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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Blanc

10 Tips For Hosting The Perfect BBQ

Fun Fact: Did you know that BBQ, or barbecue, as it is termed fully, derives from the Caribbean word barbacoa, utilized by the Taino Indians (shout out to my ancestors!!!) to depict a raised wooden plank commonly used for smoking fish and other meat...?

BBQ has now grown to become a universally recognized term used by mostly everyone. So, it bears the burning question where the "Q" comes from...??? Well some parts of the world utilize the term barbeque and some use barbecue, and so (in a nutshell) BBQ is the easy abbreviation that seems more closely related to barbeque.

But, we can dive deep into the history of the word origin another time. As you're here to find out my easy tips to host the perfect barbeque. So, light the match, get the grill goin' and let's go!

1.) The Great Ole Outdoors

I know I know...this kind-of goes without saying, but I specifically included this tip for those who may be limited with outdoor spaces (i.e. you may live in NYC's concrete jungle where an outdoor backyard is more or less nonexistent, or it may involve a rooftop for an apartment complex shared amongst tenants versus a traditional green lawn); The point is you need to incorporate some form of the "great ole outdoors." And so, even if you live in an apartment or condo space with a smaller balcony or outdoor space, there are still many great ways to host your own epic BBQ. In these cases, I suggest styling up the space and creating a dynamic duo of both indoor & outdoor spaces, so that your guests experience a nice flow. Now for those of you with a decent outdoor space...I suggest styling the space with some nice patio furniture, possibly hanging some bistro string lights, or incorporating fun stylized touches like tiki torches (a personal fave of mine, of which I included an image from one of our events). You know I am a sucker for 2-in-1 type scenarios and so tiki torches give off a beautiful aesthetic & keep the mosquitoes at bay...A WIN-WIN in my opinion!

2.) Develop a Fun Theme

If you've been following me for a while then you know that I refer to myself as the Theme Queen, and this tip would surely make its way to this list. BBQs are no different than how I approach any other shindig. It's just that BBQs are generally more laidback in terms of overall aesthetic. But it doesn't mean that we can't have some fun with a theme. And so, the theme can be super simple (i.e. 4th of July; Boho BBQ; a 90's themed BBQ party, or an all-white BBQ (Although, I just envisioned a sea of ketchup stains, so you might wanna hold off on that one haha); Or even just a simple traditional BBQ. The point is (and I always hone in on this point) is that developing a theme will often help you easily segue into other elements of the party, as in, it will serve as the inspo for other party elements (i.e. the food, drinks, & dessert menus, menu signage, table & chair setup, music, entertainment, etc.).

3.) Grillin & Chillin' Like a Villain

Basically, establish a method to cook the food. Again, I know...This goes without saying, because of course you need a method of cooking. And, since BBQs are synonymous with grills, smokers, propane tanks, etc., then you'll probably utilize one of these cooking devices too. But I have have to mention this tip if this is your first rodeo and you're looking for some help on being steered in the right direction. I recommend becoming familiar with the logistics of whatever grill or cooking method you're utilizing. The day of your BBQ isn't the time to pull out the manual on your propane grill. I mean...Not to scare you or anything because it isn't rocket science, butttt it is sort-of a learning curve if you're not so familiar with these gadgets & gizmos. Therefore, take a stab at reading the manual well before the big day. Or better yet, ask a friend or family member to man the grill while you focus more on hosting duties (ask them prior to the BBQ, so that they aren't caught off-guard). Personally for me, depending on the type of BBQ I'm hosting (elevated versus more laid-back), I'd just hire a BBQ Chef...That way I can enjoy hosting, mingling, & just having an overall good time with my guests!

4.) Chef Up Some BBQ Grub & Dry Rub

At this point, you're probably annoyed with me stating the obvious, but please continue to hear me out. I promise it gets better. Normally, BBQ food staples include burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, ribs, pulled pork, baked beans, etc. So therefore, you may very well want to keep those traditional food items as the main menu. But of course, you can do whatever you desire. Who knows you might be vegan and have some bomb nonmeat options that still give off BBQ vibes. Although, I feel like most vegans wouldn't be drawn to this type of blog post in the first place, but I could also be very wrong! I've seen a lot of fun and interesting vegan takes on traditional meat dishes. So really, it's whatever the host decides. Just give some of the meat eaters a heads up prior if you are going the vegan route? Or better yet, try to include an assortment of foods that cater to different food groups, so that your guests feel welcomed to EAT!

5.) Create a Signature Cocktail Punch

Punches are a great way to spice up the drinks without breaking the bank or hiring a full-blown bartender (though if that is your jam, then by all means go all out!). But since I wrote this blog post with the intention to focus more on a laidback BBQ, then a cocktail punch is an ideal way to easily serve your guests and get the party started! And if you're stumped on what cocktail punch to make then check out my Olé Olé Mexican Punch, which is a slightly edited version of the traditional Mexican punch. This punch is not only refreshing, but most importantly, delicious! And if you're up for it, you might want to add my Star Spangled Spritz to your drink menu. It's a tri-colored red, white, & blue drink that's perfect for your next July 4th shindig!

6.) Create A Refreshment Station & Filler Up

Since we're on the topic of drinks, I thought it best to hone in on the fact that it is important that your guests have a refreshment station full of water, fruits, & nonalcoholic beverages. Why you ask? Well BBQs are normally held in the summertime...Where the weather is HOT, and so it only makes sense to ensure that your guests stay hydrated throughout the day. Especially, since alcoholic beverages aren't the most hydrating, and not everyone at your BBQ may drink alcohol.

7.) Ice, Ice Baby!

So this kind-of goes hand-in-hand with the beverages, but you'd be surprised at how much ice is often an after-thought until you quickly run out. Next thing you know you're asking late-coming guests to stop at the nearest gas station to grab you a bag, and you're going through bags of ice as quickly as you're flipping burgers. So my pro-tip is to have an ice plan in place! Make sure you have enough ice boxes too!

8.) A Bangin' Playlist

Now if there is one thing that will ultimately set the mood within an instant, it's music. And so, you'll want to make sure that you have a bangin' playlist playing in the background to get the mood just right. If you need some ideas, then check out my personal 2000s Faves Spotify playlist. By the way, major disclaimer, I am a bonafide millennial, and so, my music selection will thoroughly portray this haha!!

9.) A Deliciously Sweet Way To End The Day

I'm rather surprised when I see no form of desserts at a BBQ. Now I know I said you can do whatever you want and that still stands...But, if you're anything like me then you crave a little something sweet after getting your grub on haha!! And if you're looking for inspiration for a quick & easy dessert fix then check out my Red, White, & Blueberry Trifle, which is perfect for 4th of July celebrations!

10.) Preparation Is Key

If you take anything from my list today...Please let it be this tip. Prepare yourself for the festivities well in advance. I cannot stress this enough (!!!), and if you have been following me for a while then you knew this would be on the list. Take it from a seasoned Event Designer & Planner whose facilitated her fair share of weddings & soirées. You can never be too prepared! There will always be something to do. 

Well guys...That's all I got for now! I really hope you were able to take away some helpful tips for hosting your own BBQ shindig. Make sure to subscribe to my VIP guest email list if you haven't done so already as to not miss any of the goodies I share every month! Until next time...

Disclaimer: Although, everything I share is my truth, this post does contain affiliate links. This means that I may earn a commission should you choose to make a purchase using some of my links. But no worries, I give you all the real tea and I wouldn't recommend anything that I don't wholeheartedly stand by!


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