Food eaten outside is often the very best food
- Try not to get carried away and try to serve too many different dishes. You’ll only get overwhelmed. Instead, choose one or two meat or fish options to cook on the grill like burgers or something more unusual like trying a steak quesadilla recipe. Add some sides or salads, like corn on the cob, and focus on quality rather than quantity. To take the pressure off, ask your friends to bring a side dish each, so you can focus on the main event of the meat or fish dishes.
- Make sure that all you guests can sit down to eat. You don’t need to fit everyone around the table if the table itself isn’t large enough, but make sure you at least have enough chairs for people to sit down. If you need to, break out the beach or folding camping chairs, or ask your guests to bring some spare chairs if they live nearby. If you have kids attending, you can free up chairs for the adults by offering kids some picnic blankets or floor cushions to lounge on instead.
- Set up a topping station. Nobody tops the burger in the same way, but a fun a topping station gives your barbecue an extra kick and lets you guests get creative. Put out bowls or jars of popular toppings, like fried onions, pickles or salads, and lay out some popular condiments. Ketchup, mustard and relish are good options. Your guests can pile their burgers or hot dogs high with whatever their heart desires.
- Have cold drinks ready to go. Buy some options for alcohol, like beers and cocktails in cans. Fill your cooler or a bucket with ice and press the cans down into the ice. Your guests can grab cold beers from the cooler all night, without going inside to the fridge every time. Make sure you have some non-alcoholic drinks on offer too for guests who don’t want to drink alcohol. Make up some big jugs of lemonade or iced tea for a soft drink option that still feels a little fancy.
- Offer some entertainment in the form of garden games. Set up a croquet game, or buy some games inspired by pub gardens like giant Jenga or horseshoes. Lay these games out on the lawn and everybody can have a fun game or two when the food has been eaten. For younger guests, some chalk and a game of Hopscotch can them entertained for hours.
- Keep bugs at bay and don’t invite them to the party. Keep the food in the fridge until it’s needed, and make sure to cover any food that is outside but not currently being eaten to keep insects away from it. Avoid attracting bugs by getting rid of uneaten leftovers promptly and dealing with any trash quickly. Put out citronella candles to put off the insects even more.