This weekend has a lot of barbecue going on. But let's say you want to chill out this weekend. Or are perhaps a shut-in, at work on building the world's most massive ball of string. In those cases, you may want to barbecue at home. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you don't have an offset barrel smoker, either.
So here are some tips for barbecue beginners, using only a small Weber-style grill. If you don't have one of these, get one. They're cheap, and no severe home grilling can be done comfortably without one. Our quick guide is not a thorough how-to; there are plenty of those on the web, so we want to list some items that will make the perfect BBQ weekend.
Insects love food as much as we do, so make sure to keep your dishes covered as much as possible. Use lidded containers to hold fruit — such as lemons and limes at the bar — to keep flies and bugs away. Mesh domes are also great for protecting produce, meats, and sides.
Run a fan near your dining area.
Not only will it help keep you and your guests fresh during a hot day, but this trick can also follow the mosquitoes away.
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Set the mood with your music.
Certain songs scream, “SUMMER!” and will keep your party guests in a great mood all afternoon and evening long. I like to shoot for an eclectic, feel-good mix of classic rock, Southern soul, 90’s hip-hop, and upbeat pop classics—think The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, A Tribe Called Quest, and Michael Jackson—and then throw in a little bit of delightfully corny yacht rock (Steely Dan, ELO, Kenny Loggins) for good measure. As long as the music makes you smile and dance, it should do the trick. Songza has a great selection of curated playlists specifically geared toward barbecues, so you don’t even have to make your own!
Bust out the yard games.
Adults and kids alike will be thrilled to see that you’ve set up a game of croquet, horseshoes, corn hole, bocce ball, or badminton in the backyard—but not every game requires so much equipment.
Four cans of spray paint are all you need to make this awesome outdoor Twister board, and something as simple as a bucket full of colorful sidewalk chalk or a couple of squirt guns has a way of bringing out the kid in everyone. Another fun DIY idea is lawn bowling: take ten empty plastic soda bottles, fill them with water (add food coloring for extra pizzazz), and then grab any ball and go for a strike!
Those are my tips for throwing a laid-back but killer summer BBQ. Do you have any favorite recipes or entertaining tips of your own? Share your wisdom in the comments!