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Once Memorial Day rolls around, it signifies the kickoff to Summer fun (including beach and water activities), warm weather, and plenty of delicious BBQs (or cookouts, potato potahtoh)!
As a semi-expert in adulting (a bit of a stretch), I decided to actually put effort in planning a BBQ. With living on my own (minus my bearded man who shares the bills lol), it kind of comes with the territory. That means you can’t call your parents or some other parental figure over to host a BBQ for you.
You have to learn how to grill your own food! And if you want to also invite friends then you must know how to keep them entertained at your BBQ!
This is my top 10 ultimate BBQ must-haves for every adulting human (I’ve tested out a few of these and they seem to yield great results)!
- Grab-N-Go Appetizers
For me, “grab-n-go” means I can eat it with no hassle and all of the yums (yes, please).
Fruit platters and chips and dip are perfect foods to eat while patiently awaiting the main course from the grill! Don’t go overboard because everyone’s saving their appetite for whatever comes off the grill (pacing yourself is KEY!), but get creative!
If it’s a holiday like Fourth of July, for example, use foods that are red, white, and blue or organize them into an American flag. It’s fun, festive, easy, and delicious!
- Signature Punch/Cocktail Machine
Nothing like already having an adult drink properly made and served to you as you walk through someone’s house *sighs*. You don’t have to literally serve your guests but you should have a signature drink (whether a mocktail or an actual cocktail).
It adds some fun and if your guests are anything like me, I like to try new things including a fancy, new cocktail my friend whipped up.
If you want to take it a little bit further, you should invest in a cocktail machine. It’s basically like a Keurig for those who can’t afford an in-home bartender! Cocktail machines are super easy (I have one myself) and they’re the perfect device for entertaining.
This is the one I was gifted for Christmas (Oprah recommended it so I obviously had to purchase, hands down)!!
- BBQ Food Staples (And Condiments)
When you host a BBQ there are a few food basics that all aspiring grill masters need. These include:
- Hot dogs/Brats/Sausages
- Salad (Potato salad, garden salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad)
- Corn on the cob
- BBQ Ribs (We just grilled BBQ ribs for the first time on Memorial Day and they came out bomb!!! Check out the recipe I used here).
- And the obvious…BUNS!!! No one wants to eat their hamburgers and hot dogs on Wonder Bread (hey, sometimes it must be done lol).
Also, just a side note (and kind of another staple), am I the only one whose family cookouts/ BBQs always had some form of seafood? (I’m not complaining, I could eat seafood all day everyday).
- Grill (Charcoal or Gas)
Some people will fight you on whether charcoal grills are better than gas grills and vice versa but as long as my food is cooked…I’m GOOD!
Keep it simple and go with what you know, what works for you! If your food cooks properly and you have a designated grill master then that’s all you need, girl (shout out to the unspoken rule that the man of the house is the grill master by default lol)!
- Cooler & Lots of Ice!
Everyone’s not going to want a mixed drink so best to have a cooler prepared with other options.
Step 1: Fill her up with hella ice and I do mean fill her up! You may need a few bags of ice handy.
Step 2: Stock the cooler with specialty beers (like those limited edition summer flavors) as well as the staples such as Budlight. And (of course) alcoholic seltzers like White Claws or Truly (the great debate: which is better?).
Step 3: Also, stock with kid-friendly drinks and drinks for non-alcoholic drinkers like juice, water (you need these for the drunkies too lol), and soda!
- Frozen Ices (And Frozen Cocktails)
Desserts are kind of left on the backburner for BBQs and cookouts (even though I try to have something sweet at every event lol). So, if you run out of time to present a delectable treat then try out some frozen ices. You can even go a step further and get some frozen cocktails!
They’re perfect for BBQs! They help cool you off and they’re a little something to satisfy that sweet tooth after eating those savory foods. You can easily grab these at your nearest grocery store!
- Music is KEY
Yes, conversations will take place and people will be enjoying your company (as per usual :)) but every good party needs music!
Create a little playlist, press play, and go on about your day. No one has time to constantly keep searching for songs (it gets tedious) unless someone has a request. Other than that, take the stress out of figuring out the music and just enjoy the sun!
- Citronella Candles
It’s summertime and the mosquitos WILL come out to play!
Be on guard and have your citronella candles at the ready. They’re the most useful things you will ever buy to keep your skin free of bites as you enjoy your company in the sun!
You can buy all different kinds of citronella candles on Amazon, including free-standing pillar candles and ones that are glassware or metal with fun little designs on them.
No more worries about forgetting your bug spray with these bad boys around!
- BBQ Games
When going to a BBQ, it’s good to have an activity to keep the momentum going as you’re filling your guests with plenty of food and alcohol!
This can be as easy as having a fun card game (don’t show up to my family BBQ not knowing how to play Spades) or doing something a little more out-of-the-box like:
- Giant Pong (Like beer pong but much bigger and I would suggest not trying to fill them with beer and choose water instead)
- Corn Hole (This works better in teams which is great since more people can play at one time)
- Giant Jenga (Stack ‘em up on a table and take turns pulling out each block without the tower falling over)
These are all simple fun games you can play with your guests without getting them too wasted like you did in college with beer pong and flip cup (but that’s cool too lol).
- Good Vibes
Last, but not least, just let the good vibes (and the good times) roll!
Let the drama and stress of the week roll of your shoulders, girl. Pick up a glass of your delicious punch, kick everyone’s a** in corn hole, grab a cheeseburger and some potato salad (your new hit amongst your friends), and just…vibeeeee.
It’s summer time and with great weather, great people, and great food around, what could you possible be upset about?! BBQs shouldn’t be stressful and now you know how to have a fabulous one!
Let me know in the comments below a food staple that you or your family always have for a bomb BBQ! What games do you normally play at BBQs?