Gathering your friends and family for an afternoon cookout is one of the best ways to spend quality time with your loved ones. Cookouts have the potential to turn into amazing, laid-back events, the memories of which you will cherish for the rest of your life. However, planning such a gathering is not as laid back as it seems. From a shortage of food to unfavourable weather changes, anything can go wrong. So, here is a list of things to keep in mind while planning your next perfect cookout.
1. Setting a Date
First, there should be a reason for holding this get-together. It could be held to celebrate a birthday, or news from your job. Celebrating an occasion helps set the theme and affects other factors such as the guest list and the date it should be held on.
Even if this gathering is not celebrating something in particular, you should at least have a date set in mind. The date is one of the most important factors to consider because it should be set during a time when most of your guests will be free.
You should also keep tabs on the weather forecast for this particular date. You wouldn’t want it to rain in the middle of an outdoor cookout.
2. Who Will Be There?
While making the guest list, be sure not to add more people than you will be capable of serving. It is best to have a small gathering and have an excellent time rather than have a gathering that’s way too big for your house to fit.
3. Send Invites and Confirm the Guest List
After creating your guest list, send your invitations. Cookouts are usually very intimate and if the people on the list are close to you, the formality of the invitations should not matter too much. However, if it is an event which include your colleagues, then a mere text message may seem rude.
Be sure to keep in touch with your guests before the big day and request them to confirm that they will be going. This will help you while you prepare the supplies for the cookout.
4. Arrangements for Entertainment
Again, the entertainment should fit the occasion and the people there. If it is to celebrate a child’s birthday, then having games and music which fit the scenario would be great.
If any of your guests are good with an instrument, you could even ask them to play a song or two at the cookout if they are up for it.
However, make sure the music does not overpower the event and drown out conversation.
5. What’s on the Menu?
The possibilities for the menu of a perfect cookout are endless. While choosing your menu, one thing that you should consider is to keep it simple, unless the event demands otherwise.
Grilling meat and cooking most of the food happens on the day of the party. So, if any problems arise, it will be difficult to change the menu last minute.
6. Sides and Drinks
If you are making your own side dishes, make sure that they do not conflict with the main menu. For example, if you have too many savory items or if the sides are too filling, there is a chance that the main course might get neglected and all your hard work grilling away will come down to nothing.
However, you can also ask your guests to bring their own side dishes. This creates a more intimate environment, puts some of the load off of you, and also gives your guests the chance to show off their cooking skills.
While choosing the drinks for the party, consider whether there will be kids or not and what your guests commonly enjoy. Also, make sure to set out a cooler to keep the drinks chilled.
7. Getting Supplies and Groceries
You should start preparing for the event at least a week in advance, so that if anything goes wrong, you will still have enough time to solve it. Furthermore, you should also determine the portion sizes of the meals for each person to determine how many groceries you should be getting.
Do not forget to put disposable utensils, napkins, and lots of plastic bags on your list when getting supplies.
8. Preparations the Night Before
Most of the ruckus in the kitchen should happen the night before, because both cooking and hosting on the same day will be extremely hectic.
One of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks are cutting up vegetables and preparing for meals. Thus, you should get it done beforehand. Once all your chopping is done, store it properly. However, you should be careful while preparing time-sensitive foods.
Moreover, you should marinate the meat for a good amount of time before your cookout, or else you will have to serve your guest bland food.
9. Prepare Your Grill
If you already have a grill, you will know that they are not used often, which means that you will have to wash it thoroughly before the cookout. If you are getting a grill for this occasion, then getting the best kamado grill you can afford will make all the difference in the food and your cooking experience.
Additionally, make sure you set up and preheat your grill before your guests arrive.
10. Disposal Arrangements
One of the indications of an insufficient disposal area at your party is if you hear the question, “Where should I throw this away?” too often.
You need to set up separate and relatively large garbage can nearby because your normal trash cans will not be able to hold everything. It will also save you when it is time to clean up after the party.
A cookout might be an extremely stressful occasion to arrange, however, even the preparation phase can be fun if you work ahead of time and plan the whole process out meticulously.
Hopefully, during your next cookout, you will be able to use these steps to help you plan the perfect event.