Tips 'n Tricks — May 13, 2014 at 5:00 am

8 Tips for Hosting the Best Summer BBQ

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Fuse / thinkstock.com

Fuse / thinkstock.com

The sun is shining. The grill is smoking. It’s time to host an epic barbecue.

There’s no better way to entertain in the summer months than a casual get-together involving friends, burgers, and picturesque sunsets. Make your backyard barbecue party one to remember with these 8 tips.

Keep it Simple
The key to a great barbecue is to keep it casual. Don’t go overboard on the menu: focus on a few tried-and-true recipes. Think quality, not quantity. Pick one or two meat-oriented meals (burgers, steaks, or sausages are solid bets), and an easy veggie option (roasted veggie skewers are always a win). Provide fixings and a salad or two—or just go with the barbecue classic, corn-on-the-cob.

Take a Seat
You don’t need to coordinate a formal sit down affair, but do be sure to provide plenty of seating for your guests. If necessary, break out the beach chairs and camping chairs—just don’t leave your guests standing around, balancing their plate of food as they attempt to dine!

Get Groovin’
Set the atmosphere with a killer playlist, and keep the tunes going all night long (or at least until your neighbors put up a fuss). Aim to provide upbeat background music that’s loud enough to set the mood, but not so loud that guests need to shout over one another to be heard. Include a few cheesy classics: the Beach Boys, some Jimmy Buffett, and so on.

Avoid a Condiment Catastrophe
It’s nearly impossible to serve up condiments without making a huge mess—and where did the lid to the relish go? Skip the fuss and portion out condiments into the empty cups of a muffin tin.

If you’re serving a veggie platter, here’s a tip that will look good and will cut down on clean up: use hollowed out peppers instead of ramekins to serve the dip.

Stock the Bar
Don’t leave your guests high and dry: keep the cooler well stocked, and don’t forget to replenish it throughout the evening. The pros recommend assuming a 1.5 alcoholic drink per hour per guest ratio, but you know your audience best. Provide non-alcoholic options like iced tea and lemonade, and always offer water.

Above all: don’t forget the ice!

Entertain the Masses
Provide a few low-key activities for guests to partake in, if they choose. Horseshoes, bocce, and croquet are a sure bet, so put out some sets and let attendees play at their leisure. Provide sidewalk chalk for kids, and let them take care of the evening’s décor.

Bugger Off
Don’t let wasps crash your party: avoid setting out the food too early, and pack it away as you finish with it. Keep the trash far away from your guests.

Use citronella candles to ward off mosquitos—as a bonus, they’ll help create a cozy atmosphere when the sun sets.

Two Words: Sundae Bar
Remind your guests to save room for dessert, and wow them with the ultimate sundae bar. Ice cream just tastes better at the end of a sweltering day, especially when it’s covered in scrumptious toppings. Set up a topping bar and let guests customize their sundae. Avoid a literal melt-down by keeping the ice cream in the freezer until the sun has gone down.

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