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Enjoy a delightful BBQ with your friends or family. Save the whole list and take it on the go while shopping. You can even customize it on our desktop or mobile app.
Don't forget the tips and inspirational ideas at the bottom of the list.
Now let's get grilling!
As the weather gets warmer it's time to fire up the grill! That's right, it's barbecue season, the perfect time to get family and friends together for a quality cook-out. Usher in the summer holidays with our Barbecue Checklist, which covers everything from grill tips to fresh food ideas.
Check out the list above and make sure this year's grill is your best yet!
Planning Your Barbecue
Whether you are planning a small event with a few friends or a large BBQ with many participant, good planning is worth the effort. Here is a schedule to follow.
One Week Before
The Guest List
Start by making your initial guest list. Call or send out invites to get an idea who is coming and for how many people you should be planning. You'll need enough meat, beverages, eating utensils and seating equipment to accommodate everyone.
What types of meat will you be grilling? Do any of your guests have special dietary restrictions, allergies, or preferences? For example, if you plan on serving seafood, you may have guests allergic to shellfish.
Share the workload
If you are planning a large event, it would be nice to share the workload (and possibly the costs) with your guests. People are always happy to help, so don’t be shy and just ask.
Decide who will bring what dishes, other refreshments or necessary equipment such as extra chairs, tables, or utensils. If your grill is not big enough, you can ask someone to lend his or hers or simply rent one for the occasion.
Ensure the Barbecue grill is clean and in good working order. You may want to clean and test it out first if it's been awhile. With most self cleaning grills a BBQ grill brush is sufficient. Some experts will insist the meat tastes better if you simply let the previous run burn for a few minutes on high fire before using it again.
Equipment and Utensils
Use the list above and shop for anything you are missing well in advance. During busy holidays, the stores are busy and sometimes run out.
Cooler. Keep several large coolers and buckets stocked with ice. Separate alcoholic beverages, bottled water, and sodas.
Napkins and paper towels. Paper/ plastic plates. A few different sizes. Large plates for food, smaller ones for salads or desserts.
Plastic cutlery. Knives, spoons, and forks. Disposable cups for cold drinks. If you plan on serving coffee or tea, make sure you have disposable hot-liquid cups, sugar or sweetener packets and stirring straws, as well as tea, coffee and creamer or milk. Buy nonperishable items. Buy all snack foods and non-perishable or long-lasting spreads and dips, if you're not making them yourself.
Storage containers. Ideal for leftovers.
A few Days Before
The big day is approaching fast. Time to check on those RSVPs. Call to make sure who's coming and the foods or items they plan on bringing. Prepare for any missing guests or last minute additions by adjusting your shopping list accordingly.
Setup. If you can, start setting up tables and chairs. Get all utensils and decorations. Make any foods you can in advance. Any frozen cakes or home-baked goods can be made in ahead of time. Check to make sure you have enough lighter fluid, gas, coals or wood for your grill. Gather any additional supplies, such as entertainment equipment.
It’s almost time to enjoy your time with friends and family. A few more things need to be taken care of before you can relax
Marinate. Marinate desired meats a few hours before (or even overnight)
Set up tables and chairs. Cover tables with paper or plastic tablecloths and secure so they won't blow over. Set up any decorations, such as banners, flags, or other colorful accents. If it's a hot afternoon, try to provide shade by setting up a tarp or tent, or placing tables beneath shady trees. Place garbage bags in plain sight for easy trash disposal. If it's an evening barbeque, set up citronella candles to ward off mosquitos.
Set up one or two tables buffet style. Organize plates and eating utensils at one end, with cutlery in cups for easy grabbing. Salads, side-dishes, spreads and garnishes can go on another table, just be sure you can cover perishables from heat and insect.
Grill Prep and Safety
Grill preparation. If you have a gas grill, make sure the tank is full and works properly. If you have a more traditional grill, make sure you have plenty of coal and lighter fluid. Fire up the grill. Close the top to warm up the grill properly. Clean the grill rack. Do this with a metal grill brush, and then put half an onion on metal grill fork, dip in oil and rub across the grill. This will ensure the grill is extra clean and the meat won't stick.
Ensure you have all grilling tools. They should be clean, sharp, and ready to use. Have more than one pair of tongs for different types of meat. Never touch the grill or cooking foods with your hands. When putting meat on the grill, use tools and tongs. Adjust fire levels. Make sure the fire is strong enough to cook meat though, but not to high, otherwise your food will burn.
Fire up the grill and let’s roll
Place meat on grill by time. Chicken wings, for example, take longer than other types of meat. Depending on how your guests want their red meat cooked, you may have to leave some steaks or burgers on the grill for longer. Fish is somewhere in the middle. Grill any veggies on a separate rack as well. Some veggies - like potatoes, onions, and corn on the cob - take longer. Peppers and zucchinis and tomatoes don't require much time at all.
Keep separate plates for different meats, and keep meats covered. Not only do you want to keep your grilled meats hot, but covering them keeps them from spoiling faster and protects from insects.
Rolling it all out
- Barbeque beverages for all. Bottled water is a must-have. Cans of soda or bottles are preferred at bigger parties, but you can also buy large 2-liter bottles and have guests fill their own cups. Beers and assorted bottled cocktails are good grown-up beverages
- Meat matters! Hamburgers, hot dogs, shish-kebabs and grilled chicken, ground lamb or turkey patties, grilled steaks and salmon fillets … the list is endless. Find out what the majority of your guests prefer, and go from there
- Appetizers. Crisp cut veggies with dip, chips and salsa, pita wedges with hummus or other spreads, various chips and crackers with cheese, mixed nuts and other finger-friendly foods are good for guests to munch on.
- Salads. Regular mixed green, with assorted dressings to choose from, potato, pasta, and egg salads, cole slaw and other chopped specialty salads are good to have on hand.
- Spreads, sauces, and marinades. Ketchup, mayo, mustard, relish and of course barbecue sauce are all staple flavor enhancers. What about Tabasco for spicy-lovers? Fish-eaters may want tartar or cocktail sauce. Get creative and try setting out Wasabi paste
- Garnishes. Lettuce, tomato, and raw onion are good starters to top off burgers and wraps. Various sliced cheeses for the sandwich and cheeseburger group. Go for chopped or grilled onions and mushrooms, or chili for coney-dog lovers.
- Various buns, rolls, breads, pitas and wraps. Who says all burgers have to go in a bun? Give your guests options. Try a whole-grain tortilla or onion roll.
- Side dishes. Corn on the cob is a classic favorite. You can roast potatoes and veggies on the grill, or have them as oven-baked sides.
- Dessert. Is there really always room for dessert? Leave that up to your guests. Fresh fruit salad is a great option, as it is both light, sweet, and refreshing. Even people who tend to avoid fruit will find themselves sampling this after a big barbecue.
Wear a hat and sunscreen. Try to avoid inhaling smoke from the grill. Don't leave the grill unattended for too long. If you must, close the grill, and warn children to keep clear.
After the Barbecue
The fun is over and now is time to clean up. But this can also be fun if you are well prepared. Ask a few of your guests to stay a little longer and help you cleanup.
Leftovers. Immediately wrap up perishables (leftover meats, salads, cheeses and spreads) and put in the fridge. If you have lots left over, give to willing guests. Throw away all trash, including food scraps.
Turn off the grill. Clean the grill thoroughly after use. Make sure it is still warm, as it will clean easier. Experts recommend running it at full for ten minutes to burn any excess meat/ fat.
Disinfect tables and chairs.
Store any extra unused utensils for next time. Think of our planet and reuse anything you can.
We hope you found this BBQ Checklist helpful. Are we missing anything? Do you have any tips? Use our Contact form to let us know.