Celebrating dinner together at a BBQ event
· Entertainment Tips · Event Ideas · Food and Drink · Summer

How to Make the Most of the Summer Grilling Season with a Better Backyard BBQ

When the weather gets warmer and summer is in full swing, it’s time to fire up those grills. You don’t want to miss out on the fun of summer grilling season. After all, who doesn’t love a good burger fresh off the grill?


Make the most of your summer by throwing a backyard BBQ bash. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or any other day, you can grill up all the favorites, invite friends and family, and have a really fun time together. Ready to start planning your cookout party? Check out our tips for how to make it better than ever!


Summer Party Preparation


people standing around in a backyard gathering


Every big event needs a plan. Sure, you could go the spontaneous route and run to the store right now to get started. But the stress of those last-minute efforts would likely not be worth it. A better backyard bash will be the result of smart planning and early preparation.


You don’t have to overthink it, though. A theme is key. You might consider finger foods, Hawaiian home cooking, or Cajun cuisine, to name just a few. This will keep the food cohesive and you can even invite friends and family to dress for the occasion.


Coordinate with Friends and Family


When you’re hosting the summer BBQ, there’s a lot on your plate. It’s on you to make sure the event goes on without a hitch. Still, friends and family can certainly provide helping hands.


Invite input from your guests. Work together to pick a date and time before adding “summer cookout” to your calendar. Ask about dietary restrictions and favorite cookout foods before deciding on a menu.


Guests can also help in bringing the BBQ to life. Request that everyone bring a side, drink, or dessert. You may be too busy at the grill to give attention to these equally important parts of the meal. Together, you can make the best barbecue bash happen in your own backyard.


Prepare the Backyard


Before anyone shows up to eat, have the backyard ready to go.


Make sure your outdoor space has everything you’ll need for the best summer cookout experience. A grill, whether gas, charcoal, or wooden pellet, is essential. You’ll also need enough table space for all the yummy food you’ll have grilled and a place for each person to sit and eat.


The grilling may be the main event, but there are other ways to enjoy the outdoors that can take your party to the next level.


Get some games out and set up in the yard before the company arrives.


Don’t forget to prep the yard with protection against harsh sunlight and annoying insects. Tiki torches or citronella candles can help keep mosquitoes away. And you can add some shade to your backyard bash with umbrellas.


Best Summer Foods to Grill


vegetable kabobs and corn on the cob resting on a charcoal grill


When deciding on what foods to cook at your backyard BBQ, it doesn’t hurt to consider the cookout classics. Go full out with a barbecue feast including everything from chicken breasts and steak to salmon and shrimp. Or, keep things simple with enough hot dogs and hamburgers to feed everyone.


Keep the personal preferences of those attending the cookout in mind. If you’ve never really liked brisket, don’t feel pressured to make it just because it may be expected. If there will be many vegetarians in attendance, you might try your hand at an impossible burger or look into some other meat-free options. 


Whatever you decide on, remember to think beyond the grill and keep your theme in mind. It’s not a taco without a tortilla and toppings and hot dogs taste better with ketchup and mustard. Stock up on all the extras, from buns to condiments, and compliment the grilled food with sides, drinks, and desserts. Some refreshing summertime favorites include lemonade and iced tea, fresh fruit on a summer charcuterie board, and flavorful popsicles.


Tips For Good Summer Grilling


Don’t settle for anything less than an absolutely delicious dinner at your summer cookout. These summer grilling tips will take your party to the next level:


Grilling Tip #1: Prepare Ahead of Time

Take meats out of the fridge and dry rub or let them soak in a marinade before they go out to the grill. While getting this ready, it’s also a perfect time to chop up vegetables and prepare any other items you’ll need for the final meal.


Grilling Tip #2: Stay Safe Around Fire


When grilling over an open flame, you need to be careful. Frare ups are frequent and, of course, fire is formidable. You don’t want your cookout to send you for take-out! Prevention is key, so have a fire extinguisher and water spray bottle handy while you’re grilling.


Grilling Tip #3: Grill With Patience for Fuller Flavor


Don’t lay food onto the grate until your grill is finished preheating. Once you put some food down, don’t move it around too much. If it sticks, just give it more time – the heat will take care of it thanks to the Maillard Reaction. In the meantime, resist the temptation to press down on your meats. This only squeezes out the flavor and moisture.


Cookout Entertainment Ideas


The food is undoubtedly the main event of a cookout, but there are more possibilities for enjoying summer grilling season. Keep everyone smiling while the food’s on the grill and don’t stop the party just because you’ve finished eating. Get more out of your BBQ bash with music, games, and pool time.


people standing around with wine glasses


Turn Up the Summertime Tunes


One fun way to liven up a party is with a playlist. Load up all the summertime songs that will keep your BBQ guests entertained.


You’ll be able to sing along while at the grill and everyone will enjoy having a soundtrack behind all the fun in the sun.


As you plan your playlist, consider which songs will go best at different times of the day. You might like to listen to something different while you cook than you will when it’s time to let loose and dance or play some games.


If your best side is poolside, try something chill but upbeat, light yet danceable.


people excited because they are winning at cornhole


Play Yard Games In the Lawn


Some people may be able to talk all day, but others just want to play! During summer grilling season, you’ll be leaving the video game controllers behind and finding your fun outdoors. From ping pong to cornhole, there are lots of great outdoor game options to consider.


Get your game on with some friendly competition and see who comes out as the champion of the cookout. Or just enjoy gaming for the fun of it!


a woman sitting in a pool getting splashed by a little girl


Beat the Summer Heat With Water Activities


Turn the cookout into a pool party! If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, this is a great time to get some use out of it. Taking a dive in between other summer activities can really help you to cool off.


If you don’t have a pool, you can also use water balloons or squirt guns. Make it into a game and get everyone involved. Fun with water is not just for the kids, but can be enjoyed by every guest to your cookout.


Enjoy the Best Backyard Bash of the Summer!


Ready to make the most of summer grilling season? When food, friends, and fun come together in your backyard this summer, you’ll have a BBQ bash that can’t be beat.


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