With the final few weeks of August stretching before us, time is ticking to make the most of the dog days of summer. Summer is so much less formal than any other time of year so this is a great chance to sharpen your hosting skills in a fun, casual setting.
Hosting a barbeque is an easy (and delicious) way to enjoy family and friends, while squeezing the most out of late summer’s heat.
Whether you have a balcony, terrace or backyard, here are some of my secrets to hosting a barbeque that will have your friends lining up, plates in hand (real plates, no paper please).
The number one essential for hosting a great barbeque? This one’s a no-brainer, you need a grill! These days you can get anything from a turbo charged double-tiered gas grill with rotisserie skewer to a compact fold up charcoal grill. But lets face it, most of us condo dwellers have limited space outdoors so the smaller the grill, the better.
Fear not, you can do so much with a compact portable charcoal grill! This style of grill will allow you to whip up dishes with that trademark grilled taste, without taking up too much room.
A few grilling accessories go a long way – a cedar plank elevates a simple filet of salmon and a pizza stone allows you to cook up gourmet Neapolitan-style pies outdoors, no large grill required. When I’m entertaining, I always like to end the meal on a sweet note so grilled fruit is a simple and delicious option (my favorite is pineapple).
The two key ingredients to any great barbeque are food and drink so keep the drinks flowing by setting up a self-serve bar.
Even if your bar is as simple as a folding table in the corner of your balcony, make sure to put it in an easy to access area so guests aren’t tripping over chairs and flower pots to get a refill.
Stock your bar with plenty of ice, colorful cocktail napkins and beverage options – when I’m hosting a barbeque I always mix up a batch of sangria or margaritas and make sure to have a pitcher of iced tea or lemonade for those who would prefer a non-alcoholic option.
When it comes to glassware, keep it simple and sophisticated. Tall boys and tumblers are the workhorses of the barware world – they work perfectly for any number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
One of my must have’s for outdoor entertaining is the humble serving tray. Stock up on trays in various sizes and colors – not only are they useful for carrying drinks and pitchers outside, but they look great indoors on coffee tables, sideboards, et cetera.
By keeping things causal, you also bypass the issue of needing a patio set large enough to accommodate a sit down dinner. If your balcony is only large enough to hold a bistro sized set, no problem – it’s supposed to be casual and most people– it’s supposed to be casual and most people prefer to get up and mingle anyhow.
Just make sure that you set up your patio with enough surfaces to place drinks on so when it’s dinner time, people can hold onto their plates. Try adding brightly colored throws on your patio chairs to invite people to take a seat, if they’d like.
Entertaining outdoors is what summer is all about! It’s easy, fun and relaxed. Remember, no matter what size your place is, a well laid out space will keep your friends coming back for more.