Ditch the burgers and buns and plan a grill-out with a bit more spice and originality.
Throwing a barbecue is pretty simple, right? Fire up the grill and break out the lawn chairs. Grab some burgers, hot dogs and buns, and ask guests to bring the coleslaw and potato salad. Make sure you have plenty of ketchup and mustard.
But haven’t we done this all before? Throwing a gourmet grill-out will make your party stand out, and with these tips, planning doesn’t have to be any more difficult than serving the standard ho-hum burgers and dogs. Here's how to spice up your grill-out menu.
There are many countries where barbecued food is a staple, so think outside the bun. Middle Eastern kofta and skewers with pita bread and meze, Indian tandoori with rice, raita and naan bread, marinated meats and ribs from Korea … all of these entrees make a delicious alternative to slabs of steak or burgers.
Not only does a theme make party planning easier, it’s also way more fun if your grill-out has a motif. A Korean, Moroccan or Hawaiian theme can help you choose complementary music, décor, drinks, dress code and food choices. For example, for a Moroccan theme, choose décor with jewel tones and vibrant patterns, and add lanterns with lacey detailing. Light some Febreze Candles in an exotic fragrance like Palm Leaf to add to the Moroccan vibe.
Dedicate an area to rain cover – it pays to be realistic about the weather! – by rigging up an awning or gazebo, or even a large tent. String outdoor café lights everywhere and add throws, cushions and lanterns according to your chosen theme. (Spray Febreze FABRIC on cushions and throws to give them a fresh springtime scent.) Hang fabric pennants, tassels or pompoms on fence lines or deck railings for sophisticated pops of color.
Guests love to congregate around a cozy fire – especially when it gets chilly toward the end of the day. A fire pit adds the wow factor to your backyard, and it’s also handy for cooking skewers or s’mores. You can make one easily or buy a ready-made one.
Dedicate a whole table to salads and side dishes to serve alongside your barbecue. Serve them in large wooden or colorful bowls. Here are a few of our favorite recipes:
Even though you’re elevating the standard cookout, simplicity is still key when it comes to dessert. Remember that guests are serving themselves, so keep it easy for them. Bake trays of brownies that guests can grab and eat as-is or top with self-serve ice cream. Or pile a plateful of sugared churros next to a bowl of chocolate sauce for dipping.
Once everyone leaves, you’ll probably want to get your home back in shape as soon as possible – it’s never fun to wake up the next morning to a big mess. Stock up with supplies in advance: Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for cleaning stuck-on food from tables and countertops and Dawn Platinum Dish Soap for scrubbing up serving platters.