NEPA Real Estate Corner

Summer BBQ Tips & Tricks

Jun 28, 2024 | Helpful Homeowner Hints

Ahhh, summertime in Northeast Pennsylvania! Welcome to the season of sun, warmth, and backyard barbecues! There’s something special about firing up the grill, inviting over some friends, and enjoying a leisurely afternoon or evening outside. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 80% of Americans said they plan to host or attend a BBQ this summer. So, it’s time to get ready to impress your guests with your grilling skills and outdoor entertaining prowess!

As the old saying goes, “BBQ is not just a meal, it’s a lifestyle.” I couldn’t agree more. But, if you’re new to hosting backyard barbecues or just looking for some tips to up your game, we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to throw a successful outdoor gathering. From creating the right ambiance to planning the perfect menu, and even ensuring safety, we’ve got tips to help you host a memorable and safe event. So, let’s get started!

I. Set the Scene

A great BBQ is about more than just the food – it’s about creating the perfect atmosphere. According to a survey by the National Pork Board, 75% of Americans believe that the ambiance of a BBQ is just as important as the quality of the food. So, how can you set the scene for a successful backyard gathering?

Here are some tips for decorating your backyard to create a festive atmosphere:

  • Hang colorful bunting or paper lanterns to add a pop of color to your backyard.
  • Use vintage signs or chalkboards to display your menu or welcome your guests.
  • Create a DIY photo booth with props and a fun backdrop for your guests to capture memories.

Next, let’s talk lighting. A well-lit backyard can be the difference between a fun evening and a flop. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be an electrician to enhance your outdoor lighting. Here are some tips for enhancing the lighting in your backyard:

  • String lights are an affordable and easy way to create a cozy, inviting environment. Hang them along fences, trees, or across the patio to create a warm glow.
  • Set up some tiki torches or candles to add a touch of ambiance and warmth to your backyard.
  • Consider installing dimmer switches or using smart bulbs that can be controlled from your phone to adjust the brightness of your lighting as the night goes on.

And let’s not forget about the music! The right tunes can really set the mood for your backyard gathering. So, here are some tips for selecting the perfect playlist:

  • Keep your guests in mind when selecting music. Consider their age range and musical tastes to ensure everyone will enjoy the music.
  • Choose a variety of songs and genres to keep things interesting. Mix it up with some classic rock, country, pop, or whatever your guests are into.
  • Use a streaming service or create your own playlist ahead of time to avoid any awkward pauses or repetitive songs.

By taking the time to set the scene for your BBQ, you’re not only making your guests feel welcome and comfortable, but you’re also creating an experience they’ll remember for years to come. So, break out the decorations, light up the night, turn up the music, and get ready to have some fun!

II. Plan Your Menu

Now that you’ve set the scene, it’s time to plan the menu. The key to a successful BBQ is offering a variety of foods that can appeal to all guests. In fact, according to a survey by the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, the most popular foods to grill are burgers, steak, hot dogs, and chicken. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to just those options.

As celebrity chef Guy Fieri once said, “I’m all about versatility in food, and there’s no better way to do it than a barbecue.” So, why not switch things up and try some new dishes at your next BBQ? Here are some suggestions for main courses, side dishes, and desserts that can add variety to your BBQ menu:

  • Main courses: grilled shrimp skewers, marinated tofu or vegetable kebabs, pulled pork or beef brisket sandwiches, grilled pizza, or even a seafood boil.
  • Side dishes: corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, pasta or potato salad, coleslaw, or baked beans.
  • Desserts: s’mores, fruit skewers, grilled peaches with ice cream, or a classic apple or berry pie.

When planning your menu, it’s also important to take into consideration any dietary restrictions that your guests may have. Here are some tips for accommodating dietary restrictions:

  • Consider having a few vegetarian or vegan options available.
  • If you have guests with gluten allergies, be sure to provide gluten-free options.
  • Label dishes that contain nuts or other common allergens to ensure that guests with allergies are aware of the ingredients.

By offering a variety of options and accommodating dietary restrictions, you can ensure that all your guests feel included and satisfied. So, fire up the grill and get ready to serve up some delicious eats!

III. Prepare for Your Guests

With the ambiance set and the menu planned, it’s time to prepare for the arrival of your guests. Ensuring that there is ample seating and shade is crucial to creating a comfortable and inviting environment. According to a survey by the American Home Furnishings Alliance, 80% of homeowners said outdoor furniture is an important feature in their backyard space. Here are some tips for ensuring there is ample seating and shade for your guests:

  • If you don’t have enough outdoor furniture, consider renting additional chairs or tables.
  • Set up umbrellas, canopies, or awnings to provide shade from the sun.
  • Arrange seating in conversational groupings to encourage socializing.

In addition to seating and shade, setting up outdoor games or activities can add to the festive atmosphere. Here are some suggestions for games and activities that your guests can enjoy:

  • Cornhole or bean bag toss
  • Giant Jenga or Connect Four
  • Bocce ball or croquet
  • Water balloon toss or squirt gun fight
  • DIY photo booth with fun props

By providing plenty of seating, shade, and outdoor games or activities, you can ensure that your guests have a comfortable and enjoyable time at your backyard BBQ. So, prepare for their arrival and get ready to have some fun in the sun!

IV. Safety First

As much fun as a backyard BBQ can be, it’s important to ensure a safe environment for your guests. The National Fire Protection Association reports that between 2014 and 2018, an average of 10,200 home fires involved grills, hibachis, or barbecues per year, and 19,700 patients went to emergency rooms due to injuries involving grills. Here are some tips for safely operating your grill and keeping the surrounding area clear:

  • Keep the grill away from any combustible materials such as trees, decks, or patio furniture.
  • Use a grill brush to clean the grates before cooking to prevent grease buildup that can cause flare-ups.
  • Never leave the grill unattended while it’s on.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it.

In addition to grill safety, it’s also important to have a first aid kit on hand in case of emergency. Here are some items that should be included in your first aid kit:

  • Band-aids and gauze pads
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Aloe vera gel for sunburns
  • Insect repellent and bug spray
  • By ensuring a safe environment and having a first aid kit on hand, you can be prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise. So, follow these tips and enjoy a fun and safe backyard BBQ with your guests!

V. Conclusion

In conclusion, hosting a backyard BBQ can be a great way to enjoy time with loved ones and build relationships. By following the tips outlined in this post, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable outdoor entertaining experience for everyone involved.

Here are the key tips to keep in mind:

Set the scene with ambiance and music
Plan your menu with a variety of foods and accommodate dietary restrictions
Prepare for your guests with ample seating, shade, and outdoor games or activities
Ensure a safe environment with proper grill operation and a first aid kit
Whether you’re a seasoned grill master or a first-time host, there’s no better time to start planning your own backyard BBQ. So, fire up the grill, put on some music, and enjoy the company of your loved ones in the great outdoors.

Thank you for reading and happy entertaining!