reprint from the home and lifestyle section of the neighborhood gazette, wheat ridge by jeanne nichols:
it looks as if summer has finally arrived and all the rain has given us lush backyards. it appears to be a good time for an outdoor BBQ! actually the term used should be “cook out” as many barbeque aficionado’s would only use the word barbeque if in fact that’s what one would be doing – slow cooking with more smoke than flame contact, but BBQ just seems more festive than a cook out. anyway, I digress, let’s review a few ideas that will help produce the perfect outdoor party.
the number one secret in a successful party is in the planning; who’s coming, menu preparation, how are you going to eat it and what are you going to do when you aren’t eating.
although it seems simple enough the mix of your crowd helps determine the success of your party. i know, it’s your party and you can invite whomever you want. however, certain groups and people should not be locked up in the backyard together for an afternoon or evening. also, some children should definitely not be around certain adults at a barbeque. So, choose your guests wisely.
it’s important that you include a bit of food for everyone. throwing meat on the grill doesn’t always work these days so adding a piece or two of fish, chicken and/or portabello mushrooms to the menu is always a good idea.
desert is an easy one for outdoor gatherings; watermelon, pre-made ice cream cones and “kick the can” homemade ice creams are classic favorites.
drinks are also important, hopefully it’s a glorious colorado day so keeping everyone hydrated is important. plenty of water, coolers and juices are a great way to do this, particularly if you decorate them and keep them cold. buckets of ice with drinks and fruit slices and berries added to the water dispenser can make them especially refreshing.
plenty of seating is a good idea and a quick and easy way is to add hay bales which can serve not only as seating but side tables for your friends to set their drinks and plates of food on.
don’t skimp on paper plates, the thin ones are inexpensive but I’ve found they can get soggy and floppy so you end up using a lot more than necessary – so invest in either a stronger paper, bamboo or even the new fashionable melamine pieces can be found at your local thrift stores.
make sure you have a good place for trash and recycles preferably away from the gathering area.
having plenty of activities before and after the food serving that will keep everyone interacting. some of the favorites are pinata’s, croquet, baci ball, frisbees or even a karaoke machine. our family enjoys playing a good game of kickball too.
enjoy your summer and particularly those outdoor parties, with just a bit of planning you can have a great BBQ!