The key to a top-notch barbecue is preparation. Although your guests won’t see the time you take assembling all the tools and setting the scene—they will certainly talk about how delicious the food was and the wonderful time they had. There are a variety of items you can choose from, but staying focused on the things that will create an environment of relaxation and fun is a great strategy. As the grill master, you’ve got enough on your plate. You can rest easy knowing you’ve got a go-to list of tools, safety, and party accessories. The below checklist is your secret weapon to pulling off the best BBQ of the season.
Choosing the Right Grill
It’s not a BBQ without the grilled meat and veggies. The first thing to decide when you’re planning your barbecue is what kind of grilling equipment you need. The grill you use will depend on the space you have, what you’ll be putting on the grill, and how many guests you expect.
If you are having an intimate gathering, a standard tabletop charcoal grill will be sufficient. However, if you’re expecting a large crowd, you may want to bring out a larger grill or several grills if you have a sous chef.
For roasting large portions of meat, a smoker can offer a rich-tasting addition to your BBQ table, and become a highlight of the gathering for guests intrigued by this wonderful machine. If you’re familiar with this advanced BBQ item, set it up in a safe location on a concrete patio or driveway, and have fun smoking whole fish, ribs, and other tasty cuts.
Tools for the grill
Now that the guests are confirmed and the grill is ready to light, it’s time to make sure you have all the right equipment. To keep the steaks fresh and the grilled corn hot, you need to have all the items to prep, cook, and serve easily accessible.
There are three areas to consider. The grill station, the serving table, and the seating and eating area.
Prepping your grill station beforehand with all the tools you need will ensure you don’t break a sweat while grilling your fan favorites. Must-have tools for the grill include:
- Tongs for handling grilling items
- Heat safe pans for items fresh from the grill
- Skewers for vegetables and bite-sized items
- Grilling gloves for hand safety
- Grilling forks for cooking on the grill
- A meat thermometer to make sure your steaks and chicken are cooked to perfection
After everyone has gathered their favorite barbecued items, they’ll need to grab their sides, drinks, and condiments. Consider having a hand washing station next to the serving table to limit foot traffic and lines to the bathroom. Napkins, toothpicks, and plenty of ice will also make sure your guests stay happy.
When your partygoers sit down to eat, extra napkins and a few essential condiments at the table are must-haves for comfort and to cut down on the mess.
Fire Safety and Outdoor Party Essentials
To create an atmosphere of fun and safety, consider the location of your party and the best place to put your grill. You want to ensure any flying embers or wayward sparks are far from flammable surfaces like grass. Having a fire extinguisher on hand is a great way to up-level your BBQ safety game.
Next to safety, your guest’s comfort is a top priority. Providing a variety of seating options such as reclining lawn chairs, picnic table-style seating, and a comfortable outdoor couch area can ensure that everyone can mingle, eat, and have intimate conversations easily. For a daytime event, umbrellas, covered seating, or an area with a shady tree can provide an extra layer of relaxation. If you plan to take the party into the evening hours; lanterns, solar-powered lamps, or string lights can set the mood for a sunset soiree.
Depending on your area, you can include insect repellents in the form of spray or electric traps. You may decide to have your gathering by a pool or lake, if so, consider providing extra towels, inflatables, and a beach ball or two to capture that pool party feel.
Fun Drinks for All Ages
Take your party to new heights when you consider elevating your beverage selection. Including fresh fruit juices will give you endless combinations of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to wow your guests. You can create colorful cocktails that all your friends enjoy, and add some flair with tiny umbrellas, or colorful paper cupcake liners and fruit toppers.
For the younger crowd, use sparkling water and fruit juice to create endless options for fizzy, sweet, yet healthy drinks. Add crazy straws, cut fruit, and colorful kid-proof cups to keep them excited about their next turn at the drink station.
The Grill is Waiting
BBQ season makes it easy to enjoy a long day of leisure. Now that you’ve gathered all the essentials, you’re ready to make magic. You can relax and enjoy the fun along with your friends and family knowing you’ve got everything covered.