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Tips for Hosting the Ultimate Backyard BBQ

Hosting the ultimate backyard BBQ doesn't need to be labor intensive or overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to host the ultimate cookout. With a little bit of planning, hosting a summer gathering can be stress-free—and fun!


Set a menu. Determine if the gathering will feature grilled food that is classic, holiday focused, or based on a specific flavor profile.

Assign friends a dish to bring, such as a green salad or chopped grilled veggies, which can be thrown on the grill and paired with other items on the menu.

Ask the non-cooks in the group to bring chips and salsa, adult beverages or dessert.

Mow the grass, clean the grill and assemble patio furniture in an arrangement that encourages socializing.

Remember to put out bug spray and citronella candles.

Store disposable entertaining items—forks, tablecloths and napkins—in one location that is quick and easy to access.

Prepare the majority of food beforehand, allowing more time to relax with guests, rather than frantically adding finishing touches as they arrive.

Assign a designated griller per course (appetizer, entrée and dessert) so that one person is not stuck grilling the entire night.

Prepare the ultimate music playlist to create a fun, lively mood and encourage dancing.


Apologize if the house is messy. Clean the areas guests will see and hide cluttered areas behind closed doors. Guests won’t notice a tiny mess inside the house—unless you bring it to their attention.

Make a dish for the first time when entertaining. Parties are not the time to attempt fancy new recipes. While guests may appreciate your efforts, they don’t want to be guinea pigs.

Prepare overcomplicated dishes that will take away from time spent with friends. Choose recipes you are comfortable fixing, to feel confident and stress free.

Don't let your friends wander into the living room to watch TV—the ultimate party killer, because it encourages sitting, not talking and dancing!


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