Plan and host the ultimate backyard party with these cookout essentials. You are sure to be the talk of the block after your next cookout.
The American tradition of backyard barbecues started in the early 1800s with the colonists who made their home in Virginia. Back then, they simply gathered to smoke mass amounts of meat.
From there, the practice took off like wildfire, eventually morphing into the cookouts we so frequently enjoy today.
And, while it’s certainly an American tradition to throw a barbecue, you might not know what you need to throw this type of backyard party. But you want your gathering to be a good one — it’s for your family, after all.
Here are all the cookout essentials you’ll need.
1. Grilling Equipment
Firstly, you need the apparatuses required to grill out in your backyard. This step begins with investing in a grill. If you don’t already have one, compare the brands within your price range. It always helps to look at reviews to compare Z Grills vs Traeger-brand grills, for example. Next, pick up the supplies you’ll need to cook over an open flame. You’ll typically need the following:
- Heat-proof glove
- Grill fork
- Aluminum foil
If your grill runs on charcoal or gas, make sure you have enough before the get-together.
2. Enough Food to Feed Everyone
The food will be the centerpiece of your barbecue. So, come up with your cookout menu, and make sure you have more than enough food for everyone. Let’s say you’re hosting between 20 and 30 family members at your backyard barbecue. For a group that size, you should have enough to make 35 hamburgers and 40 hotdogs.
Of course, cookout menus don’t start and end with what comes off of the grill. You’ll probably want to whip up a few sides, as well as a dessert to top off the food fest. Classic cookout extras include coleslaw, potato salad, chips-and-dips, and more. If you want to make food prep easier on yourself, you can ask guests to supply the sides.
The same goes for desserts. Maybe your family members will want to bring their famous or favorite baked goods. Or, you could go for something simple like s’mores, cookies, or a few pre-made pies. Your food shopping list should also include the fixings for whatever barbecue dish you’ll serve. So, for example, if you’re making burgers, grab onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles so everyone can dress their buns.
3. Drinks Aplenty
The only thing as important as your food menu is what you’ll have to drink. For a family-friendly cookout, you have to think about what both the kids and the grown-ups will drink. The former will be happy with something simple and sweet. You can whip up a big batch of lemonade or fruit punch, for example, and the kids will be satisfied.
The adults might need a little more variety than that. Bring in non-alcoholic options such as soda. But you should also stock up on beer, wine, and any cocktail-making ingredients you’ll need. And, if you don’t have enough cups in your pantry for everyone, pick up some disposable cups. Pick up a bag of ice, too, if your fridge doesn’t have an automatic icemaker.
4. Barbecue Sauce and Other Condiments
Now, your menu will decide whether or not this step is a necessity. But if you’re grilling up pork or steak, for example, your barbecue won’t be complete without a few batches of barbecue sauce. There will always be debate as to which type of barbecue sauce is the best. In the end, it’s up to you if your party will have a batch of the tomato- or vinegar-based variety. Of course, you could swing for both. Don’t forget to pick up the rest of the must-have barbecue condiments, either. Your list should include, at least:
- Hot sauce
You can always buy pre-made barbecue sauce, too.
5. Chairs and Tables
Your large family will need places to eat, sit, and relax during your backyard cookout. You probably don’t want to invest in enough backyard chairs to seat 20 people. However, you should try and get a temporary set of seats for everyone. You might rent or borrow folding chairs for the occasion.
On top of that, look at the tables and other surfaces available to you in the backyard. You’ll need places to put all of the food, as well as spots where people can eat and rest their drinks. Again, investing in multiple outdoor tables might be out of the question. But buying a cost-effective folding table to pull out for future family gatherings isn’t a bad idea.
6. Games and Entertainment
Chances are, there will be kids at your family barbecue. And, although the grown-ups will have no trouble entertaining themselves with food, drinks, and chit-chat, the kids might need a bit more stimulation.
So, prepare a few barbecue-ready games to make sure everyone can have fun at your party.
An easy idea would be picking up a piñata. Or, you could play classic barbecue games, such as the three-legged race, wheelbarrow race, or egg or water balloon toss. You never know — kids might not be the only ones interested in playing such games. You might just start a new family tradition by organizing a few outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy.
Planning for your backyard barbecue begins here. List the cookout essentials you’ll need to feed and entertain everyone. With that, you’re well on your way to throwing a successful party for your family — one that they won’t forget.