Hosting a great BBQ is twice as grand as attending one, because you get to eat, have fun <em>and</em> receive compliments on your awesomeness – but only if you’re doin’ it right.
And, that can get tricky once the head count reaches double digits. Sure, you can wing it and hope for the best, or you can use these 10 tips to pave the way to BBQ hosting brilliance.
<strong>1. Plan ahead.</strong>
Every great BBQ that was ever hosted started with a plan, except for that spontaneous clambake on the beach in Nantucket back in ’82.
The point is this: Don’t leave your success up to chance and the fickle graces of New England dune dwellers. Plan your menu, check your propane levels, make a list for shopping <em>and</em> for guests, and only then may you prepare for greatness.
<strong>2. Keep it simple.</strong>
If you’re grilling solo for the masses, focus on your long game. Thin-patty burgers, hot dogs and sausages are your saviors when the crowd gets thick. If you’ve done your prep and you know a thing or two, then kabobs and rib racks are also a good way to mix things up.
<strong>3. Keep your “drink station” in a hog trough.</strong>
Craft cocktails are not your concern when you’re the only one behind the grill. Keep cans on ice in a cooler and invite people to serve themselves.
<strong>4. Label your rubbish and recycling bins.</strong>
Don’t let trash pile up. Encourage your guests to dispose of waste in the labeled bins provided.
<strong>5. Make a tableware / self-serve station.</strong>
A solo griller should always – <em>always</em> – be prepared to dish and dine while working the coals, but things will be easier if you have a serving space to put cooked fare and tableware so guests can serve themselves while you flip, sizzle and season.
<strong>6. Use a dish tub.</strong>
You’ve seen these at restaurants that ask you to bus your own table. Fill one with a couple inches of hot, soapy water and invite your guests to place their dirty dishes in it. When you have a lull in the action, whisk them inside, spritz them down and return them to your tableware station.
Paper plates and plastic forks, you say? Well … just remember to recycle.
<strong>7. Have a good BBQ playlist.</strong>
Hungry people don’t want to wait for their weenies while you flip through your Jimmy Buffet collection in search of “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Have it ready to go and remember: Your first and only true responsibility is to make the food, and make it good.
<strong>8. Always stow a spare.</strong>
Whether it’s a spare bag of charcoal or a spare tank of propane, you want to be prepared in the event of a flameout. Nothing shuts down a BBQ quicker than you sheepishly declaring, “We can just finish the rest on the stove.”
Unh-unh. That’s not how it works.
<strong>9. Don’t forget the vegetarians.</strong>
This should go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway because a BBQ can be a sad, lonely, hungry place for a vegetarian when the host isn’t more circumspect about people’s dietary preferences.
There are lots of <a title="How to Grill Healthy Foods" href="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/ourblog/how-to-grill-healthy-foods/" target="_blank">fruits and veggies that taste great off the grill</a>, but also keep the sides in mind: salad, bread, cheeses, desserts, etc.
<strong>10. Have fun!</strong>
This is perhaps the most important tip of all, because as the host you are responsible for setting the tone of the affair. If you’re not having a good time, your guests definitely won’t have a good time. So, what’s the trick?
Following the other nine tips so you have nothing to worry about as you throw the greatest BBQ the block has ever seen. Enjoy!