Host Your BBQ Like a Pro

american flag in flower pot
Photo: iStock
Ready, set, grill. It's time to host the best BBQ -- we show you how.
  1. Know Your Guests' Stomachs

    Photo by Nicole Hill Gerulat Photography / The Nest

    Now’s not the time to try out that artichoke-spinach soufflé you heard you can make on the grill. Most people come to a barbecue wanting one of two things: a burger or a hotdog. (Okay, and maybe a beer.) And make sure to have a few veggie burgers or other alternatives for vegetarians.

  2. Let the Food Come to You

    Photo by Nicole Hill Gerulat Photography / The Nest

    Unless you’re a masochist (or a control freak), a potluck is a great way to let go of some responsibility and also incorporate new foods into the mix. To make sure you don’t end up with eight desserts and one bag of chips (although, we’re not sure that’s such a bad thing), give each guest a category. For those noncooking friends, there’s always the category of “alcohol.” Make the barbecue even simpler by offering a “you bring it, we grill it” option!

  3. Make it Fun For the Kids (of All Ages)

    Photo by Antonis Achilleos / The Nest

    Always ask yourself what a child would enjoy, and use that as your reference point (let’s face it, adults love simple pleasures!). Have a deck of cards on hand, balls to toss around…you get the idea. For the actual kids, hula-hoops, sparklers, bubbles, and a game of Simon Says are all safe bets. Make s’mores (it’s an activity and a dessert.) For the young (but still under the age of 21) crowd, keep an outside game (such as bocce ball) for them to play away from the children and adults for a bit of independence.

  4. Enjoy the Outdoors

    Photo by Carrie Patterson Photography / The Nest

    Ask your friends to bring coolers if they have them, and make sure to stock up on extra ice. Keeping guests out of the kitchen will give you some peace of mind and will keep everyone interacting. Another bonus? Being prepared will save you a trip to the store mid-party (and will ensure you don’t miss out on the s’mores, which, let’s be honest, you’ve been looking forward to since we brought it up).

  5. Plan for the Worst

    Photo by Anita Calero / The Nest

    You know everything doesn’t go as planned. Prepare for rain by having board games and other fun indoor activities at the ready. And if you don’t have enough space in your home to host guests in case of rain, don’t cram everyone in like sardines in hopes that “it clears up.” Propose a new location, or if need be, a new date. Send everyone home with a sampling of all the different foods -- hey, they did come hungry!