It looks like the weather is on your side today. Finally! The forecast shows sunshine and warmth. This has you thinking how nice it would be to throw a barbecue for some friends later. Only problem is, you didn’t plan for one. Not to worry, I have some super simple summer BBQ tips to totally make it look like you got this. Which you do.
Listen, this is your friendly reminder that impromptu parties can be a lot of fun! Afterall, what is summer without a few spontaneous gatherings?
Get the creative juices flowing!
For this to truly work, you might need to make some spontaneous split decisions in how you approach each step based on your party situation. These steps are only guidelines and should be adjusted according to each party. Oh, and one last thing before we dive into my six steps:
Keep it simple, tackle the basics, and most importantly…have fun with it!
Step #1: Pick the time
When do you want guests to arrive? Do you want them out by a certain time? You’ll want to include a time range in the invite if that’s the case (example: 5:00-9:00pm).
Step #2: Divide and Conquer
This is my personal favorite step. Decide what it is you won’t be responsible for doing today. This is where you let others help you by making this BBQ a potluck. When you invite each guest, kindly ask if they could bring an appetizer, side dish, or dessert. Assure them you’ll have the main dish and drinks covered (if that’s what you choose).
Now, what about the set-up? Get the family or the ones you live with to lend a hand by setting out plates, utensils, cups, and serving-ware. Have someone get the backyard set by cleaning table surfaces, setting out chairs, grabbing the coolers, and stringing up any lights you may have.
As for the grill, if you know someone (such as your hubby or a guest planning on attending) that enjoys grilling, allow them the honor of being tonight’s grill master!
Step #3: Invite Friends
Who is attending? If you haven’t already, reach out and invite your guests via text or phone call. Be sure to mention that it will be a potluck and ask if they could bring “x” dish! To ensure all bases are covered, ask the guests to bring a dish in a specific category, while being sure to cover all the categories between your guests (except for the main dish & drinks if that’s what you will be providing). For instance, the first guest could be asked to bring an appetizer. The second guest could bring a side dish and the third guest could bring a dessert, and so on until all guests have been contacted.
After extending an invite to your potential guests, make sure you count the number of people you are expecting to have. This will help you determine how much food and drink to serve.
Step #4: Decide on the food: Grilled or Not Grilled?
First things first. Rummage through your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Got anything that could be turned into something? Maybe some frozen chicken or burgers, fresh veggies, or a bag of unopened chips in the pantry? Use it up!
Next comes the store run. Decide if you want to serve grill food or not. If you don’t feel like grilling today, I highly (emphasis on highly) recommend grabbing a few packages of this premade Jack Daniels BBQ pulled pork at a store near you. Seriously, it’s my favorite go-to BBQ pulled pork. It’s on the sweeter side which is how I prefer mine, but it still has that smoky tangy southern taste to it. Don’t forget to grab some buns to serve it on too.
When I’m in a pinch to host a last-minute shin-dig, Jack Daniels pulled pork saves the day. Since it only needs to be heated up, it can be plopped in the crockpot right before company comes (it’s already cooked so it doesn’t need to be in there long). I’m telling you, it will be a hit! Your guests will be excited to eat the moment they walk in and smell it.
If you have the time and want to serve your main dish off the grill (afterall, it is a barbecue) then here’s some classic and fun ideas you can toy with:
- BBQ Chicken
- BBQ Baby Back Ribs
- Hotdogs (great for if your guests have kiddos!)
- Burgers (duh)
- Teriyaki Chicken and pineapple skewers
- Steak fajita skewers (use fresh fajita veggies!)
- Italian Sausages
- Grilled chicken caesar skewers (like these, and try serving them in lettuce boats instead)
- Grilled shrimp, chicken, or steak skewers with a build-your-own taco bar
Step #5: Prepare the drinks
For the men, it’s simple. They’re happy cracking open a cold one (or 6). If you have 10 beer drinkers attending, a good guesstimate is to have 5 six packs ready. For the ladies, I would recommend a quick drink that can be served blended or over ice. Besides the alcoholic drinks, two to three pitchers of lemonade or iced tea will be the best options for quenching that summertime thirst.
Step #6: Bring out the games & entertainment!
Set-up some games in the backyard if you have any, such as bags, badminton, or even a spare football to be thrown around. If you don’t have any backyard games or don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up something like a badminton net, bring out some card and board games from the house. If you have a table long enough for beer pong, you could set up a game of that too. The boys always love that one. Get creative here and use what you got!
My biggest piece of advice here is don’t go overboard with the games and entertainment. A lot of guests are happy getting to kick back, relax, and chat the night away with some fantastic company!
Bonus: One last tip!
Decor tip: As long as rain doesn’t make an unexpected appearance at your party, set out some throw pillows, blankets, or cushions on any chairs or patio furniture you have. This will add a comfy and cozy look to your barbecue. Plus, as the night goes on and the temps get cooler, guests will love the availability of a warm blanket to snuggle up under.
How do you prepare for a quick backyard barbecue? Got any tips to share with us? We want to hear them!