How to host an unforgettable spring bbq

By Alexandria Stephens

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I guess you could say that throwing fun events is practically in my blood. Since I hosted my first dinner party as a teen, I have thrown more birthday parties, dinner parties, home warming parties, and backyard barbecues than I can count!

The best time of the year to host any event, by far, is the Spring and Summer. It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and family after the dreadful winter and there’s nothing better than feeling the warm sun while you sip on an icy cold beverage.

I’ve put together my best tips for throwing a legendary spring barbecue that will make you look like a pro.

PLAN YOUR MENU

This is arguably the most important part of the entire event. I don’t have to convince you that one of the biggest deciding factors of a great event is fantastic grub.

To ensure a stress-free event, I recommend keeping things simple and classic. Make items that you have made before, or have a trial run a week before the event to iron out any kinks. It’s vital that you know how much time you need to prep and cook your entire menu. If you don’t plan, you can risk making your guests wait too long on food. You don’t want to be super stressed on party day!

Rule of Thumb for planning your Menu:

  • Appetizer
  • Main protein
  • Veggie side
  • Starchy Side
  • Special Drink
  • Dessert (optional)

My best tip is to make a small menu with large quantities of each item. Don’t go overboard with a large variety of foods or you risk spending too much time prepping and cooking. My meat of choice for a barbecue is pork, but chicken or burgers are popular fan favorites.

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SIGNATURE DRINK

Creating a “signature drink” adds flair and is an easy way to make your event feel special. I suggest filling one cooler with water, soda, and beer, then filling a large pitcher of your adult cocktail that guests can easily pour over ice. You won’t have time to be the bartender, so making items easy to self-serve is key. Be prepared with a few batches so you can quickly refill when necessary. My friends love sangria or party punch. Here are a few of my favorite drink recipes.

Vodka Party Punch

Sangria Recipe

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COME UP WITH A THEME

Having a theme makes any party more fun and makes decorating easier. We’re not saying you have to go crazy, but everyone loves a good theme. Americana, Fiesta, 90s, and Carnival are popular choices. Once you pick a theme, you can coordinate the food, drinks, and décor to match. Themed napkins, straws, plates and table clothes are simple to put out and tie everything together with minimal effort. Bonus Points: Dress to match the theme and encourage your guests to do the same!

DON'T FORGET DESSERT

I’m a huge believer of ending on a sweet note! A sweet treat is something every guest will enjoy. Consider a “Make Your Own” Sundae Bar, a dessert kabob or offering a variety of popsicles.

Dessert Kabob Recipe

Sundae Bar

Plan the best that you can but remember that BBQ is all about community. Don’t worry about perfection, just focus on having a great time! Light up your grill and enjoy the company of those who matter the most.

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