Barbecues and cookouts are popular ways to entertain, especially during warm weather, for many good reasons. They are casual, can often include different generations, and usually involve at least some time spent outdoors. If you’d like to host a barbecue at your own home, here are some tips for a fun gathering:
- Prep in advance. Doing as much as you can ahead of time will free you to enjoy the fun when guests arrive. Make marinades, side dishes, and desserts a day or two in advance and refrigerate them as needed. Get out serving dishes and set the table. Clean outdoor areas, grills, and patio furniture.
- Keep menus simple. Serve easy appetizers, such as chips and dip or cheese plates. Uncomplicated side dishes, like salads and grilled vegetables, go best with the casual setting and grilled delights.
- Practice grill safety. Place grills away from structures, railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from grill areas at all times. Never leave grills unattended for any reason. Make sure charcoal, starters, and grilling tools are out of the reach of children. Read other grill safety tips here.
- Make it festive. Put colorful pillows on outdoor furniture, string lights, and play music.
- Offer cold beverages. Since it will likely be warm outside, make sure to have plenty of refreshing drinks on hand for you and your guests. For a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, place beverages on ice in coolers, tubs, or other containers and let guests serve themselves.
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- Protect you and your guests. Make sure to have sunscreen and bug spray on hand to guard against sunburns and bug bites. It’s also a good idea to have a first aid kit nearby in case of any minor accidents.
- Play games. Offer a selection of outdoor games, such as frisbee, croquet, corn hole, bocce ball, and other activities for guests to enjoy while you cook. If you have a pool, hire or designate someone to assume lifeguard duties whenever people are swimming.
Unexpected home systems and appliance breakdowns can dampen the fun of a planned barbecue. An HSA home warranty is a one-year service contract that helps safeguard against the cost of covered repairs or replacements to many major components of home systems and appliances that fail due to normal wear and tear. With an HSA home warranty in place, if a covered item malfunctions before your barbecue, you simply follow an easy service request process and HSA’s friendly staff will assign a local, qualified service professional to handle your covered request. Instead of frantically searching for a reputable and available contractor, you can go about preparing for your barbecue guests. Find out more at onlinehsa.com.