Summertime is finally upon us and one word is on the mind of our entire entourage… barbecue. A single ray of sunshine and we all have the perfect excuse to turn our backyards into an outdoor venue ready to welcome all acquaintances.
This forces us to answer the recurring question “Are you coming to my barbecue this weekend?”, with a quick look at the calendar praying it won’t interfere with the one your cousin has been telling you about for the past 3 weeks.
But unfortunately, as the summer goes on, each barbecue seems more and more like the last. However, with the right ingredients and some goodwill, yours will be held by your peers asthe Mount Rushmore of BBQ parties.
The word barbecue is said to come from the word “barbacoa”, found in the language of the Caribbean Taino Indians, which describes the structure they were using to grill meat. The term “barbecue” has then been used to refer to cooking methods like grilling, roasting, or even smoking.
Originally centred around meat, a perfect barbecue now requires every aspect of a full meal, from appetizers, starters and mains, to dessert and snacks. It also goes beyond the food as the end goal is having a good time. Without further ado, allow us to take you on the journey to successful barbecue parties.
To organise this type of gathering, it is necessary to have the ideal venue. Based on the amount of people you are planning to have, the location will most likely vary.
On one hand, you have public areas for a big group. The space found in a park can be a plus, however, public places come with restrictions. For that reason, make sure that you are choosing a park that allows grilling, that you are there within the authorised time, and that you are using the right type of barbecue grill as some are not allowed in public areas.
On the other hand, you can choose the comfort of your own house which gives a certain sense of freedom and the opportunity to move between inside and outside. Nevertheless, if you are planning on playing your favourite Spotify playlist for the whole afternoon and evening, it is much advised to give your neighbours a heads-up as they might feel the need to complain… or join the festivities.
Appetizers: To welcome your guests and make sure they don’t starve waiting for your grilling skills to finally pay off, think of having all sort of chips and tapas at their disposal. Some dips would also be a great accompaniment for those who love to let their food dive in hummus or guacamole.
Meat: When it comes to the meat, it would be hard to go wrong when sticking to the basics.
Everyone going to a barbecue wants to be assured to have the choice between juicy burgers with hot cheddar dripping from the sides, chicken thighs perfectly smoked, ribs ready to be devoured with barbecue sauce, fresh off the grill sausages destined to end up in a bun, and well put together kebab skewers.
Because our vegetarian and vegan friends are not to be forgotten, having a couple of vegan or veggie burgers under your apron will not hurt.
Accompaniment: Although meat is seen as the main dish, it is essential to add other flavours and more colours to your convives’ plates. Now is your time to shine and be original, grab your 15 minutes of fame and hold on to them while you are lining up the grill with all the products that you can think of.
Start slowly with some corn, then work your way up the vegetable range with a couple of asparagus, tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, sweet potatoes, and even some avocados.
Obviously, to allow your guests to enjoy the side dishes or to marry them with the meat the right way, make sure that they always have a piece of bread (bun, baguette, toast…) close to hand.
Dessert: While you are still being complimented for your grilling skills and your guests still recovering from the latest flavour explosion, keep the momentum going by bringing fruits into the mix and let them take part in a tasty experience with grilled pineapples, peaches, watermelon, and more. To offer a complete experience, have different flavours of ice cream to end on a sweet note of hot and cold. You could also add more typical desserts, such as brownies, cheesecakes, cookies, muffins, you name it.
Drinks: To help the attendants keep a reasonable hydration level, you must have enough for them to have a refill whenever they feel like it after being exposed to the bright sunshine. Beer will be the drink of choice for a lot of us, but many will appreciate the sweet and fruity taste of a refreshing cocktail throughout the day. Wine will also be required to accompany the food, and of course, have some sodas, juices and water for those who would like to keep it soft.
Finally, make sure to choose your music wisely to have a soundtrack that matches the mood of the party, prepare fun little games to always keep everyone entertained, and ensure that they all leave with full bellies and good memories.