Planning a BBQ is always an exciting activity. It signals the beginning of summer and everyone enjoys a BBQ (especially one planned by someone else). But, if you’re planning a BBQ this summer, there are a few different things that you absolutely need. Here are the top ten things you need for the perfect BBQ.
- A Good Quality Grill
This might sound obvious but it’s important to get a good quality grill. There are a lot of different types of grills, some are incredibly large and expensive whereas others are very cheap and disposable. The best option is to find something in between that suits your kind of BBQ.
If you regularly have large BBQs throughout the summer, then a relatively large grill might be a useful option. But there are some which have huge grills with several levels and a huge number of settings. These are often well over $1,000 which is a lot of money to spend on a seasonal item.
On the flip side, a BBQ is one of the worst places for waste, so it’s best to avoid using disposable grills. The kind of charcoal grills that you find in the grocery store are cheap but are pretty bad for the environment and can seriously damage the patch of grass you place it on.
A smaller grill that can be used multiple times but doesn’t require huge amounts of charcoal is the best option. Or, if you want something a little more interesting, you could try out a charcoal chimney starter. But just remember that charcoal can have a negative impact on the environment, so it should be used in limited amounts.
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- A Variety of Food
Burgers and hot dogs are the standard BBQ food but it’s a good idea to have a wider variety of food. Especially if you’re not sure about the diets of the people coming to your BBQ. It’s a good idea to have several vegan and vegetarian alternatives to ensure you are catering for everyone.
It’s also a good idea to try and branch out with other kinds of BBQ food. This can be vegetable kebabs, chicken wings, or stuffed mushrooms. Burgers and hot dogs are great fun but they aren’t for everyone. Food that is cooked on a grill and eaten outside always manages to taste way better than when cooked normally in a kitchen. So it’s worth playing around and trying out different foods to see what works.
- Sturdy Tongs and Grilling Utensils
This is another item that might seem obvious but getting yourself a good quality pair of tongs is going to be a game-changer. Try not to buy whatever is cheapest as these will likely fall apart, be difficult to use, and not strong enough. There are few things more annoying when grilling than trying to pick up a half-cooked burger and having it fall apart as you’re flipping it.
It’s also a good idea to invest in some other kinds of grilling utensils. These can include a grilling fork, a metal spatula, and a carving knife. These are going to make grilling even easier and ensure you cook your food perfectly.
As mentioned above, BBQs can be incredibly wasteful. The grill itself can be polluting if you use charcoal but the waste can also include paper plates, plastic cutlery, plastic cups, and napkins. So, while it’s not a good idea to use your normal dishes and glasses that could get easily broken outdoors, you can still find some eco-friendly alternatives.
These items are all essential so try to find the best sustainable options. If you can afford to and have BBQs often enough to justify it, then you can get a great collection of outdoor cutlery and dishes. Or, you can get some single-use items that can be composted.
As the food is the main feature of a BBQ, it can be easy to forget the drinks. But it’s important not to forget them, especially on a hot day. As with the food, it’s a good idea to get a variety of drinks to ensure everyone can stay hydrated.
This means you can get different types of alcohol, but don’t forget soft drinks for those who are sober or tee-total. Try to get nice-tasting soft drinks that are different from the drinks intended for children so that those who aren’t drinking don’t feel left out or judged. Also make sure to have plenty of water available and all of the drinks are stored in a cooler box.
- Condiments and Sauces
Although burgers and hot dogs are great, they are nothing without some burger sauce, ketchup, and mustard. In your backyard, set up a section with plenty of dips, sauces, and condiments available.
One of the best things to do is set up a side table with plates, cutlery, cups, napkins, and all of the condiments, sauces, and all kinds of extras available. This will make things a lot easier.
Toppings can be as varied as the food itself. Try frying up some onions, getting different kinds of cheese, and, of course, plenty of pickles. Toppings can make or break a burger so try and mix it up a little.
This might sound like a lot so you don’t have to go wild. You can just have some dairy burger cheese, some vegan cheese, and some pepperjack cheese. This will be enough variety for most people to enjoy.
Sides are another essential. We have all been to a BBQ, waited hours for a burger, and then had one small patty which barely touches the sides. The main feature can still be the burger and hot dogs but try to throw in some variety.
If you don’t think you will have the time to make a lot of food, you can turn it into a BBQ potluck. Ask everyone to bring a side and then you can have a lot of really interesting dishes for everyone to try. This can also mean that you can be surprised and enjoy different food, especially if you have lots of friends who are vegan or vegetarian. This might give them some control over their food as well, especially if you’re not vegan or vegetarian yourself.
Dessert is something not everyone associates with a BBQ but it’s worth including. This can be something simple like having a selection of ice cream cones or freezer pops kept in a freezer box.
Or you can try something different. If you’re dreaming of making a big Pinterest-worthy BBQ, you can make a cake or a wide number of different desserts. A lot of people will be appreciative of the desserts, especially if your BBQ runs on for hours (as they often do) and your guests begin to get hungry again. The kids at the BBQ will also be appreciative of some dessert.
- Safety Items
This might not be the most exciting part of the BBQ but with a grill, it’s important to stay safe and not be careless. Sparks will come off the charcoal and the grill itself will predominantly be made from metal so will become incredibly hot.
There is also always something that goes wrong at a BBQ. Whether it is a child falling over and scraping their knee, someone catching themselves on a sharp knife, or accidentally touching the grill. Having a first aid kit to hand just in case is always a good idea.
BBQs are always fun but cooking on a grill can be dangerous so it’s always worth being considerate.