With summer heating up, you’ll soon be ramping up the sweet sensation of BBQ season! Time to clean up the grill and refresh your patio because the wait is finally over. To host the best cookouts on the block, here are some tricks to make the most of National BBQ Month.
Set-Up for Grilling Season
Having a properly functional grill by your side is important to get the most out of barbecue season. Although grill covers work best to protect your appliance all year long, once they come off, there are a few more touches of preparation to consider before throwing those delicious skews on the flame.
- Clean the Grill: Using a wire brush and specialized cleaner, scrub off the grates and wipe down exteriors to get rid of leftover residue from the previous season.
- Examine Lines and other Elements: Closely inspect the lines and each element ahead of the season. Look for torn or ripped parts to ensure that they are properly functional.
- Check for Leaks & Heat: Test your grill for any leaks of gas or heat. In the case of gas grills, an odor similar to rotten eggs is a clear indication of a gas leak. If your tank is getting empty more quickly than normal, it is a surefire sign of gas leakage.
- Stock Fuel Levels: Check and replenish propane or charcoal supply as
- Weatherproof Your Yard: Prepare for any unpredictable weather Mother Nature could throw at you. Take out your pergola covers and sheath your furniture with outdoor cushions and pillow covers, in case of heavy downpour or storm.
Get the Most Out of Your Patio During Cookouts
Get creative with your backyard BBQ by transforming your yard into a trendy alfresco paradise. From boho to modern, select a theme to give unique character to your patio ahead of the grilling season. Designate an entertainment space on the porch by arranging patio furniture around a TV, firepit, or table.
Place your dining table outdoors and have enough accent tables for drinks and snacks. Swapping out small accessories like custom covers, accentuating furniture, and flower arrangements can subtly upgrade your outdoor space with customized color combinations.
Light Up Your Outdoors
Invest in a mix of landscape lightning to keep your cookout going after the sun goes down. Brighten your walkways with in-ground or post lights or simply hang string lights over the dinner table to add a festive fervor. To lend a mystic appeal to your porch, candles can prove to be the most elegant and affordable option. Utilize them in lanterns, glass votives, and candelabras for early evening lighting.
Up Your Side Game
With all the indulgent grilled meats and sweet treats on the table, it’s the amazing assortment of sides that gets everyone fired up about the feast. Up your side game with these quick recipes:
- Red Potato Salad: The savory combination of potato with cream is anything but boring! The mayo-based potato salad is loaded with fun mix-ins like chunks of crispy bacon, fresh dill, and crunchy celery.
- Peach Burrata Caprese Salad: Give a palatable twist to the classic Caprese salad by swapping juicy tomatoes for plump summer peaches and sliced fresh mozzarella with burrata. Top it up with fragrant basil and candied pecans. Remember to drizzle it with some honey to make this sweet & savory side.
- Summer Panzanella: Nothing tastes like summer better than Panzanella. Grill the bread, zucchini, and onion until charred. Rub garlic on both sides of the bread and cut into small cubes. Slice zucchini and chop onion, then toss everything in a bowl. Add vinegar and oil as you whisk bread cubes, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil together. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and a drizzle of balsamic glaze before serving.
- Corn Salsa: Looking for something zesty, fresh, and a little bit spicy for a backyard cookout? Corn salsa is your perfect answer. In a large bowl, add grilled corn, minced roasted peppers, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño peppers. Season to taste with salt and pepper and lemon and lime juice.
Lawn Games for Your BBQ Party
Successful BBQ parties are more than just good food and drinks. Lawn games are a surefire hit to heighten the fun in the sun and in between bites (or sips). In addition to the classic standbys like cornhole and horseshoes, try these outdoor activities:
- Scavenger Hunt: To keep the little ones and the guests who are kids at heart occupied while you are busy at the grill, a scavenger hunt is the way to go. Compile some simple items and more unique outdoor treasures, with a limit of around ten finds.
- The Water Zone: With the weather warming up, a friendly water balloon fight not only keeps your guests cool but gets their adrenaline pumping. You can also use the spigot in your backyard to turn your backyard into a splash zone. Use high-tech water pistols and get your guests ready for an action-packed competition.
- Slip-Sliding Away: Give your lawn a DIY backyard water slide using custom tarps, a garden hose, and dish soap. Protect your outdoor accessories from getting wet with custom covers.
Invest in a Firepit with a Grill Grate
Gift yourself a fire pit with a grill grate to save space and reap the benefits of both in one.
For some outdoor cheer, have your friends and family sit around your fire pit and grill veggies, burgers, and steaks in a roaring blaze. Create a unique, memorable event by establishing your party’s vibe, menu, and music.
Perfect Summer Libations
For the best backyard cookout on the block, serve your guests refreshing beverages. Think outside the cooler and embrace unconventional, yet thirst-quenching options for your guests to indulge in. Include a variety of seasonal offerings from a local brewery that pair well with your food.
To let your guests explore options on their own, set up cocktail-style tasting stations. Offer sample sizes of each with a unique food pairing, so they can relax and enjoy these inventive companions.
Beyond Hamburgers, Hotdogs, and Steaks
Classic burgers, ribs, pulled pork, and hot dogs have always been crowd-pleasers. This season, keep your cookout fresh with unique flavors embodying the spirit of summer. Instead of playing it safe with traditional barbecue sauces and recipes, opt for dishes that are less common but just as delicious.
Create your unique barbecue menu by including seafood and vegetable-based meals for the main course. Salmon, tuna, and even shrimp fare well on the grill and leave you with a plethora of other culinary choices to pull from. For a veg cookout, opt for heartier veggies that offer a strong flavor like squash, bell peppers, asparagus, and eggplants.