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5 Tips For Hosting The Perfect Backyard Cook Out


We love to host cook outs at our house with family and friends. I guarantee we will be hosting one almost every single weekend this summer with various friends and family attending. It’s what we do. Over the years we have perfected the art of hosting the perfect backyard cook out, or as we call it here in the South- the BBQ. 

1. Do the food pot luck and buffet style. This is very important or you’ll end up in the kitchen the entire time. I usually send out a mass text to all the friends and family we’re inviting with details about what we need. For example, last weekend I sent out a text saying we were cooking pork chops and hot dogs and asking for people to bring side dishes, hot dog buns, and sodas. We had a lovely spread with pasta salads, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, and cake! It was great. And so easy. I lay everything out in the kitchen in stations to make it easier. One counter has plates, napkins, cups and silverware. The next has all the side dishes. And the last has the desserts. Everything flows clockwise to avoid congestion and I don’t have to worry about serving people. 

2. Provide lots of drinks. I keep one of our outdoor fridges fully stocked with drinks- kids drinks, sodas, water, gatorade, beer, and adult beverages. When we’re ready for our cookout I transfer kids drinks, water, and sodas to a big ice filled tub and then beer and adult drinks go into another ice filled bucket. I periodically check to see what needs to be refilled throughout the cookout. 

3. Plan a variety of activities. We always have the hot tub open with the jets on. We have corn hole in the yard and depending on the temps and the time of day we have the gas fire pit going. When our cookout runs into the evening we fire up an outdoor movie for the kids. 

4. Always have shade and sunscreen. I keep a can of spray sunscreen in the drink bucket for guests to use. It’s chilled and feels so good when you’re hot. We have 2 big umbrellas on the deck for shade and we keep the AC down low for people who need to cool off inside. It gets really hot here- up to 102-106 during the summer- and the last thing I want is guests dropping from heat exhaustion.

5. Consider the ambiance. You want your guests to feel relaxed and the best way to do that is to consider the ambiance you’ve created. We always blast tunes through a wireless speaker from my Summer Fun playlist. If it’s dark enough outside I toss some glow sticks in the hot tub. We have solar string lights around the hot tub and the deck railings that don’t attract as many bugs. And I light tiki torches in the yard. 

 Hosting the perfect backyard cook out doesn’t take much work, just some planning. And all the planning ensures you get to have as good a time as your guests! 


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