Making the Perfect Summer Cookout

By: Caroline Larson

Summer is coming up, which means it’s a perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and enjoy the summer weather, yet, sometimes, pulling off the perfect summer party can seem like an overwhelming task. The Squire is here to give readers the best tips to plan the ultimate summer cookout.

Step one: Choose a time and location. Select an appropriate day for your cookout, as you want to make sure the time and date are best for the guests you’re inviting over. Check the long-range weather for a day that won’t be rainy or windy. Also, make sure your location is somewhere easy to locate, for example, your house or a local park.

Step two: Make a guest list and set an RSVP date. Your invitations do not have to be formal or presentable. A quick text to your friends can easily give guests plenty of notice to attend. Also, you can create an event on Facebook and invite friends online. The invited guests can select “going,” “maybe,” or “can’t go” right from their cellphones to give you a more accurate headcount. The invite should include event type, date, and location. Send the invitations at least a week before the party to make sure your guests have enough time to plan.

Step three: Prepare and serve your food. Make a list of everything you need to get for your cookout. The most popular foods items you can get for a cookout are hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, ribs, sweetcorn, and sandwiches. At home, you can prepare a salad bar and a variety of cut up fruits and/or vegetables. When asked about which foods are best to serve, Family and Consumer Science teacher, Mrs. Alexander, said the best foods are foods that do not need to be cooled. Ask your friends to bring a dish that everyone can enjoy as well. Some dishes, such as the burgers, hot dogs, and steaks, can be made the day of, along with desserts. Others, like sandwiches and salads, can be 1-2 days before the cookout. It’s also good to serve a variety of drinks that everyone will enjoy. Some drink ideas are punch, lemonade, iced tea, and soda. Don’t forget about your s’mores supplies either!

Make sure you know what you’re cooking specifically for the cookout. If you are using a grill, decided whether you want to use a propane grill or a charcoal grill. Mrs. Alexander states the differences by saying, “Charcoal grills have a distinct flavor. The benefits of propane are that they are more consistent for cooking and can use the propane for another time. On the other hand, charcoal is a one-time use.” She also gives tips when cooking for your cookout saying, “Even though you are cooking on a grill, the inside may be raw so you should bring a thermometer. Make sure to have raw meat plate and a cooked meat plate.” If you are putting out desserts, Mrs. Alexander suggests making things that are easy to clean up and easy to handle. She also suggests serving foods that can hit all the nutrient groups – proteins, fruits, veggies, and grains.

Step four: Provide entertainment. Don’t bore your friends by just sitting around and eating; make sure you have something you can your guests can do. Grab a Bluetooth speaker and play songs all your friends can enjoy. Make a fire out in the yard you can sit around and visit. Set up fun games for entertainment, such as beanbag toss. It’s a simple game, but it requires a little luck and skill. Other games you could set up can be horseshoes, Kan Jam, or ladder ball.

Now that you’ve sorted out the important details, all that is left to set up tables and place the foods. Start that fire and play the music. You are ready to start your summer cookout. Enjoy time with friends and make long-lasting memories.

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