Cooking out is a great way to enjoy the gorgeous outdoor weather and have an excuse to pull your friends and family members together. While the whole point of a cook out is to keep things simple, you also want to avoid overlooking the essentials that you need to make your outdoor event go smoothly. These five must-haves for a cook out will help you prepare the food while looking like the grill master that you have been working hard to become.
Get Your Tools Together
You already know that you will need at least a spatula and grill, but you will also need to add a few more items to your gathering list. For instance, you will likely need several platters that you can use to carry both raw and cooked meat on separately to avoid cross-contamination. A grill scraper and pot holders will also be useful if you are preparing sides at the same time, as well as a meat thermometer will also come in handy to make sure the meat is cooked at a proper temperature.
Choose a High-Quality Bread
A juicy hamburger patty might be the highlight of your grilling skills, but you will also need to find a foundation that is worthy of holding all of the delicious meat. Kaiser rolls are sturdier than the typical pre-packaged buns you will find in the grocery store. They will not get soggy, even with condiments, which allows your grilled meat to shine. Of course, if you are not interested in trying kaiser rolls, there should be a wide variety of options available at your local grocery store. Do not be afraid to try out new buns you have not done before, they could become a family favorite.
Put Out an Assortment of Condiments
Speaking of condiments, you will want to make sure to have the traditional ketchup, mustard, and mayo out at the serving table. Yet, your group might also enjoy having some additional options available. Setting out some aioli sauce, sriracha, and your favorite BBQ sauce will give everyone more choices for dressing up those delicious burgers. It is recommended to perhaps have a condiment bar ready in advance so your guests can add what they like while you continue grilling.
Remember to Plan Classic Sides
If you are cooking out, then the meat is likely the main highlight of the meal. But, you can use the side options to provide a vegetarian-friendly choice so that everyone can eat. Pasta salad tends to be a favorite among people who prefer meatless options. You might also include baked potato salad as an alternative to French fries that you can make ahead. Contact your guests ahead of time and make sure they are able to eat the alternatives provided if they do not eat meat.
Set Up an Outdoor-Friendly Dining Area
As a final note, you will want to plan for space for everyone to eat. Cook out dining setups do not have to be overly fancy, but you might still want to set up a few tables and chairs. Ideally, the eating area should be located far enough away from the grill for young kids to stay safe, but it should still be close enough for you to deliver your fresh platters of hot meat.
A little prep work goes a long way toward making your cook out a success. Making sure to have the freshest rolls, vegetables, and sides available lets everyone dress up their plate however they want. Once you start grilling, remember that the whole point is to have fun. Turn on some music, invite someone to assist, and get ready to dazzle your loved ones with your culinary skills.