Barbecues are a big deal for any family, but what’s bigger than a good barbecue? Whatever follows, “Remember that time when…?” One might even argue that all barbecues and other family events are mere attempts to achieve an honor of remembrance so great that they overshadow whatever gathering they’re mentioned in. If this is also your quest if you want to be the host of the ultimate family barbecue, here are the six tips you need.
1. Your Star
The key to a successful barbeque often lies in the quality of the food and not the variety. Instead of distracting yourself with a variety of meats, marinades, and cooking times, choose a maximum of two types of meat (or two cuts) and dedicate your efforts to perfecting the cooking process, from the seasoning and the marinating to the grilling. This type of specialization not only works in terms of quality, but it also works in terms of everything else. As you must know, not all side dishes and vegetables work with all meats, and neither do beers, wines, and cocktails. Pick a star for your show and plan from the inside out.
2. Always Prep
Because a family barbecue is about family, no one wants to miss out because they’re too busy with the cooking. Not to mention, you will be missed by the ones who dedicated the time of day just to see you. Some simple things like pre-cutting your vegetables, pre-heating your grill, and marinating your meat before the guests arrive can save you loads of time spent on menial tasks. By getting the time and thought-consuming tasks out of the way, when your guests arrive, you’ll only be occupied with the mindless tasks. Plus, you won’t have to step away from the grill and the people.
3. Killer Grill
Amateur barbecuers often spend the majority of their time picking their meat while paying no mind to their choice of grill and fuel (wood, coal, etc…). If you’ve been committing such cardinal sin, you should know that your grill and the type of fuel you use have an undeniable impact on the flavor of your meat. Needless to say, there are many types of grills, smokers, and roasters, according to meadowcreekbbq.com, and each has a distinct effect on the flavor. Depending on the flavor you’re after, you should pick an appropriate grill. It’s understandable if you’re hesitant about going for a new purchase but think of the tasty gains to follow.
4. Don’t Forget the Drinks
Drinks are an underestimated part of any barbecue, but if you’ve already cracked that code, then you’re on the right track to mastery. Let’s say you’re serving beef. Red wine, Malbec, for example, will complement the flavor while giving your event a classy, gourmet feel. On the other hand, strong beer will keep the event casual and mellow while acting as a palate cleanser and a flavor enhancer, as well. As for cocktails, with pork and chicken anything simple and whiskey or rum-based should work just fine. Simple, however, is key so, go for cocktails like old-fashioned, whiskey sour, or mojito. With dense, heavy flavored cocktails, you might be risking a clash of flavors with your meat of choice.
5. Strategic Seating
Your seating area can either make for a great, cozy sitting with family or a tense, uncomfortable meal. If you’ve got a big family, you’ll want them close enough to have the conversation flowing, but not so much that the seating feels cramped. Parallel tables are never a good idea as they separate your group. A sufficient number of tables and chairs is a must because a single person left standing, even if they don’t mind it, can be a bummer for the rest.
6. Lights and Music
The presence of music and its volume should mainly depend on the type of family you have. Would they vibe with the music or would it be nothing but a background nuisance? If they would vibe, make sure you pick a selection that combines all preferences. If you’re all about the underrated songs and artists, it’s a good idea to put in a few hits to mix things up a bit. Stay away from playlists, though. They’re impersonal and they almost always are off the mark. As for your lighting, yellow is the way to go. If you’re looking for warm and cozy, you’re going to want a fire pit, some candles, fairy lights, or yellow/orange garden lights. You get the picture.
BBQ Supplies You Need
When barbecuing, having all your supplies with you will save you a lot of time and effort. Ensure that you are adequately prepared before the event even starts so that you can enjoy time with family instead of traveling back and forth for supplies you don’t have. Here are all the essentials that you need to have with you.
Cooking Equipment & Utensils
When cooking, you need to have some of the most essential utensils, such as tongs, spatulas, and knives. These will allow you to grill meat and vegetables with ease. A meat thermometer is also handy if you plan on cooking a lot of meat, as it will help you gauge when the meat is fully cooked.
Professionals recommend always having multiple sets of utensils if you plan on cooking more than one type of food for hygiene purposes. Ideally, you should have different utensils for raw meat, cooked meat, and non-meat food.
A food storage bag can be incredibly useful when cooking in large quantities. If you do not store your meat safely, you may end up spoiling it. The danger zone for meat is 5 degrees celsius to 63 degrees Celsius. If you store it at this temperature for an extended period, the meat will rot, and you won’t be able to use it.
To prevent such a situation from arising, use ice packs and a food storage bag to ensure that the meat is chilled until it is time to cook.
Having the necessary cleaning materials is essential when cooking and handling raw meat. Ensure you have hand sanitizer and other hygiene products nearby. If you use disposable materials, you can simply throw them out. Still, if you are not, you should have washing-up liquid, large bottles of water, sponges, and wash-up clothes.
Entertainment and Activities
Having family and friends around you as you barbeque is fun, but you should plan out some activities beforehand to ensure everyone is engaged and having fun. You can play a quiz, lawn games, and more.
All it takes to have a memorable barbecue is good food and drinks, good company, and a great setting. That and a lot of love. For the event after, you might want to top yourself or recreate the same thing, but it will never be the same. Not that it will get worse, but as long as you’re trying to recreate something, it won’t turn out as good. We all know how sequels turn out. Learn to appreciate each family barbeque for itself and the people there. Any event is much better that way.