Everyone loves a big backyard barbecue with friends and family, but it can be stressful for the grill master. Each of us wants our guests to be blown away by our grill skills. When grilling for a big party, a few simple decisions can make the difference between fun and fiasco. Expert grillers use these tips to make sure every BBQ get-together goes smooth. Afterall, no one wants to remember the big grilling party where the cook couldn’t take the heat.
Plan Your Barbecue Ahead of Time
The biggest mistake grill masters make when cooking for a big party is not spending enough time planning the meal. Planning is more than just making sure you have plates and napkins, it means organizing the meal from start to finish.
Pick the Menu
The first thing to plan is a menu. Remember to take into consideration that some people have dietary restrictions. Some of your guests may not eat certain types of proteins or may have nut or grain allergies. A simple way to plan ahead is to provide a few options. A good menu planning step is to pick two or more proteins, like chicken and beef, pork and fish, or you can mix in wild game. This way, the menu will include items for everyone.
Plan for the Number of Guests
It can be very challenging to figure how many people are going to attend a backyard barbecue. But nothing disappoints guests more than running out of food too early. A good tip to estimate the number of guests planning to attend a summer BBQ is by using social media. Sites like Facebook allow users to invite people to events and can help figure out how many people might show up.
You should estimate between ¼ and ½ pound of each type of protein per person. This typically gives enough meat for everyone to get their fill without a ton of waste.
Plan for Cooking
Buy enough charcoal, smoker pellets, or propane to get through the cooking session. This may seem like an obvious step, but it’s overlooked way too often, and it’ll happen to almost anyone at some point. A tip for any grilling party is to always have a backup fuel source. An extra propane tank, a spare bag of pellets or charcoal, or even a spare cooking device can save the day if the fire goes out.
If the plan is to smoke a roast or some other time-consuming recipe, make sure to get an early start. A smoked pork Boston Butt Roast, for example, can take as long as 10 hours. A valuable tip: have in mind a time to serve the main meal. This way, even a really long smoke will be done on time.
Organization is Key to a Successful Party
Aside from planning out your barbecue, actually getting everything in order ahead of time will make the day go smooth. There are many steps that can be taken the night before a party, so there's less work for your to worry about the morning of.
One tip is to organize your proteins so that the first meat on the grill will be the one that takes the longest to cook. Organizing your meat by cooking time will get everything done at the right time without overcooking anything or worrying about stuff getting cold.
Seasoning your proteins overnight will enhance flavors and give a terrific finished product. The Bearded Butcher Blend Seasonings are a great way to get the best, all-natural flavor for your feast.
Many side dishes are also better when made the day before. A big bowl of potato salad or macaroni salad can be kept in the refrigerator overnight and all the various flavors will have a chance to meld together. Even a mixed green salad can be made ahead of time, just leave the dressing off until it’s time to serve!
Grilling Party Menu Suggestions
Below are some of our favorite grilling party favorites we love making for friends and family. Some tips for getting the best grilled meats are included.
Burgers & Dogs
What’s more American than BBQ burgers and hotdogs? Inexpensive, easy, and simple to cook, this pedestrian classic can easily be transformed into gourmet greatness with the Original Bearded Butcher Blend Seasoning. The secret to great burgers is to keep the meat cold and handle it as little as possible. For a party of around 30 people, get 12-15 lbs of ground hamburger meat. Higher fat content will give a juicier burger. Try using the Bearded Butcher Chipotle Blend Seasoning with bacon, avocado, and pepper jack cheese toppings.
Try mixing up the traditional hot dogs with homemade kielbasa, bratwurst, or andouille sausage. An electric sausage maker gives the grill master the opportunity to get creative with flavors. The Bearded Butcher Cajun or Hot Seasoning Blends make an amazing addition to spice up your sausage.
Chicken is one of the best proteins for a big party. It cooks fast, is delicious, and is tremendously versatile. Mix up chicken offerings by grilling wings, drumsticks and thighs, and breast meat. Whole chickens are often affordable, and give the opportunity to practice knife skills. The Victorinox Swiss Army Boning knife is the perfect tool for quickly breaking down a batch of whole chickens.
Smoked Pork Butt Roast
Pork butt roasts are inexpensive and make just about the best pulled pork BBQ sandwiches ever. Using a smoker makes cooking a pork roast almost effortless. Timing is everything here. A smoked roast can take as long as 10 hours to finish, so planning ahead is vital. Wrap the roast in aluminum foil toward the end of cooking to get perfect pulled pork. The Bearded Butcher BBQ Sauce is absolutely perfect for a mouth-watering pulled pork sandwich.
Don't Forget About the Sides
Grilling is more than just meat. Cooking many side dishes on the grill is fast and economical. A few quick tips can elevate grilled side dishes.
A baked potato on the grill takes on the smoky flavors and simply explodes with fluffy, deliciousness. Try making a simple brine with hot water, plenty of salt, and some herbs like a few bay leaves and a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Let the potatoes soak for a few hours, then remove and let dry a little. This is another time when our original seasoning blend is an excellent addition. A few drops of olive or grapeseed oil, then a healthy shake of seasonings will get the potatoes ready. Wrap them in heavy-duty foil and put them on the grill until they are soft. Leftovers can be cut up and fried for the best country potatoes ever.
Corn on the Cob:
Nothing says summer like those gorgeous yellow and white ears of corn glistening with melted butter. Many people shuck and boil corn, bake it in the oven, or wrap it for the grill, but here is a great tip. Instead of shucking the corn, trim off the corn silk and place the ear right on the grill, husk and all. Keep rolling the ears around as the husk will start to burn. When all sides have a lightly charred look to them, pull the corn and shuck it. Heat resistant gloves come in handy for this task.
Final Tips for the Best BBQ Party
The most important thing to remember is to have fun and don't stress too much about the grilling. Grilling and summer BBQs are times for family and friends. By planning ahead and making good decisions, even a massive grilling block party can be stress-free and fun.
One Last Tip for Grilling for a Party
Invest in a remote digital meat thermometer. These handy gadgets allow the cook to stay social while keeping an eye on cooking and grill temperatures. We really like the ThermoPro TP20, but we like to give you options. So we put together a whole post dedicated to the best wireless meat thermometers. Enjoy these tips and take advantage of opportunities to show off master grill skills.
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