You wake up one weekend to a beautiful day and think, “Ahh ..wouldn’t a bbq tonight be perfect?” Don’t fret if you haven’t planned anything a week or two in advance. Planning a last minute bbq doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. Make your calls, send your texts. If you invite 8, plan for 6 extra people. “Hey, I’m going to a bbq tonight, wanna come?” are very enticing words on a balmy evening … trust me!
Delegate to Guests
Once you have a gauge on who’s coming, hopefully you’ll get the “What can I bring?” questions. Don’t be shy – last minute shindigs require reinforcements. Delegate. Ask them to bring the most annoying things on your list: dessert, ice, cranberry juice, etc. Make a quick checklist and mark things off as you assign them to guests.
Keep the Menu Simple
Keep things simple and avoid planning an overly complicated menu. Burgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken and a few simple sides should do it. If you don’t have the time or the skills to make it all, just buy it. It doesn’t have to be expensive and if you go to a good market, it may be better than yours would have come out.
Prep Ahead Where Possible
If you’re grilling any veggies, prepare them before guests arrive and wrap them in foil if necessary. Remember that corn on the cob and potatoes should be on the grill about an hour before your meats. Timing is key in grilling!
Set Out Patio Dining Must-Haves
Set out the plates, utensils, and BBQ tools. Keep all the tools you’ll need handy so you won’t have to ditch your post and run inside to get something.
When possible, always try and use plates that are a cut above paper plates. Nowadays, there are so many cool outdoor dinnerware options from bamboo to melamine. If you entertain a lot, it’s so worth getting a few cute sets.
Set Up an Outdoor Bar Area
Next up…drinks! Set up a bar area outdoors and tell guests to feel free to serve themselves. Fill a large steel tub with ice and canned drinks or opt for a cool bar cart on wheels. We recommend keeping the beverages simple in cases like this with one signature drink. Something fruity, light and summery like the recipe listed below can be a big crowd pleaser.
Peach Sangria Recipe
- 1 bottle white wine (don’t cheap out here because the hangover will be brutal)
- 3 ounces brandy
- 2 ounces triple sec
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 2 ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil for 2 minutes in a small saucepan) and cooled (leftover syrup can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 month)
- 3 ounces white peach puree (peel peaches, remove pit and puree in a blender with a small amount of water) OR Goya peach nectar (all grocery stores have this in the Int’l aisle and tastes just as good as the real thing), fresh peaches, oranges, and sliced apples
Directions: Place all ingredients in a pitcher and stir to mix. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 48 hours. Serve over ice.
Play Some Tunes
Set the playlist to some upbeat summertime music and get that party started!
There’s the doorbell, gotta run! Enjoy!