How to plan the perfect bbq garden party

Having a BBQ can be great fun and is always a good excuse to gather friends and family round for a social get-together. They are not, though, always that easy to arrange and cater – depending on the numbers involved, they can mean a lot of time and work.

Planning your BBQ beforehand will go a long way to ensure a smooth, enjoyable and stress-free event for both yourself and your attending guests!

Here are a few pointers to consider when planning your next BBQ event:

1. Choose the right day

Never an easy thing to do – especially here in the UK!

Ideally, BBQ’s are best held outdoors and in sunny weather – but, to plan that in advance is a precarious task. Make provisions that, if the worst comes to the worst, and the weather is unkind to you on the arranged day, that there is some provision to either cook under shelter, or an indoor alternative is available.

2. Plan your guest list

Consider the people you’re inviting – if it’s a mix of friends and family, or people from different groups within your lifestyle, think about the compatibilities and social aspects of the event.

If you’re cooking for a large part of the time, consider who will be the ‘bridge’ between the different factions. Worth considering, also, before you go mad and invite the world and his dog, that YOU are catering for everyone – think about the numbers and the amount of food and work involved!

3. Plan the menu

Again, consider the people you’ve invited. With the ever-increasing number of people choosing to be vegetarian or vegan, along with potential food allergy-sufferers, plan the food you’ll be serving and ensure that all the invited guests are catered for.

Consider whether there will be children there and what different foodstuffs may be relevant for them. Finally, ensure there is enough of everything – there is nothing worse than inviting people round then running out of food and/or drink!

4. Prepare dishes the day before

Any dishes that can be prepared prior to the actual cooking event should be done earlier in the day – or even the night before, if feasible. Items such as side dishes or accompanying salads and fruits can be prepared and ready beforehand, freeing up your time to concentrate on the dishes that need to be cooked ‘live’ at the BBQ.

5. Supervising The BBQ

Ensure that someone (if not doing it yourself!) is nominated as ‘supervisor’ for the BBQ at all times. A lit barbeque should never be left unattended – especially if there are children present at the event.

6. Lay it out

The dishes that aren’t coming straight from the BBQ should be laid out somewhere accessible and away from the cooking area – that way people can be helping themselves to any accompanying dishes, or alternative foodstuffs, whilst not crowding the cooking area.

7. Plan your food flow

Try to ‘stagger’ the grilled dishes, perhaps intersperse them with pre-made dishes, to ensure that there is always some food being made available to guests, rather than everyone standing around waiting for food stuffs to be cooked.

8. Finish strong

People will always remember what they ate last – especially if it was good!

Finally… Enjoy it!