Even though the weather would show us otherwise, it’s finally beginning to look a little like summer in the Northeast! Skies are clearing up, and the sun will be shining. Then the temperature and humidity will be sweltering. During the summer months, I love spending long days at the beach. I usually go in the late morning hours on a weekday like Monday or Tuesday and leave around 3 pm. This ensures that I have a nice and peaceful experience before the sand gets too saturated with people and kids. In the afternoons or evenings, you can find me out having a nice cocktail or two on a rooftop somewhere around the city, enjoying the most scenic views. The weekends are reserved for attending the ever famous summertime BBQs, of course! The point is no matter how you choose, make sure that you CELEBRATE your summer the best and most appropriate way for YOU (I know I will)!
5 Tips to make your BBQ the hit of the summer:
1 – Invite a limited number of guests. Most people don’t travel alone so expect for a BBQ guest list of 15 attendees to be more like 30-40 (once you count their guests).
2 – Pre-mix at least one cocktail. For adult BBQs, spiked drinks or alcoholic drinks with fruit are usually better the day after mixed (if you know how to mix them right) – drinks like Sangria and Rum Punch are very popular and work well. And, they can be easier on the pockets as you can stretch your alcohol more with serving mixed drinks as opposed to straight ones. Another alternative could be to request your guests to each bring a bottle of something, which shouldn’t be a problem since you’ll be providing them free food and music for the evening. Do the same for any beverages (i.e., lemonade, iced tea, etc.).
3 – Have a designated Grill man/woman. This is crucial. The last thing you want to happen is to be tied up on the grill all night, and you don’t get to entertain. Using a parent, aunt, or uncle helps because they usually love to cook anyway (or at least they always try to tell everyone else how to). Also, you can find an alternative to help relieve someone from grill duties, so the task isn’t too cumbersome.
4 – Pre-make any cold dishes. Things like pasta, potatoes, corn, and other salads require refrigeration, and, just like a mixed drink, tend to taste better once marinated overnight. So, condition yourself to complete these items a day or even two ahead and store in your refrigerator.
5 – PREP-PREP-PREP your meats! Anytime I go to the market instead of unpacking my meat directly into the freezer I clean and season it first. Then, I repackage and store it in the freezer until I’m ready to cook it. It saves so much on prep time and seals in so many flavors! That way, a day or two before you BBQ, you can thaw your meat naturally by sticking it in the bottom of your refrigerator and then pull it out to set on the grill when you’re ready.
Lastly, use as many disposable items as you can (i.e. cups, plates, linens, utensils, etc.), preferably biodegradable, and set up your seating/party area the night before. This way the setup will be ready as soon as you wake up so the focus will only be on food the day of and cleanup will be relatively easy since everything will be tossed in the trash!