The Great British BBQ - Ideas for Fun in the Sun
When the weekends promise sunshine, what do we do?
Light the BBQ of course!
BBQ’ing is fun, it brings people together and when the weather is playing ball there is something so joyful about eating outside.
Forget the burnt sausages, raw chicken and rubbery burgers, with our handy hints and the fabulous BBQ recipe book in The Sizzler you'll be like a pro in no time.
So tie on your apron, season your food and get planning.
Plan your guest list to suit your space and budget. Don’t invite dozens of people if you are short on space (and money). Unless you have a garden the size of the local park and a sizeable deposit in the bank then success is all in the numbers. Sometimes less is more!
Are the neighbours invited? Often a good idea if you get along, especially if you’re planning a late one.
Although they add a special touch, printed invites are really an unnecessary luxury.
Most people have a social media accounts so a Facebook or WhatsApp group is much easier, or simply pick up the phone
Yes, it's Summer but it is a British Summer and so we all know it can change at the drop of a rain hat!
You need to plan for all eventualities and plan so that people can stay outdoors. Gazebos, large umbrellas, sheeting to protect the grass and carpets.
Plan ahead, local DIY centres all have huge tarpaulins that are ideal for makeshift rain shelters or provide shade if the sun is beaming. Hot sun and booze do not always mix well.
There are those of us who are happy to eat on the hoof, and those that like to sit at a table. Don’t worry, you won’t need to provide a seat for everyone, it’s a BBQ not Christmas lunch! Scatter cushions and beanbags will be just as good especially as the party goes into the night.
If you don’t have enough, why not beg and borrow from your guests, ask them to bring their camping chairs or patio sets. The communal feeling all helps to bring everyone together.
I love a party with a theme. Whether it's Father’s Day, a birthday or a charity event, the décor is easy to manage, with themed balloons and bunting to celebrate the event, but for a general get together BBQ you can make the place look amazing too.
Pop some lavender or rosemary in a clean jam jar, you get the lovely scent and it looks all rustic and beautiful, or grab a few of the cheaper bouquets from the local supermarket and dot them around the place.
Fairy lights always look gorgeous as the sun goes down. String them in the gazebo or through the bushes or tubs in your garden and don’t forget the citronella, British midgies can be painful!
Unless you are a professional DJ you won't want to be messing about with the tunes throughout the day. Plan an eclectic mix that will last for hours and suit all tasted and genres. Plan it so it's more subdued as the food is served and then go all out to get people up and dancing the night away. You can do this on a whole host of apps like Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music.
Always a tricky one, but if you ask at the point of invite whether anyone has a specific dietary requirement you will be well prepared.
Spend time planning cheaper, tummy filling dishes like pizza and pasta and rice salads, perfect when the drink is flowing.
You don't need to supply fillet steaks for everyone, be savvy and if you are cooking meat, buy good quality burgers and sausages and if you can get wholemeal breads, it's more filling!
If you are thinking dessert then a big fruit salad that can be prepared the day before or a tray of cupcakes will hit the spot.
Save yourself a load of time cleaning up by buying disposable plates and cutlery. There are plenty of eco-friendly versions available or have a BBQ committee and distribute some of the jobs, like the washing up!
Here is where it gets a bit tricky and can get expensive. I would suggest providing a few of alcoholic drinks but mention in the invite to BYO.
A few bottles of Prosecco, jugs of punch or wine and beers won't break the bank, but it's not feasible to cater for everyone and don't forget to provide plenty of soft drinks for the tee-totallers and drivers.
Now your guests are arriving, so pour a glass and enjoy. You've done the preparations so now you can enjoy the day/night.
Enjoy your party!