It's just about that time of year. Nope, not summer. BBQ season. This means burgers, brats, and beers (lots of beers). I'm going to give you the full break down on what you need to make your summer weekends the best.
Q: What should I do right before my friends come over?
This is an easy six step process:
- Mow your yard (if you don't have a yard, just sweep off that patio).
- Fill up your grill with some fresh charcoal or a new can of propane (if you're unAmerican).
- Set up whatever outdoor drinking game you and your friends enjoy (beer pong, beersbee, Louisville chugger, flip cup, etc.).
- Get your burgers, brats, hot dogs, etc. out to thaw (if needed).
- Fill up a cooler with some beers and ice (no one wants to have to go inside every time they want a drink).
- Crack open a cold one cause you deserve it.
Q: What kind of sides should I prepare?
Ideally, you want to have your guests each bring a side so you don't have to do all the shopping/cooking. However if you draw the short straw and buy everything, I recommend a nice pasta salad or a mediterranean salad. If you're like me, you have friends who eat healthy, even at a cookout, so you want to have something for them.
Q: What drinks should I have on tap for everyone?
Once again, ideally you'll want your guests to bring their own cooler with drinks. There is always that one person in a group that bums drinks whenever he/she can, no shame I've been that guy. So for those who don't bring their own drinks, a case of beer always fits with a summer cookout. If you want to have some cocktails I'd go with Dark 'N' Stormy's (I'll include a recipe) or Margaritas. For our friends that don't partake in alcohol consumption, sweet tea and lemonade is a solid go-to (R.I.P. Arnold Palmer).
Q: I'm 23 years old and I have no money. How do I make my backyard awesome?
Wal-Mart is your best friend in this case mi amigo. You can get some awesome string lights for when it gets dark, some tiki torches (get the citronella oil, you'll thank me), and an American flag to top it all off for not a lot of money. Also get chairs, they're like $7 and you and your friends can thank me later.
Q: I don't know how to grill, what do I do now?
Easy answer? Have someone else grill and watch them. Slightly more complicated answer, it's trial and error. Grill for the first time for you and your roommate(s). Hot dogs are easy, just make sure they don't catch on fire or burn. With burgers, watch the middle of the patty and wait for it to rise a little before flipping. Also, play around with some seasoning choices. Lawry's Seasoning Salt and Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning are great options that you can find at most grocery stores. If you still can't figure it out, maybe just make a side and let someone else man the grill till you get the hang of it.
Q: Everyone is arguing about the music, what are some go-to's we can play to get the party going?
Now this one varies, you'll have to cater these to your specific group. For the most part, we all can agree that country music is perfect for the summer. You can't go wrong with some good ole Kenny Chesney tunes or some Zac Brown Band. Basically go with something that people know and can jam to.
Big Homie Shaun Latham has some great grill ready recipes. Not just what to grill and how to do it, but how to throw the greatest BBQ in the history of BBQs.
Summer might be coming to a close, but grilling season never stops. Go out there and enjoy every last ounce of sunshine and charcoal that you can.
Check out some of my other grill tips and other unnecessary info on Twitter: @NateOfTheUnion_