The grass is green, the pool is blue, and it’s time for a summer barbecue. Grilling parties are all too common during the hot months of July and August, and there are few joys purer than spending an afternoon outside with friends and good food. Yet, sometimes hosts can become overwhelmed by their responsibilities. After all, the party hosts are tasked with supplying nearly everything at the party ― from the space to the tools to the music to the food ― while guests merely show up and have a good time.
To be the best barbecue guest you can possibly be, here are some tips for what to bring to your next barbecue to help the host (and everyone else) relax and unwind in the summer sun.
Things to Definitely Not Bring
Perhaps more important than what you bring is what you leave at home. Most hosts will be more than thrilled to see you arrive with something in your hands ― as long as it isn’t one of the following.
Kids. Not all barbecues are family-friendly, so it is essential to ask the host before you tote in your toddlers. Usually, it isn’t a matter of excluding boring parents from summer escapades; rather, it is to ensure the safety of your little ones, who could burn themselves on the grill, fall in the pool, or succumb to some other tragedy at an adults-only party.
Strangers. Unless you are heading to a college house party, you absolutely must inform the host of any guests you want to bring. Though you might feel magnanimous inviting your loner pal to the shindig, your other friends might feel awkward around a newcomer, which will ruin the barbecue for everyone.
Tobacco. Even smokers don’t particularly enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke, especially during what should be a refreshing and delicious outdoor barbecue. Instead, you should pack some disposable e-cigs, which are just as convenient and not rude towards others who may not want to be around the smell of cigarette smoke.
Cheap Beer. You aren’t fooling anyone when you say you actually prefer the taste of Rolling Rock. Your friend went to the trouble of arranging a fantastic barbecue; the least you can do is bring some good beer.
Grillables and Snacks
Most likely, the host will have a few barbecue dishes planned, including franks and burgers. However, showing up with a few more treats to throw on the grill or dollop onto plates certainly doesn’t hurt. It is polite to ask the host for suggestions before the party to ensure you don’t bring something they are already offering, but having double the food usually isn’t a terrible taboo. Some food ideas that never go wrong include:
- A fruit dish. Cut up watermelon with some mint or put pineapple on skewers for the grill.
- A refreshing veggie. Cole slaw is super easy if you have a food processor.
- A dessert. Pie, cake, cookies, brownies, cereal treats, s’mores ― it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s sweet.
If you aren’t the type to experiment in the kitchen, you can pick up a case of nice, cool beer or cider or a bottle of sparkling wine ― or, if it’s that type of barbecue, a few liters of soda. However, you might also consider preparing a special drink for the occasion. There are all sorts of summer punch recipes perfect for barbecues, and many of them only a little planning to pull off. You can definitely find dispensers at your local grocery store to make the presentation as delicious as the drink.
On one hand, music sets the tone of a party, making it one of the most important elements for a successful barbecue. On the other hand, it is often the last thing hosts think of during their party
preparations. Instead of resorting to a pre-made Spotify playlist, you can make the party great by supplying excellent tunes. Before the party, you can compile your own mix on Spotify (or another online playlist creator). If you have superior sound equipment, you might bring that along, too.
It is possible to have a barbecue without swimming ― but most people agree having a body of water nearby is a far superior way to party. If you know your hosts have a pool (or access to a beach) you might bring along some wet and wild toys to keep energy up all night long.
Floaties, like the currently trending pizza raft and doughnut tube, will help non-swimmers feel more comfortable in the water, while games like pool volleyball or pool beer pong can provide some
competitive fun. You don’t need to supply enough for everyone, as long as everyone gets a chance to play.