6 top tips on hosting the ultimate BBQ
This year’s Early May Bank Holiday was the hottest on record, with the glorious sunshine inspiring many of us to ditch our living rooms for the back garden, fire up the barbecue and dine al fresco with our friends and family.
If you didn’t manage to get your grill on, don’t fret. Fingers crossed, there’ll be plenty more opportunities as the summer goes on – why not get one in the diary for National BBQ Week, taking place from 28th May to 3rd June?
In the meantime, if your hosting skills are as rusty as the barbecue hiding in your garage, then reading this guide should help you to throw a memorable bash...
1. Bring out the barbie
First things first: inspect your barbecue. Even if it’s been stored under a cover, chances are it’ll need a good wipe down. If the grill still has the remnants of last year’s food baked onto it, firing up the barbie should burn some of it off. Once the grill has cooled, use this Barbecooksteel brush, some warm, soapy water and a dose of good ol’ fashioned elbow grease to shift the more stubborn bits. No grill brush? Try screwing up some aluminium foil into a ball and scrubbing the grill with it instead. And next time you light your barbecue, give it a good coating of sunflower oil before you start cooking to stop food baking onto the surface.
Time to upgrade? Be the envy of your guests with the Grillstream Classic, an all-singing, all-dancing barbecue that’s fitted with a jet flame ignition, stainless steel warming rack, integral side burner and built-in thermometer. Oh, and there’ll be no more losing the bottle opener when the drinks start to flow, as there’s one fixed to the side!
2. Get your garden ready
With the barbie sorted, you can turn your attention to the garden. Once it’s tidied up, adding just a few small touches can transform your outdoor space, creating a more fun and relaxed atmosphere for you and your guests. For instance, you could:
- Soften up outdoor furniture with scatter cushions and throws to bring the comfort of the home outside. Keep a box of blankets nearby, just in case the party takes you late into the evening, and think about introducing a fire pit (we’ve got some suggestions below).
- Capture the scent of summer by planting some flowers such as honeysuckle and jasmine near your seating area. Or create a herb garden close to the barbecue – not only will it smell good, you’ll have plenty of herbs on hand to add to your cooking...or your cocktails!
- Breathe life into tired walls by adding a lick of paint (dark grey or black is particularly popular this summer) or try hanging up some bunting – if you’re a dab hand at sewing, you could even have a go at making your own!
- Citronella candles not only smell great, but they keep pesky flies away from food, so place a couple in the centre of the table. If it’s wasps that threaten to ruin your meal, then try a Waspinator – chemical-free and environmentally-friendly, you just hang it up above your eating area and it acts like a scarecrow for wasps, sending them packing in another direction! You might just want to buy one for your neighbour too!
3. Keep it cool
Think ahead and prepare a large jug of Pimms (always a crowd-pleaser!) or an ice-cold, homemade lemonade to stash away in the fridge, so that when your guests arrive, you can hand them a cool drink straight away. Having something like a fruity cocktail at the ready also means you don’t have to spend time mixing up lots of different drinks, so you can relax and enjoy your guests’ company from the outset! And to save all that back and forth to and from the kitchen, why not keep your drinks extra chilled with this three-in-one rattan outdoor cooler?
If the weatherman predicts blazing sun on the day of your barbecue, creating shade with a parasol or awning is a must, especially if there are kids around. Unsure what size or style to go for? This handy guide to everything you need to know before you buy a patio umbrella should come in handy. And don’t forget the obvious: sprinklers or paddling pools are always a guaranteed hit with young and old alike, and can provide some welcome respite from the heat.
4. Create mood with music
What’s a barbecue party without music!? Work on a playlist that’ll provide the perfect soundtrack to your summer soiree, and treat yourself to a wireless speaker like one of these from the KEF wireless range; they’re small in size but big on impact, owing to its super crisp sound and rumbling bass. Make sure the speaker lasts as long as you with one of GP’s PowerBanks.
5. Plenty of grub
Always buy more than you expect you’ll need in terms of food and drink; it’s better to have too much than too little (and if you’re stuck for recipe ideas, then this Telegraph article should come in handy). Besides, who doesn’t love tasty leftovers the next day?
Don’t forget the recycling too: barbecues notoriously produce plenty of rubbish, so have your recycling system already in place so you can cope with all that plastic wrapping and empty bottles (Pimms or otherwise!)….our handy recycling infographic should help get you started!
6. Keep the party going
When the sun goes down in this country, it can start to feel a little on the cool side, so think about introducing a fire pit to gather round when the temperature starts to dip. This Crazy Gadget Fire is great fun – just throw a packet onto a wood burning fire, and watch the colours dance and glow!
Lighting is essential if you want to create an inviting atmosphere in the evenings. Try hanging rows of lanterns or fairy lights above where you’ll all be sitting – just make sure you buy a pack of GP’s rechargeable batteries to power them up and have a charger to hand, charging up another set just in case you need them.
What are your top tips for hosting a summer barbecue to remember? If you’ve got any unusual hacks we’d love to hear them!