19 Jan 2016

There’s nothing like hosting a barbecue during the warmer months of the year. When it’s hot outside, the smell of onion and meat cooking on the grill while you sit back and relax with a cold drink is about as good as it can get. There are a few things to keep in mind when hosting a barbecue, to ensure your guests are still talking about those steaks long after they leave.

There’s nothing like hosting a barbecue during the warmer months of the year. When it’s hot outside, the smell of onion and meat cooking on the grill while you sit back and relax with a cold drink is about as good as it can get.

There are a few things to keep in mind when hosting a barbecue, to ensure your guests are still talking about those steaks long after they leave. Here we’ve created the ultimate checklist for any host looking to pull off the barbecue event of the year.

Give your barbecue a good once over

Hosting a great barbecue starts by ensuring that the barbecue itself is in perfect working condition. Give the plates, grill, and even the drip tray a good scrub with a barbecue brush, and wash with soapy water. To prevent rust, make sure you give the plates and grill a little oil before putting them back on the barbecue. The key to maintaining your barbecue is looking after it with each use. Always remove any excess food from the grill and plate each time you use the barbecue; investing in tools like a high quality scraper will make this task easier.

Once everything looks good just make sure you’ve got enough gas and you’re good to go!

Ask guests to bring a plate

In most instances when you are hosting a barbecue, guests will ask you what you would like them to bring. If you want to keep control of the barbecue, ask people to bring snacks, salads, side dishes or a dessert. Alternatively, you could ask everyone to bring their own meat and it’ll be up to you to provide all of the side dishes. It all depends on how you want to go about it and how comfortable you feel letting others use your grill.

Meat for the barbecue

A great barbecue starts with having outstanding meat to cook. This is where the bulk of your budget should go when it comes to hosting a barbecue. Invest in quality steak, ribs, sausages, and chicken skewers so that there is a real variety to choose from. It’s better to have a surplus of meat than not enough, as leftovers can still always be enjoyed the following day. Hamburger patties are always a great way to provide outstanding meat from the grill for less. Just have a range of gourmet condiments to use and some pickles for those who want to create their very own American style cheeseburger, and you’re set.

Cook to perfection

While having the right meat is important, being able to cook it right makes all the difference. To get that really delicious barbecue taste infused into the meat, using the grill as opposed to the flat plate is a must. You can always start by using the plate and finish with a minute or two on the grill to get those grill lines going.

Barbecuing basics:

Always make sure your barbecue is warmed up and very hot before you start cooking,
Remove steak from the fridge 15 minutes before cooking so that it has time to reach room temperature before hitting the grill, and
Always allow meat to ‘rest’ after cooking under some loose foil before serving to guests.

Vegetarian options

While every Australian enjoys a good barbecue, not everyone eats meat. Make sure that you have some delicious vegetarian options available too. Some vegetable patties as well as corn, zucchini, eggplant, and capsicum taste fantastic when cooked on the barbecue.

The all important bread rolls

A variety of bread rolls is a staple item at every barbecue. Buy a selection of white and wholemeal rolls, and if you will be cooking sausages ensure you have long hotdog rolls and burger buns if you’re cooking patties.

Drinks

Although it’s mostly assumed that barbecues are BYO alcohol, it’s a good idea to have a case of beer and some white, red, and sparkling wine for your guests to enjoy. A selection of soft drinks and sparkling water is also preferable for non drinkers. A good idea is to have one large esky filled with alcoholic beverages, and one with soft drinks and water.

Entertainment

No barbecue is complete without some great background music. For the ultimate Aussie barbecue experience choose a 90s style rock playlist. For non-musical entertainment and ambience, a bocce or croquet set will keep those who like to keep busy enthralled while you’re cooking lunch.

Create the right atmosphere

For an enjoyable barbecue experience you want to ensure you and your guests can enjoy a delicious lunch in ambient surrounds. This starts by having the right amount of outdoor furniture so that everyone isn’t eating in their laps. If you don’t have enough room for everyone at your table setting, simply put down some picnic rugs and cushions so that some guests can enjoying lounging on the grass if they feel like.

If your barbecue is set to start after dark or continue from the afternoon into the evening, having some fairy lights hung along the fence and citronella candles scattered throughout the yard will not only look great, but will also hopefully keep the mosquitos at bay.

Keep the clean up to a minimum

It makes sense that if you’re hosting a barbecue you are going to want to make the cleanup as easy and stress free as possible. For that reason using plastic or paper plates as well as disposable cutlery, cups, and napkins is highly recommended. No one expects that you’ll be getting out your formal setting for a backyard barbecue, so disposables are completely acceptable. Make sure you have a bin close by in your  backyard so that guests are able to dispose of their rubbish and food scraps as they go.

Consider the neighbours

If you’re living in close quarters with your neighbours – like most people – why not invite them over! If this isn’t something you’re keen on, it could be nice instead to simply let them know what the start time and rough finishing time will be, especially if they do shift work or have a baby. Taking the time to let your neighbours know will make sure there are no words exchanged over the back fence during your barbecue.

The perfect way to bring in the summer is to host an all out Australian barbecue. If you follow the advice we’ve listed above, hosting the barbecue of the season isn’t something that’s out of the question.