for the kids, while adults might like to partake in a spot of table tennis or have a board game or poker match.
Make sure the kids are supervised
This is especially crucial if you have a swimming pool; ensure that there is always an adult watching over the children so that they are kept safe. You might want to consider hiring a baby-sitter for some extra assistance.
Don’t forget dessert
It’s hot and your guests are sticking to their seats – the solution? Ice cream! Feel free to be as basic or as extravagant with dessert as you like; no one’s going to complain if you give them an ice cream cone, but you’ll get bonus points if you set up a DIY sundae bar (replete with toppings).