Things to Considering When Hosting a Summer Barbecue

Summers are filled with barbecues with friends and family. With the upcoming long weekend, it’s now your turn to host a backyard barbeque. What do you do?

quasi-summer gathering 1

Photo: Takumi Yoshida on Flickr

The beauty of barbecues are their flexibility. Whether or not you decide to do it like a potluck, where everyone brings an item for the barbecue to share, or if you put together a grilled menu, there are things to consider when trying to achieve a balanced meal.

Most people will immediately think of the different meat options: hot dogs, hamburgers, pork chops, skewers, and steaks.

The key to a good barbecue party is to think beyond the meat and to offer guests a variety of options beyond the grill.

Finger Food and Appetizers

Start off with some finger food as your guests arrive. One or two bite items that guests can pick up to eat as they mingle with one another. Meanwhile, start heating up the grill.

Caprese Garlic Bread

Photo: Maria & Josh / Two Peas & Their Pod

Photo: Maria & Josh / Two Peas & Their Pod

No grilling party is complete without some garlic bread – hot and buttery from the grill. Dress it up with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and you have yourself a tasty alternative.

Polenta Fries

A starch more commonly associated with winter, try making some polenta fries to start your cookout party with. It is a healthy alternative to potato chips, rich in vitamins and minerals. You can make them ahead of time, but then you might eat them all.

Crostini Bar

Set up a bar with various crostini toppings and have toasted bread available. Guests can make their own combinations. Some great toppings are tomatoes, cheeses slices or spreadable ones like ricotta or whipped feta, mushrooms, peaches, prosciutto, and various types of fresh herbs. Or you could have prepared crostinis like this peach and whipped feta crostini or prosciutto, brie and jalapeno tangerine jam.

Fruits & Vegetables

Watermelon is staple at barbecues. Have one on hand or ask a guest to bring one. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try a couple slices on the grill. Or mix up a variety of summer fruits for a juicy fruit salad.

Fruit salad

Photo: Lisa Clarke on Flickr

We’ve talked about great vegetable side dishes to accompany you cookout, but don’t forget that you can throw them on the grill too. Cut up the vegetables into same sized pieces and cook similar vegetables together for even cooking times.


Nothing ends a summer get together better than something sweet and ideally icy cold.

Chocolate Hazelnut No-Bake Cake

Photo: Gemma Lush / Lush Loves

Photo: Gemma Lush / Lush Loves

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too. This no-bake cake is filled with the flavors of summer. It’s hard to believe that you don’t need to turn on the oven for this decadent cake!

Boozy Ice Pops

Who doesn’t love wine? What about wine in popsicle form? These Pinot Noir Blackberry and Sauvignon-Blanc Peach and Vanilla popsicles are just the thing to end a perfect grilling session.

Ice Cream Party

For bigger parties, keep it simple and let your guests do all the work. Use your favorite vanilla ice cream and have different toppings for them to create their own unique dessert.

The Setting

Set out enough seats for all your guests. If it is a large party, offer seating inside and outside so that guests can choose where they’re more comfortable. Or spread out a large blanket and let guests lounge on the grass. Have lanterns and lights strung up for evening gatherings and used them as needed with the dwindling light.

summer green

Photo: Greenleaf on Flickr

If you’re serving food that have a number of accompaniments, like burgers, you can put condiments into a muffin tin for easy serving and clean up.

It’s also good to have on hand extra bug spray and sunscreen for your guests in case they forget to put it on or bring with them. No one likes to get bitten by mosquitoes or be sunburned!

With these recipes and tips, we hope you have a fantastic summer gathering with your friends and family. Happy long weekend!

What are your favorite foods to entertain with? Any tips and tricks to being the host?

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