After what has felt like months of teasing, it finally feels safe to say that summer has arrived! Sunny days mean that the BBQ that has been gathering dust all winter long can finally be brought out and put to good use.

Throwing a BBQ can be one of the easiest and stress-free ways of hosting if you do it right. With these five tips, you’ll be able to sit back and relax in the sun, glass in hand, in no time at all; the washing up will be minimal, and the kitchen worktops will remain (just about) sparkling, while you feel relaxed and happy.

So, let’s begin:

  1. Make it a pot-luck affair

BBQ’s are made much easier for the host when you go pot-luck. Ask each guest to bring along a side dish, salad or dessert and it will cut down on the amount of time and money you spend on the party, as well as ensure there’ll be plenty of variety and different types of of food available. Just make sure you check with each guest what they’ll be making so you don’t end up with 6 different Greek salads…

Alternatively, if you’re looking to cut down on your costs you could ask each guest to bring their own meat and drinks – the two parts of a BBQ that tend to be the most expensive. You can then provide all of the salads and sides; this may mean more work in the kitchen for you, but it is definitely the more budget friendly option, especially when there is a crowd coming.

 

  1. Get the meat right

While the sides are important in a BBQ (especially to those attending who are vegetarians!), the star of the show is the meat. One important thing to do is make sure you marinade your meat – whether it’s steak, chicken, lamb or whatever, a good marinade will make the meat more tender and flavoursome. Make sure you give yourself enough time to make the marinade and rest the meat in it before cooking.

Getting the actual BBQ right is a bit of a skill and usually takes some trial and error. The key thing to do is give yourself enough time to set up the fire and get it hot enough (but not too hot!) to cook on by the time people arrive and are keen to eat. There’s nothing worse than having starving guests sit around with rumbling tummies while you all wait for the food to actually cook.

Make sure to rest the meat for a few minutes after cooking, this will make it more tender and succulent.

 

  1. Prepare a few pitchers

One of the things you can do to keep your life easy as a host is make a few drinks pitchers and avoid having to constantly pour drinks. Pitchers are also a fun way of injecting some summery colour and flavour into the afternoon as well. We love this list of 28 drinks you can make for loads of people from Buzzfeed, covering less well known and more adventurous drinks like Blueberry-Lavender Vodka Spritzer and Gin Grapefruit and Hibiscus Punch, through to the classic Pimms and a whole load of Sangria variations, there is something everyone will love.

Help keep everyone hydrated throughout the (hopefully!) sunny afternoon, and keep jugs of icy water on the tables. Jazz them up a bit by adding different herbs and sliced fruit, like lemon, mint, cucumber and apples – it adds a great flavour to the water and looks very pretty.

If you’re not keen on pitchers, keep it easy and simple with buckets of ice left outside in the shade (adding a bit of salt help lower the temperature), that you and your guests can put wine and beer in and help yourselves to throughout the day.

 

  1. Make sure there’s music and games

Some good music will help set the mood and make sure everyone has a great time. Sort out a playlist ahead of time that you think will work for everyone, and if you don’t have speakers that will work outside, ask a guest to bring theirs along.

It’s also a good idea to have a few games around in case people are interested in playing. This is also a definite must if there are children attending! If you have a big enough garden, games like badminton or swing-tennis are always fun, and if not, some cards and board games will do the job.

 

  1. Keep dessert simple

If you’re organising dessert, keep it simple and easy and save yourself any aggravation. During the summer months you can get away with simple, light food like fresh fruit – so slice up some watermelon or serve fresh, mixed berries with ice-cream. Easy and delicious.

With these tips, throwing a BBQ is totally painless. Another plus is that you can take advantage of all the time spent outdoors and out of the kitchen, and spend it renovating and creating the kitchen you’ve always wanted. Book a free design consultation at your nearest Optiplan showroom and one of our designers will be able to help you bring your dream kitchen to life.

After what has felt like months of teasing, it finally feels safe to say that summer has arrived! Sunny days mean that the BBQ that has been gathering dust all winter long can finally be brought out and put to good use.

Throwing a BBQ can be one of the easiest and stress-free ways of hosting if you do it right. With these five tips, you’ll be able to sit back and relax in the sun, glass in hand, in no time at all; the washing up will be minimal, and the kitchen worktops will remain (just about) sparkling, while you feel relaxed and happy.

So, let’s begin:

  1. Make it a pot-luck affair

BBQ’s are made much easier for the host when you go pot-luck. Ask each guest to bring along a side dish, salad or dessert and it will cut down on the amount of time and money you spend on the party, as well as ensure there’ll be plenty of variety and different types of of food available. Just make sure you check with each guest what they’ll be making so you don’t end up with 6 different Greek salads…

Alternatively, if you’re looking to cut down on your costs you could ask each guest to bring their own meat and drinks – the two parts of a BBQ that tend to be the most expensive. You can then provide all of the salads and sides; this may mean more work in the kitchen for you, but it is definitely the more budget friendly option, especially when there is a crowd coming.

 

  1. Get the meat right

While the sides are important in a BBQ (especially to those attending who are vegetarians!), the star of the show is the meat. One important thing to do is make sure you marinade your meat – whether it’s steak, chicken, lamb or whatever, a good marinade will make the meat more tender and flavoursome. Make sure you give yourself enough time to make the marinade and rest the meat in it before cooking.

Getting the actual BBQ right is a bit of a skill and usually takes some trial and error. The key thing to do is give yourself enough time to set up the fire and get it hot enough (but not too hot!) to cook on by the time people arrive and are keen to eat. There’s nothing worse than having starving guests sit around with rumbling tummies while you all wait for the food to actually cook.

Make sure to rest the meat for a few minutes after cooking, this will make it more tender and succulent.

 

  1. Prepare a few pitchers

One of the things you can do to keep your life easy as a host is make a few drinks pitchers and avoid having to constantly pour drinks. Pitchers are also a fun way of injecting some summery colour and flavour into the afternoon as well. We love this list of 28 drinks you can make for loads of people from Buzzfeed, covering less well known and more adventurous drinks like Blueberry-Lavender Vodka Spritzer and Gin Grapefruit and Hibiscus Punch, through to the classic Pimms and a whole load of Sangria variations, there is something everyone will love.

Help keep everyone hydrated throughout the (hopefully!) sunny afternoon, and keep jugs of icy water on the tables. Jazz them up a bit by adding different herbs and sliced fruit, like lemon, mint, cucumber and apples – it adds a great flavour to the water and looks very pretty.

If you’re not keen on pitchers, keep it easy and simple with buckets of ice left outside in the shade (adding a bit of salt help lower the temperature), that you and your guests can put wine and beer in and help yourselves to throughout the day.

 

  1. Make sure there’s music and games

Some good music will help set the mood and make sure everyone has a great time. Sort out a playlist ahead of time that you think will work for everyone, and if you don’t have speakers that will work outside, ask a guest to bring theirs along.

It’s also a good idea to have a few games around in case people are interested in playing. This is also a definite must if there are children attending! If you have a big enough garden, games like badminton or swing-tennis are always fun, and if not, some cards and board games will do the job.

 

  1. Keep dessert simple

If you’re organising dessert, keep it simple and easy and save yourself any aggravation. During the summer months you can get away with simple, light food like fresh fruit – so slice up some watermelon or serve fresh, mixed berries with ice-cream. Easy and delicious.

With these tips, throwing a BBQ is totally painless. Another plus is that you can take advantage of all the time spent outdoors and out of the kitchen, and spend it renovating and creating the kitchen you’ve always wanted. Book a free design consultation at your nearest Optiplan showroom and one of our designers will be able to help you bring your dream kitchen to life.