Are You Ready For Barbecue Season?

Summer is finally here, and although we can’t always guarantee blue skies and sunshine, the arrival of a new season is incredibly exciting. When temperatures rise, there’s no better way of celebrating than getting friends and family together and hosting an al fresco gathering. If you’re preparing to entertain and kick off barbecue season in style, here are some hot hosting hacks. 

Planning Your Menu
When you think about barbecues, it’s easy to get carried away with burgers and hot dogs, but you don’t have to stick to the old favourites. There are so many different types of meat and vegetable dishes you can prepare on the barbecue, so why not mix up the menu and complement the classics with some tasty new delights? Before you start planning, make a guest list, and send out a text message, email or online invitation. Ask about dietary requirements and allergies to ascertain whether you need to cater for any of your guests separately. If you have friends who are vegetarian or one of the guests has a nut allergy, you may need to come up with some alternatives. Halloumi or tofu kebabs, Greek salads, and exotic couscous dishes are good choices for vegetarian guests. If somebody does have an allergy, it’s best to prepare their food separately and check the ingredients carefully. If you’ve got a lot to do before your party, make a shopping list and try and buy everything a couple of days before the event. If you’re pushed for time, and you know exactly what you want, placing an online order will save you time and effort. 

Preparing The Garden
You don’t want to host your garden gathering on an overgrown lawn or showcase flower beds full of weeds, so devote a little time to getting your garden ready before your barbecue. Take a look at sites like if your mower has seen better days, and wait for a dry day to cut the grass and trim the edges. Keep the grass short, but don’t scalp the turf, as this could slow down regrowth and result in dry patches forming. Grab some gloves and pull out weeds, wipe down your garden furniture, and give the barbecue a good clean. If the garden is looking a little sparse or drab, inject some colour with some plants and accessories. Wash the decking, give the fence panels a coat of varnish, and clear the pathways. If you have a theme for your party, you can start decorating once the lawns look the part and your decking and patio areas are clean and tidy. You could hang bunting or fairy lights, cover tables in floral or animal prints or add colourful fringing to doorways and fence panels. If you’re unsure about a theme or you need inspiration for the decor, sites like Pinterest have loads of ideas. 

Creating an Entertaining Area
If you’re having people over for a barbecue, you’ll need to provide them with a seat or some space on the floor where they can eat in comfort. If you haven’t got enough chairs or table space for everyone, set down some blankets and rugs on the floor, and scatter some floor cushions around. You can use material drapes to make the area more visually appealing and welcoming. Once you’ve got seating sorted, focus on adding atmosphere with lanterns, outdoor lights, soft furnishings, and music. Hook up some speakers outside, and make a playlist. If you want to stay outside for as long as possible, have a look at patio heaters or invest in some extra blankets for people to snuggle up as the temperature falls. If you want people to help themselves to food, set up a table close to the grill, and lay out plates, napkins, cutlery, and condiments. 

Keeping Your Guests Hydrated
When it comes to barbeques it's as much about the drink as it is the food. When you’re buying food, have a think about the kinds of drinks you want to provide on the day. If there’s a theme, for example, a Hawaiian extravaganza, you could create tropical cocktails. You could buy disposable cocktail glasses, brightly coloured umbrellas and exotic fruits and make up jugs of fruit punch. If you’re not a seasoned mixologist, you’ll find recipes and recommendations online. If you’re not going down a themed route, stock up on popular choices like beers, wine, and spirits, as well as soft drinks for children or those who don’t drink. You can keep everything cool using ice buckets. 

Cooking Tips
If you’re in charge of cooking for your guests, it’s essential to make sure that everything is prepared properly. Before you fire up the grill, make sure you’ve got enough gas or charcoal to see you through the day and give your barbecue another clean. Work out cooking times based on the ingredients you’re using. Some things will take a lot longer to cook than others. Wait for the grill to get to the right temperature before you put the meat on. You want to make sure that everything is cooked through, but you don’t want anyone eating burnt burgers or sausages. Many people like their steak or burgers served pink, but be very careful when cooking chicken. If you have guests with allergies, for example, an allergy to gluten, make sure you cook their food on a separate grill, and you use different utensils to prevent contamination. 

Barbecue season is here, and it’s time to start thinking about getting your best friends and relatives around for a good old catch up and some delicious food. If you love to entertain in the summer, and you’re thinking of hosting a party, give yourself plenty of time to think about themes, plan a menu and get your garden looking ship-shape. Make sure you’re aware of allergies or intolerances, mix up your choice of dishes and sides, and have a think about what kinds of drinks you want to serve. If you plan ahead, you can relax and enjoy the food, drink, and company on the day.