Throwing the perfect BBQ and summer shindig is not easy because we can’t promise you great weather…
…But what we CAN promise you is grass-covered sausages that have rolled off the edge of the grill, and burgers that are under-cooked on one side, but as hard as an oak floorboard on the other. Yes, welcome to the traditional British BBQ!
There is definitely room for improvement, so we’ve put together some cool ideas for your hot summer BBQ…
A fun idea is to theme your BBQ. For example, call it a 1980’s BBQ and ask guests to dust down their old Madonna outfits. With 80’s music, you’ll have a fabulous retro day. And ask guests to bring in their old photos of themselves. Or how about a celebrity fancy dress, country and western or beach party? Or even a moustache party? Before you know it, you’ll have lots of laughs and chatter. So be creative to entertain your guests. These are all good ideas for a successful BBQ party.
Try and look beyond burgers and sausages. Of course, burgers and sausages are an important part of the menu, but there is so much more available. How about going up-market and having some fish or other seafood? Add another dimension by slow-cooking food throughout the day, to add to your BBQ selection. If your BBQ is themed, then make sure your menu suits the style. When cooking your amazing food, make sure you use a reliable BBQ unit, such as the one’s by Vida or other leading brands. You can purchase some great, cost-effective BBQ units while enable you to spend more on the treats.
For those throwing the boat out and having steaks, then it is important that you let them rest once cooked for 10-15 minutes. Tent the steaks in foil while you wait for the juicy, tender results.
Try to make your salad offering more than a token gesture. There are sumptuous salads available, and make sure you have a selection of delightful dressings to give yours that extra something.
Vegetarian and gluten free
Always have a veggie option. And don’t just plonk those veggie burgers anywhere on the grill, be responsible and make sure they have their own designated cooking area.
It’s important to know your food, as many people have different dietary requirements. Make sure you know what is vegetarian, what is vegan and what is gluten free. Then accurately label things and keep them separate where appropriate. By catering for different people, you’ll be ensuring extremely happy guests, and keeping everyone safe.
Desserts are fast becoming the star of the British BBQ – old favourites like Grandma’s sherry trifle will always be popular, but homemade cakes are also moving up to star billing. Again, veggie, vegan and gluten free options need to be represented.
Beer and wine are pretty much expected, but also make sure you have drinks for the kids, and those not venturing into alcoholic territory. Fruit cocktails add a touch of class. And if you are geared up to make smoothies then you’ll be adored. Hot drinks such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate will also be appreciated.
Is the grill hot enough?
If using charcoal, a simple method is to hold your hand out over the coals and count “one-and-two-and…” If you can feel heat during; ‘one-and-two’ then it’s hot enough to cook, ‘three and four’ is medium, and ‘5 and 6’ is not warm enough. That’s the easiest way of working it out.
Remember that if you’re having food, then you’ll need cutlery – recycleable items are good, cardboard plates etc, serviettes, kitchen roll…
But food is always a mainstay of a BBQ – how do you make the BBQ GREAT? Well, there are several areas that easily overlooked;
This is perhaps the most important thing if you are going for BBQ gold. To create atmosphere, you need music. You don’t need to hire a band, but make sure you have a decent music system on hand with a couple of good speakers. Of course, if you’re having music, then you need to make sure your neighbours are aware. And make sure the music is not offensive or anti-social.
Along with music, it’s important to get people involved in the action, and some fun games will also make your BBQ memorable. If you have an area of lawn, then Badminton or ball games are good, or even a few card games help get people talking to each other.
Additional ideas such as having a popcorn maker for the kids, is also great fun!
Try and make sure that there is a sheltered area if it rains. A gazebo is perfect and easy to set up. If your BBQ is going to go on well into the evening, then think about outdoor lighting. It can be inexpensive and make a big difference.
It’s impossible to predict the weather, so be prepared for any eventuality. Have a plastic sheet or two, ready to cover food and make sure electrical items and leads are under shelter.
Do you invite your annoying neighbours, and what about Uncle Barry who usually arrives drunk? Think carefully about who you invite, as this can make the difference between a ‘BBQ’ and a ‘GREAT BBQ’.
As the host, it is important that you are a social butterfly and mingle with your guests. Sometimes there are guests who don’t know anyone else, so introduce people to each other and encourage everyone to take part in the entertainment.
Make sure you have a clean, working BBQ, Be safety conscious: Don’t have cables and leads lying round where people can trip on them. Be careful when grilling – if anything catches fire, immediately turn-off the gas supply and make sure you have either a fire extinguisher or safety equipment around.
End of the BBQ
If you’ve taken in some of the ideas here, all you need to do at the end of your BBQ is do a victory lap of the garden while trying not to slip on a rogue sausage. Success is yours on a plate – or off it, as the case may be.