Throwing The Ultimate Backyard Barbecue Bash
Jul 01, 2015 10:19AM
● By Dia
It’s your turn to throw the annual neighborhood block barbecue. Although you may not be a stranger to barbecues in the backyard, maybe you aren’t so adept at hosting events for larger groups. You can make it as simple as you want, but who doesn’t want to impress friends with the ultimate backyard barbecue bash?
We’ve hashed out the details and made it as easy as any pie you might serve up with your barbecue fare. From outdoor seating and music to what you’ll grill and serve to drink, your backyard barbecue bash will be the talk of many HOA meetings to come.
There is one more item to note before we get to the meat of the article. For the love of all things Texas, host your party in the evening. Inviting friends over to bake in your backyard is just un-neighborly.
Setting the Scene
Here are the key points to cover when creating the atmosphere for your get-together.
You know your neighbors. (It’s not like you’d be hosting this backyard party for strangers.) So you know how many of them are coming. You have a few options here to accommodate the number of guests you are expecting. One option is buying additional patio furniture. But then after the party, you’re stuck with 25 outdoor lounge chairs to store. Our suggestion is to rent additional seating or tables. Each rental facility is different, but generally, if you give them an estimate on how many people you are expecting, they can narrow down the choices for you.
What goes along with planning areas for guests to perch is how you will set the mood with decorations. First on your list of things to “decorate” with are citronella candles. Be mindful of the rain we have had over the past few months and the fact that mosquitoes might turn the tables on your get- together and feast on you. Aside from this mood lighting, hanging lanterns and strings of lights will do wonders to brighten up any evening-shaded areas. The classic red-and-white checkered tablecloths will do fine, but you can easily add a punch of panache with centerpieces that are both functional and rustic chic. Mason jars with burlap ribbon affixed to them make great holders for whatever serving and eating utensils you plan to use. Grab a small crate or two to place next to the jars for holding necessities such as napkins and condiments. Simple touches like this will take your barbecue bash from “Why are we here?” to “Wow.”
Here’s an idea that may be a little over the top, but well worth the awe factor: Hire a local band or musician. You will want to check with your HOA to see if this is allowed, and if it is, ask around for up-and-coming talent. If this option is not feasible, just make sure your playlist has a good mix of rock and pop —appropriate for young ears as well. You don’t want to be that neighbor.
But you do want to be that neighbor who treats your guests to fun and games. Backyard games such as horseshoes and washers can be rented if you don’t already own them, and they give partygoers something else to do besides eating and drinking. If conversations wane, there is nothing like a little friendly competition to liven things up again.
Part of the fun of throwing a backyard barbecue is showing off your skills as a grill master. But
first you need the right tools. Josh Worley, store director of Barbeques Galore in Grapevine, says he encourages people to stay away from big box retailers when purchasing a quality grill.
“Not because they don’t sell good products,” he says, “but when going to specialty retailers, you have the opportunity to interact more with employees who can help teach and guide you in everything outdoor.”
Besides that, doesn’t everyone want to shop local these days?
The biggest determining factor when purchasing a grill is the number of people you plan to feed. “If you’re planning on feeding 20 guests, the best grill to accommodate that size of a group would be a 32-inch grill. Most four- or five-burner grills are 32 inches,” Worley says. “The key is surface area – making sure you have plenty of space and that it gives you room to cook all the food you have planned. If you are hosting a larger group, then you should really consider one with a larger surface area.”
We know the food pyramid isn’t made up of meat, meat and more meat. Therefore if guests were not asked to bring a side dish, you’ll need to ensure they all eat their veggies. “If you are planning on grilling vegetables along with your protein,” Worley says, “then you would consider a larger grill or at least a grill with a side burner.”
Now that you’ve decided on what type of grill you’ll need based on the number of guests you’ve invited, it’s time to make the biggest decision yet for your backyard bash. What will you serve?
“If it’s a large gathering, nothing beats a good burger,” Worley says. “The reason I choose red meat is that I am very picky when it comes to chicken and how it is prepared. Chicken is a hard one to do when cooking in groups because of its need to be fully cooked.”
Your guests need something to wash down those burgers with, and choosing what beverages to serve is an easy one. You’ll want to serve a nice mix of sodas, water and iced tea, and then if it is appropriate, beer – both light and regular. Perhaps you should even include a bottle or two of white wine to chill. You’ll be able to satiate everyone’s palate.
We are confident that following these steps to hosting the ultimatebackyard barbecue bash will put you on the A-list of all your neighbors. But before getting knee-deep in details, take this sage advice from Worley: “When hosting a backyard party, always remember that it isn’t always about the food, but about the fun with friends.”