How to Throw a Stress-Free Summer BBQ


Ah, the backyard BBQ. Our favorite form of summer entertainment. There’s nothing better than kicking back with friends and family on a warm summer evening under the stars. But don’t let the laidback vibe of these gatherings fool you. There’s a lot of work involved in DIY party planning! So sit back, take a deep breath and follow these five easy steps to make your summer BBQ a stress-free success.

Go potluck on the sides. Entertaining in large numbers can take a bite out of your wallet. To help offset some of the costs, ask that guests bring along dishes to share. To avoid duplication, delegation is key. Reach out directly to guest to request pre-dinner snacks, salads, fresh fruit or desserts. That’s how you avoid, say, side dishes consisting exclusively of veggie platters. Because, let’s be honest, no one wants that. 

Make time with make-ahead recipes. So as to appear cool, calm and collected when your guests arrive, choose easy, make-ahead recipes. After all, it’s hard to enjoy the company of your guests when you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off checking on this, that and who knows what else…or whipping up one last little dish, just real quick. We’re particularly fond of these Crock Pot Ribs from one our go-to bloggers, Your Homebased Mom, or these BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. (Important: Whatever you make, be sure to use extra strong, sturdy disposable plates and napkins à la Chinet® Classic White™ Collection.)

Choose pitcher-perfect drinks. Make a large batch of a crowd-pleaser beverage and let everyone be their own bartender. Not to mention, colorful summertime drinks just look pretty, too. Our Cuban Limeade recipe is refreshing, light and just right for the season. Have lime wedges and fresh mint leaves at the ready so guests can garnish their own. For a non-alcoholic option, try our take on Cherry Sangria. Bonus: Make the cocktails ahead of time and that’s one more item taken care of on your party-planning checklist.

Let the yard games begin. Giant Jenga, yard Yahtzee, cornhole, ladder golf – all classic yard games worthy of a little competitive fire at your BBQ. You can make some of these games yourself (if you’re feelings ambitious), or you can likely find them at your local sporting goods store. And if not there, Amazon. Definitely Amazon. For the kids, we recommend a good ol’ fashioned potato sack race. It’s fun for the whole family and the kids can help make these Festive Finish Line Banners beforehand.

Light up the night. Supplement the stars with this festive Glittered Cup Garland using our Chinet® Cut Crystal® 9 oz. cups. Use a gold string of lights for a more classic look, or if you’re feeling bold, opt for a colored strand. Once finished, string along your veranda, fence, patio or deck for a most memorable ambience.