Everything You Need to Know
About Picnics and BBQ Parties
Outdoor Dining 101
Everyone loves a good barbeque party. In fact, it’s basically an essential life skill to know how to hold a great cookout in your lawn or in campgrounds.
Another age-old classic is a good old-fashioned picnic on a warm afternoon. You can have your little children running around while you serve the food and plates on the blanket.
We’re sure you have your own special family traditions to make every party extraordinary. Whatever they are, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when you plan picnics and barbeque cookouts!
In this article, we guide you through outdoor dining 101.
First, we list all the must-haves when throwing a barbeque party and picnic in your backyard. Then we guide you through arranging your event and preparing your menu. Last but not the least, we bring you a couple of tips on roasting your meat and vegetable skewers and setting them out.
Thinking of having your family and buddies over?
Want to host a chill gathering with your neighbors around the block?
Planning a reunion for your relatives or friends from all around the country? No problem!
BBQ cookouts and picnics are a fantastic way to bring your loved ones together for an awesome time in the sun. Here’s your one-stop tutorial to everything you need to know about picnics and BBQ parties!
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American Institute of Floral Designers of the AIFD (www.aifd.org).
National Gardening Organization (www.garden.org).
American Floral Endowment (www.endowment.org).
American Horticultural Society (www.ahsgardening.org).
Everything You Need To Organize a BBQ Party.
Like any event, especially a social gathering, there’s a couple of things you need to learn about organizing a BBQ party.
Here is a simple rundown of everything you need to host a BBQ party.
Schedule the date and time.
Before anything else, you’ll need to set up a specific date for your outdoor cookout. Then, decide what time you’re having it.
You could have it during the day (12 noon to 4 in the afternoon) or in the late afternoon up to the evening (5-9 PM).
Why at least 4 hours, you say? Well, it’s an effective way to make sure you have plenty of time for you to mingle with your guests. And, they’ll get to walk around and talk to each other as well.
After setting up the date and time, determine what circle you’ll be inviting and how many you can have over.
And we can not stress this enough – do not overestimate your yard size. Be smart about it.
Do you want to have:.
- a big reunion for high school and/or college batch mates?
- distant relatives from across the States?
- a small intimate get together of your family and friends?
- a get-to-know party with the neighbors on your block?
- After determining your attendee list, send out your invites.
If you’re organizing a large party, do them by email. If you’re having a small informal gathering, make handwritten invitations for each attendee.
Be sure to follow up on their attendance to get a good estimate of how much food and utensil sets you need to set out.
Deciding on the Menu & Preparing your Food.
The basic rule is to have a balance of red meat, chicken and vegetables skewered on sticks. This is especially crucial if you aren’t sure what your guests’ diets are.
The safest choice for meat is to stick to the classics. This means hotdogs, burger patties, ribs, barbeque cuts, etc
The same goes for vegetables. Get corn cobs, greens, tomatoes, mushrooms, among others.
If you do find out their preferences, then make sure to modify your menu accordingly.
Take note of who and how many of your visitors are vegetarians, vegans, and red meat lovers. They’ll help you when buying the fresh produce and planning your dishes.
Keep drinks cool in an icebox or two in your lawn. Also make sure to maintain a steady supply of drinks and, of course, ice, in your fridge indoors.
It’s best to have a selection of drinks too. Prep juice packs, soda cans and bottles of beer and wine unless you know what your guests like.
For dessert, fruit platters are a good easy dish. Platters of cookies, biscuits and cake tarts are also perfect to pass around your attendees.
Prepare your Cooking Tools & Supplies.
Experts encourage buying a heavy duty grill with a rolltop cover. They’ll do well to keep your food fresh and hot.
Get a durable set of essential tools for outdoor dining. This involves a spatula, tongs, grill forks and knives, among others.
You’re going to need a place to put your freshly grilled food to make space for new batches of raw meat and vegetables.
Get containers with lids for both raw and cooked meat and veggies. Get aluminum foil too to keep food fresh. This will also cover them from flies, insects and the elements.
Set Out Meal Utensils.
Like any meal, you’re going to need a set of utensils to prep for your guests. Here is a list of must-have utensils for your BBQ party.
- Plates (reusable).
- Fork and knife (spoon optional).
- Glasses or plastic cups.
What You Need to Set Up a Picture Perfect Picnic.
You will also need a checklist of things to put together a picture perfect picnic for you and your whole family.
The difference is – you won’t be able to head back to your house if you missed packing something. You’re going to have to make sure you have absolutely everything you need before going to your picnic spot.
Schedule the Date, Time and Place.
Like any family day trip, you’re going to need to choose a spot for your picnic.
Then, determine whether you’ll be heading out in mid-morning or in the late afternoon to evening. Of course, if you wish to do it at night, you’ll need to bring a portable lamp with you.
Choose Your Menu.
Like any old-fashioned picnic, you’ll have to arrange the food ahead of time and wrap them to go in your basket.
It’s best to go for sandwiches and pre-cooked meats for your main course.
You could opt for burgers, sandwiches, chicken, fried or grilled meats (bacon and hotdogs). Hard-boiled eggs are also a good option for health buffs and kids.
For your side courses, you could opt for a tub of coleslaw, mashed potato or potato salad, or bags of chips.
For the dessert, you can never go wrong with a fruit platter (e.g. banana, apple, orange, strawberry), and cookies.
You might also want to bring condiments (e.g. ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, etc.). If you do bring some, be sure to keep them in small airtight canisters.
Lastly, for your drinks, you should bring a cooler to keep your drinks nicely chilled. They’ll be the perfect refreshment for a day out in the sun.
You can never go wrong with a pack of soda cans, juice boxes, and water bottles. But if you wish to get fancy, you could bring a nice bottle of wine with you.
Prepare Your Picnic Supplies.
To make sure you don’t forget anything, make a list of things to bring on your picnic outing with your family.
- Blanket (white & typically red checkered cloth).
- Picnic basket.
- Reusable plates, bowls, & utensils.
- Reusable cups.
- Table napkins & wet wipes for easy cleaning.
- Food and condiments.
How to Efficiently Pack Your Basket.
A couple tips to packing your picnic basket, from the experts:.
Keep food wrapped in airtight containers and resealable plastic bags.
Stuff your basket in the order of things you’ll be bringing them out in. – blanket, utensils and plates, food platters, condiments if any, etc. Bring a cooler for drinks and perishables.
Put the perishable food (freshly cooked meat, vegetables, etc.) in airtight containers. When loading them in the cooler, set them in the bottom and sides. This will keep them from toppling over or spilling out.
Photo by Svetlana Kuznetsova