Hosting The Perfect Barbecue Party

May is finally here, which means the start of long weekends and backyard barbecue bashes. Whether you like a large gathering on a sunny Saturday afternoon (that inevitably carries on into the night) or a small summery soiree with a few friends or family members, hosting a backyard get together can cause some stress. But it doesn't have to.


Here are some tips and things to consider when planning and hosting the perfect barbecue party. Stay cool as a cucumber while you fire up the grill!

Hosting The Perfect Backyard Barbecue


Tips For Hosting A Barbecue Bash

First Things First - The Invites

Whether you're inviting guests by email, text, a phone call or through Facebook make sure you're giving them all the details. 

Squirrel Barbecue Invitation

  • Make sure to give people at least a few days notice if you expect a resounding RSVP of yeses.  
  • Let your guests know when you will be serving the food so that you're less likely to get stragglers and don't have to fire up the barbecue a second time
  • Include an 'in case of rain' back up plan (and be prepared to use it)
  • Advise your barbecue buddies on anything they need to bring with them - an extra chair, a side dish, their own beverages etc.


Setting The Scene

Small tweaks to your backyard space can make a huge difference. You know, things like being able to see where your food is or not having to fight off bugs. 

Hosting a Backyard barbecue party

  • Adding some string lights along the railings of your deck can keep people from taking a tumble down your stairs
  • A lantern in the middle of the table can set the mood but also makes it easier to see who's passing you the mustard. 
  • Set up a garbage and recycling area - away from the table, please! - where your guests can empty their plates and place their empty cans or bottles.
  • Make sure to get rid of any standing water and have some insect repellent or citronella candles handy.
  • Music always adds life to a party but here are a few tips for your rockin' barbecue party:
    • Keep it down - no one enjoys yelling across the table to try and talk over the music. It should be loud enough to be enjoyed when everyone's mouths are stuffed but quiet enough that your neighbours aren't calling the cops and your guests can chat.
    • Song selection - make sure to choose a variety of music that most people will enjoy. You may love to rock out but listening to Metallica while eating isn't the most relaxing thing.
    • Make a Playlist - Plan for about 5 hours of music. If someone realizes that they've heard the same song twice, they probably need to have another drink.
  • Lawn games - like corn hole, horse balls, and bocce are great for keeping your guests occupied while you cook the food. (Also a great ice breaker if you're combining groups of friends who may not know each other.)


The important stuff - The food!

It's a no brainer that good food is the bread and butter - see what we did there - of any great backyard barbecue gathering. Planning a simple, delicious meal is the key ingredient for success!

Table full of barbecued foods at bbq party

  • Know your audience - If your friends aren't adventurous with food, making obscure dishes will not guarantee success. Unless success is determined by you getting to eat all of the food...
  • Make sure you have enough propane or charcoal handy if you're not using a natural gas barbecue. You will have lots of hangry friends if you run out before all of the food is made. 
  • Tried and true recipes are the best thing to serve your guests. Making a brand new recipe you found online for the first time is not recommended. Unless it was found on our website of course... 
  • Put together a menu whether it be mentally or on paper. This will help you when you're shopping for food, letting people know what to bring and preparing all of the food. 
  • Prepare any food you can in advance. If you're making kabobs, cut the meat and vegetables up overnight and put them in a freezer bag with the marinade overnight. It may even taste better! 


Keep Your Cool - Drink Storage and Serving
  • Providing a cooler (or coolers) and outdoor fridges for your guests to keep their drinks in will keep people outside instead of traipsing through your kitchen every time their drink runs low.

Ladies drinking wine with weber barbecue at bbq party

  • If you have the space, buy the ice the night before and store it in your deep freezer until your guests arrive. Don't have the space? Get a friend to pick up a few bags as their 'potluck contribution'.
  • A great host always has water for the taking. Whether you buy individual bottles or put out pitchers, keeping your guests hydrated keeps the party fun. You do like fun, right?
  • If you're providing pop or juice for mixed drinks, use cans instead of bottles to keep pop from going flat or the caps going missing.
  • If you're providing drinks for your guests apparently 1.5 drinks per guest is a 'good guideline' but you should probably pick up more, you know just in case.
  • Shatterproof drinkware is perfect for giving your party an upgrade from red Solo cups without breaking out the good dishes

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