Don’t overthink the barbecue*

5349926932_2aeac57847_zSummer is a great time for getting together with friends and family. If you want to be sure to go to a lot of summer parties, your best bet is to host them.

But wait, you say. I’m busy! Hosting a party is a lot of work! Well, it can be. But it doesn’t have to be.

We’ve had a couple of groups of friends and family over the last few weekends, and it’s been a good time. Our approach is to get the summer party down to a routine. 

The drink menu is beer and wine and juice boxes for the kids. Margaritas and scotch can come out later if guests are staying overnight. (I bought sparkling juice for the non-drinkers but no one’s taken me up on it yet).

Appetizers include cut up veggies and hummus, and chips, salsa and guacamole.

We do steaks on the grill, with hot dogs for the kids. We get enough corn on the cob for everyone, and we either do sweet potato fries in the oven or kale chips depending on how healthy I think people are willing to go. Sometimes we throw the extra veggies from the appetizers (the peppers at least) on the grill too.

The most complicated dish in all of this is the guacamole, and that only involves four ingredients (avocado, hot sauce, onion, salt). But it all tastes pretty good! We often have enough steak left over for lunches during the week.

I have marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers in the pantry for s’mores, but often people are so stuffed we don’t get that far.

All of this can be purchased on my regular weekly grocery shopping trip if I know we’ll be having a party that weekend. It’s pretty simple, and we’re not too stressed about cooking to have a good time.

What’s your summer cook-out menu?

*To my mind, “barbecue” means pig or chicken in a sweet sauce, cooked for a long slow time, but I was born in North Carolina before moving to Indiana. Out here on the east coast, I’ve learned that “barbecue” just means grilling.

Photo courtesy flickr user vxla

11 thoughts on “Don’t overthink the barbecue*

  1. I’m thinking of having a grilling night this summer with friends. (Of course, I’d have to start early to claim the apartment complex’s grill before someone else does.) The menu I’m thinking of includes chicken & skirt steak (marinated beforehand), veggie kabobs (zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers), fruit, wine, beer, and water. That was the menu for a potluck grilling evening I had with friends last year, and the food was delicious.

  2. BBQ is my “secret weapon” for getting my husband to help out on the dinner prep – he views the grill as his domain, so when I want him to cook, I just plan grilled meals. He’s usually happy to do it, and I’m happy to share the load 🙂

    1. @Pamela – ah yes, the gender division of the grill. There is probably a whole blog post to be written on this — why cooking over coals seems inherently manly to some people, but not making mac and cheese on the (indoor) stove.

        1. @The Frugal Girl – gas or charcoal? Ours is charcoal — we like the flavor — but I realize I probably would be grilling more myself on a gas grill.

  3. My husband loves to grill, and weekend dinners are always his responsibility… so once it starts staying light late enough, we end up grilling once a weekend. As you say, it makes a relatively easy way to entertain, too. He usually does some sort of meat and corn and zucchini, occasionally also mushrooms. Common meats are sausages and flank steak. If he’s feeling like making something fancier, he has a recipe for chicken skewers that we like.

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