Quick Guide on how to host a barbecue party for great results, easier and with more confidence
How do I host a BBQ and make the party perfect?
Your Guide to the right barbecue preparation:
It’s crackling and sizzling, the guests are full, the atmosphere is excellent and the evening is coming to an end — all the ingredients of a successful barbecue.
What could be more enjoyable on a mild evening than a barbecue with friends?
A grill on the balcony is already enough to make the week more pleasant.
But sometimes you also want to party and make a big deal of it — with a proper barbecue.
But to begin with, you need the right preparation, because, regardless of the size of your event, good planning is paramount for your success!
We have for you a complete guide, with:
• Check list: With our checklist you won’t forget anything, including the equipment needed to host a BBQ, and can prepare your grill party without any stress.
• Timing: What to do when, to make the event’s organization go smoothly, and you look good!
• Average quantities: Will give you peace of mind and reduce waste.
• Pro Tips: To avoid fiascos, make your life easier, and the party more enjoyable
The shopping list
What will I need? To host a BBQ party, you’ll need:
- Foods to grill: Sausages, hamburgers, steaks, skewers or fish and seafood.
- Accompaniments: Bread, potatoes, chips, vegetables or salads.
- Dessert: Fruit, cookies or ice cream.
- Mustard, sauces, condiments and herbs.
- Drinks: Beer, wine, mineral water, fruit juice.
- Food film, aluminum foil and household paper.
- Garbage bags.
- Cutlery, plates, napkins, glasses and cups.
- Lighting: Torches, photophores, lanterns, candles or garlands of light.
- Barbecue trays and skewers.
- BBQ apron, gloves, tongs or tweezers.
- Fuel (charcoal, pellets, gas) and firelighters.
Put all items on the most logical, easy place to be found when you need it.
And remember, safety first — put a first-aid box in an easy to reach, visible place: your family and guests will notice you thought of their safety!!
Great! But how much food and drinks should I get for my BBQ?
The quick and easy calculator — Average quantities table per capita*
|Food / Drinks||Noon BBQ||Evening BBQ|
|Beer||12 fl oz||24 fl oz|
|Nonalcoholic Beer||12 fl oz||24 fl oz|
|Wine||8 fl oz||16 fl oz|
|Mineral water||24 fl oz||16 fl oz|
|Meat on the bone||0.6 lb||0.8 lb|
|Boneless meat||0.5 lb||0.7 lb|
|Charcuterie||0.5 lb||0.6 lb|
|Boneless Poultry||0.4 lb||0.5 lb|
|Poultry on the bone||0.7 lb||1 lb|
|Fish||0.6 lb||0.7 lb|
|Whole fish||1.2 lb||1.4 lb|
|Vegetables||0.6 lb||0.7 lb|
|Salad||0.6 lb||0.7 lb|
* Rule of thumb: Count one big or two medium grilling items per person.
The timing to host a successful BBQ, step by step
One week before the reception:
• Send the invitations.
• Think about an alternative in case of bad weather.
• Warn the neighbors.
• If the reception does not take place at home: check the state of the grill area and possibly reserve it.
• Decide on your menu.
Go with the basics for simplicity without compromising on taste and satisfaction. Aim for a good variety in your dishes (meat, vegetables, starchy foods). Classics such as jacket potatoes and papillotes are always popular. Cold pasta salad with pesto is also always a good choice.
Five days before the reception:
• Make a comprehensive guest list (those which accepted the invitation, plus your family).
• Then, plan purchases (e.g., choose the place(s) to buy meat/fish and bread/toast).
• Buy the drinks.
• Start getting the necessary room in your fridge. Remember you will also need to find a place for your salads, vegetables and sauces. A well-organized refrigerator avoids a lot of hassle.
• Clean and test the grill.
• Check if you have more than enough grill fuel (pellets/ charcoal/ gas…) and firelighters.
You may place orders for meat/fish in advance, but bear in mind that doing that might tremendously increase the chance of bringing home not so fresh meat/fish.
One day prior to reception:
• Check for changes in the guest list — yes, people change their minds; life happens.
• Prepare sauces, marinades and some salads (e.g. pasta salad).
• Buy the foods and marinate the meat.
• Wrap your potatoes in aluminum foil.
Preparing anything you can, ahead of time, will save you stress during the festivities and allow you to concentrate on cooking during the barbecue. That’s why it’s essential to prepare your side dishes and desserts in advance of the event.
Early on the day of the reception:
• Prepare the grill and the grill area — include a support table near the grill.
• Put the drinks in the fridge.
• Prepare a bucket with sand, and or a fire extinguisher, next to the grill.
• Install chairs and parasols.
• Decorate the grill area (lamps, lanterns, candles, etc.).
Use cups and glasses of different colors: this will help everybody keep track of their own, thus greatly reducing confusion, drink waste and dirty glasses / cups.
The last hours before the reception:
• Remove meat from the refrigerator one to two hours before cooking (except chicken meat, max. 15 to 30 minutes in advance).
• Heat the grill (recommended: one to two hours before grilling with logs, 30 minutes before with charcoal / pellets).
• Make sure the cutlery and grilling instruments are in place.
• Perform a safety check around the grill. Being prepared for a couac will help you relax.
Prepare a lemonade bar: At a table or buffet, place a variety of cold drinks — include water and iced tea. This allows your guests to easily help themselves when they want, and saves you quality time at their side.
Congratulations, you’re ready for a successful event!