How to host the ultimate barbecue party

The Ritcey Report

Written by Lynn Healy-Goulet
June 29, 2017

Mmmmm, BBQ. We defy anyone to resist the lure of BBQ – that delicious ritual of food cooked on a fire. It signifies summer, sunshine and socializing.

Your idea of the ultimate BBQ party might be as simple as a casual backyard get-together with burgers and hot dogs. Or it may stretch to an elegant garden party serving cedar-planked salmon, buttery grilled lobsters or herbed filet mignons. Whatever approach you take, the key to BBQ success is – as in wealth management – all about planning.

Pick the date

Defining your party is a matter of figuring out its level of formality. The more formal the party the further in advance you should send out invitations. Unless your BBQ is an impromptu, spur-of-the-moment occasion – then no problem. Just call up your friends and invite them over.

However, if you’re planning a more formal affair send out your invitations or e-vites early. Remember that summer is a busy time for most people. Picking a theme for your BBQ – Canada Day, Midsummers Night, Surf & Turf, Jamaican Jerk – (the list is endless) can help eliminate some of the guesswork about what to grill and what to pour.

The right tool for the right job

The right tool for the right job is a good motto. Know your equipment and its capabilities. Is it clean, in good working order and is the tank full? Arm yourself with the tools of the trade: BBQ starter or Bic clicker thing-a-ma-bob, tongs, skewers, metal spatulas, brushes, veggie grill baskets, flame proof oven mitts, fire extinguisher. Do you want to try adding wood chips, or grilling on cedar planks or using a smoker? Is the hibachi going to be big enough or do you need a mega 75000 BTU unit?

Food and drink

A multitude of options abound here. Again, it depends on your party atmosphere or theme. Online recipes covering every kind of BBQ’d food imaginable are just a Google search away. So are creative ideas for unique cocktails and beverages. Don’t forget to provide alcohol-free drink options and make provision for the non-meat eaters on your guest list too. Plan food that you are comfortable and skilled at BBQing to avoid disappointments and lessen your stress.

The venue

Nothing says party like decorations. If you have chosen a theme, decorate accordingly. Flowers, colourful table settings, novel props, party favors – all play a vital role in making your BBQ a memorable event.

Creating a fun and lively environment goes a long way to help break the ice. And speaking of ice, make sure there’s lots on hand for drinks and for keeping cold foods cold. Consider putting up a tent or canopies in case of rain or as shade providers. Also provide your guests with ample seating and places where to put drinks and plates down.
Don’t forget music and entertainment. Create a summer playlist of favourite tunes that complement your party’s theme. Make the mood fit the food!

BBQing in the evening? Consider the lighting – tiki torches, candles and lanterns add ambience to any patio or garden. Or install a cozy fire pit and bring on the s’mores! Don’t forget the bug repellent.

Hassle-free serving and clean up

Unless you have hired help, do yourself the ultimate favour. Opt for sturdy, disposable/ recyclable plates, bowls, cutlery, napkins and glassware. Or choose re-useable acrylic tableware that is dishwasher proof and can be used again throughout the season. Place plenty of waste receptacles around your property to ensure clean up is fast and easy.

Last but not least

Remember you are the host with the most – if you are relaxed and enjoying yourself chances are your guests will be too.

Dave Ritcey, The Ritcey Team, Scotia Wealth Management