This post brought to you by Bar-S Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.
Hey friends! Today we’re talking summer entertaining: barbecues. It’s the quintessential summertime get-together, isn’t it? We have a barbecue for just about every warm-weather occasion: Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, graduation celebrations, all the summer birthdays… well, you get the point. So of course you can expect that I’ve found ways to simplify and entertain, since we do it all the time. I’m going to share the tips that have served me well and take the work out of entertaining.
1. The meat is the star. We will grill Bar-S premium hot dogs and smoked sausages. Meat is the area where you can spend a fortune or keep it economical, and by picking up the premium dogs, it’s the perfect mix. To stretch your dollar even further, you can visit Bar-S Facebook, enter their 100 Day of Summer Sweepstakes for a chance to win, and pick up a Bar-S Coupon while you are there!
2. Tablecloths are your friend. It may sound like an extra step when you’re setting up, but it’s so helpful at the end of the meal to pick up the leftovers, and then just scoop up all the garbage with the tablecloth. An inexpensive plastic cloth will only set you back about $1. Plus, it adds a festive touch to the tablescape!
3. Keep things easy to grab. Consider bundling silverware with napkins so that people don’t have to get up again. (I’ll show you how to make these easy utensil holders in Monday’s post!) Make your fruits (or veggies!) easy-serve – watermelon is a classic barbecue food, and putting cut fruits onto skewers speeds up the serving line. It also adds a “wow” factor for very little extra effort. I try to limit salads to no more than one.
A jug of lemonade or iced tea (whatever your family or guests like) is easy to put out and it’s inexpensive. We also put out a tub of bottled water in a tub. We have given up trying to figure out what sodas people like, every time the crowd changes, we get it wrong – and end up with dozen of cans we don’t like. You might tell people to BYOB, but most people won’t think that applies if they don’t drink alcohol, so don’t overlook easy beverages!
4. The grill is also a social station. This is easily overlooked. My husband LOVES being the designated griller. And all the guys flock over there while the meat is on. I think this is a pretty universal truth in most families! Putting a cooler or end tables near the grill makes that male-bonding time (or female-bonding, depending) easy to enjoy. (And keeping a garbage can nearby will help with cleanup!)
5. Have easy activities for kids (okay, and grown-ups, too)! Kids get boooored when mom and dad just talk. I spent $5 on this little ring toss set, and it’s gotten HOURS of use by the kids in our family and circle of friends. A quick run through the summer games aisle wherever you shop should turn up some inexpensive outdoor options.
We also have a ladder golf set and bean bag toss. Older kids and adults like to play, too!
The biggest thing to remember when putting your BBQ together is that it’s a social event that’s supposed to be fun! That means fun for the hosts, too. Doing your prep early and keeping the day simple so you can enjoy your guests will help with that.
Not hosting? Consider offering to bring something on this list like a game, tablecloths, or chairs. Keep simplicity in mind if you’re bringing a dish to pass. Bringing something that requires refrigeration or even freezer space may be delicious, but check with your host to make sure it works for them. If you bring a salad, bring a serving spoon with it – there never seem to be enough to go around, and less will get eaten if guests have to scoop it with a plastic fork.
Cheers to the summer! What’s your best barbecue tip?