How to Plan the Summer’s Best BBQ

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Summer is the season for BBQs. Invite family and friends over, put some burgers on the grill, listen to music, and unwind on the weekend for a party that you won’t soon forget.


When it comes to BBQs, a lot more goes into them than serving up a few burgers and setting up some folding chairs. A lot goes on behind the scenes to make BBQs truly successful — but by figuring out exactly what you need to do beforehand, the process can be smooth sailing.


When planning your party, keep in mind every aspect that goes into it. Once it’s laid out properly, you’re all set to host the best BBQ on the block.


Here are some steps to follow as you prepare:


Step 1: Focus on Food


At every BBQ, most guests come and stay for the food. It’s one of the most important parts of almost any party, especially a BBQ!


Start by thinking of what foods you’re looking to cook. Try to mix some tried-and-true BBQ foods with interesting, personal twists. Spice something up with a new seasoning, or experiment with different flavor combinations, but always keep in mind the staples that everyone wants at a BBQ:

  • Hotdogs

  • Hamburgers

  • Rolls

  • Kabobs

  • Steak (or brisket)

  • Macaroni and cheese

  • Pasta salad


From there, look up recipes or use your own family recipe. Before you start cooking, make sure you have everything you need in place to make cooking as simple, quick, and stress-free as possible — because nobody wants to be caught without an ingredient in the middle of grilling!


Consider finding some new grilling tools, like a smokeless grill, propane gas meter, or grill mat to make BBQing a breeze. Have a kitchen towel by your side too, just in case things get messy.


Make sure everyone has what they need to complement their dish. Remember your condiments (down to the salt and pepper shakers), cups for guests to drink their lemonade from, and other additions to make their meal complete.


Step 2: Set Up Seating


Your guests may have come for the food, but are you prepared for when they fill their plate and search for somewhere to post up? You’ll need plenty of places for them to sit, or they won’t be sticking around for long.


Make sure there are enough seating arrangements for all the guests you’re expecting. Segment seating into different sections so they can sit in groups. Put some outdoor couches on the yard, set up chairs on the deck, and lay out plenty of seating at the table.


Set everything up so guests can engage in conversation around the table. Chairs and tables need to be set perfectly to keep guests comfortable for hours at a time. Complement your seating areas with cushions, table covers, and even some umbrella screens to keep bugs out. You can even add an extra folding table so guests can sample snacks while they sit and talk.

Step 3: Prioritize Entertainment


Every party gets pumped up if guests are entertained. This part can seem stressful to hosts because they want everyone to have a good time, but it can be as simple as assigning a theme and playing some music.


What are you celebrating at your BBQ? When you have that answer, you can begin to form a theme. Many hosts throw BBQs for:

  • Memorial Day

  • 4th of July

  • Birthdays

  • Pool parties

  • Family gatherings


If you’re hosting a Fourth of July BBQ, have an American theme with red, white and blue decor. If you’re just having a fun gathering at night, choose a tiki or luau theme for some extra flair.


The next thing to think about is the activities. Playing a game of cornhole or softball in the yard keeps guests engaged and having fun throughout the event. If you have a pool, throw in something festive like a mermaid float so all family members can enjoy a nice swim. Let the kids enjoy feeding birds and catching butterflies outside with a net and a hummingbird ring. And of course, don’t forget the music. Have someone make a playlist that you can play on an outdoor speaker.

Step 4: Tidy Up


Most importantly, make sure your yard looks its best before guests arrive and after they leave. Make your landscape welcoming, festive, and decorative so it looks spruced up and ready to go. Trim any loose hedges, mow the lawn, and add some pops of color. And if they’re done with the right products, you can complete all of these tasks in less than a day.


Pick some weeds with help from weed grabbers and garden kneelers for added comfort. Make your grass look its greenest with lawn seed. Clean off the exterior of your home with a window cleaner, which attaches to your hose and sprays your walls and windows. You can even quickly lace your pathway with artificial geraniums or pansies for an extra touch.


Making your yard look its best is a vital part of making your guests feel at home in your space. Draw them in with an engaging landscape, decor, and some natural additions to look at and enjoy.


Bring it All Together


Once you have mouth-watering food with all the fixins, a table set up chock-full of condiments and utensils, enough cozy seating to go around, entertaining music and fun games, and a beautiful yard to boot, you’re all set to host the perfect outdoor BBQ.


This summer, you can find everything you need to host the party of the season from Harriet Carter. On the website, you’ll find cooking tools, outdoor helpers, home goods for indoors and outdoors, and decorations to bring your BBQ to life. Don’t waste time running from store to store; find everything you need from Harriet Carter so you can get to planning and hosting a one-of-a-kind party for your family and friends.


If you’re hosting a BBQ this summer, visit www.harrietcarter.com/ for some party inspiration.

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