You don’t need an occasion to plan a barbeque party, however you can use a summer birthday or a summer holiday as an excuse to throw a party. Inviting friends and family for a summer afternoon of fun and wonderful food has become an American tradition. Planning the perfect barbeque party is relatively simple, but there are a few guidelines you need to follow before firing up the charcoal or propane grill.
I personally feel a phone call is all the invitation my friends and family need, but there are the Martha Stewarts among us that feel a formal invitation is necessary. After you’ve made your guest list, call each one and personally invite them; this not only will make them feel special but will let you know when they are available. By doing this you will receive many more RSVPs when you send out the formal invitations.
Planning the menu may be the most important part of your barbeque party; you’ll want to plan a variety of different meats, side dishes and appetizers. Meats should include burgers and dogs as well as chicken and pork. Side dishes are just as important as the meat menu; traditional sides include chips and dip, vegetable trays, potato and macaroni salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. Of course, if you have a specialty or family favorite, by all means include it. Don’t forget condiments such as mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, onions and relish; these can make the difference in a fabulous burger or dog and one that is just blah. Also remember if you are serving alcoholic beverages make sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages for those who prefer soft drinks and children.
Make sure there is plenty of seating; it’s hard to eat a burger while holding a plate and a drink. Also remember to plan activities for the kids, this will keep them from getting in the way of grilling and allow the adults time to socialize. If you live in an area where the weather is changeable, have a back-up plan; it may be hard to move a whole barbeque inside, but it’s better to have planned for it than having 15 or 20 people standing in the rain. With just a bit of prior planning you will be able to throw a backyard barbeque party that will make even Martha jealous.