How to Have a Standout BBQ of the Year – Tips for the Newbie Griller


New to the world of grilling? But want to host a killer BBQ that will show off your fancy new grill or yet-to-be-used smoker? The good news is that grilling and BBQing are easy on greenhorns. And there are ways to keep the spirits high that have little to do with how perfectly cooked your tri-tip is.

Here is how to host a memorable BBQ that will have any beginner look like a pro.

1. Nail your sides

Okay, so the meat is not ready. And your stellar conversation has just about run out. Now is about the time to take a moment and say a word of thanks for having prepared sides. Side dishes will save your bacon 9 times out of 10. And the best thing about sides is that you don’t need to prepare them yourself.

When sending out invites, inevitably, (if you have the right type of friends) you’ll be asked what they should bring. Do not fall prey to the typical rookie move of waving their offer away. Instead, work through your list of side dishes that go well with grilled meats. Potato salad, fruit trays, macaroni and cheese are all good choices. The more food, the merrier. To be on the safe side, stock up on chips and salsa to tide you over if your friends are less than reliable. Chips are everyone’s friend.

2. Brand that bun

So this is a move only for the bold. But if you are serious about standing out and elevating your game, try out these branding irons for adding a logo to your hamburger bun. You can use your initials, or for the less ego-driven among us, the logo of your favorite sports team, etc.

Branded buns are a trend that we are seeing a lot of this summer. And who better to lead the way and introduce it to your friends than you? There are other ways you can make a splash, but this one requires little to no work on your part, which increases its appeal many times over.

3. Get it hot early

It’s called preheating, and you should let your grill preheat before putting anything over the flames. Even if you have a strong fire going, if you have not preheated your grill, you could get meat stuck to metal. Which will not impress anyone.

How to preheat? Simply cover your grill for 5 to 10 minutes after you have a fire going. After it’s been preheated, you will find flipping those cuts to be a breeze. For more grill tips, see this great list put together by Serious Eats.

4. Real men hydrate

Whether or not you see your BBQ as an excuse to drink beer, you should also include non-alcoholic beverages when you stock up on drinks. Standing around in the heat of summer, plus the heat of a cook out, add alcohol to the mix, and you have a darn good recipe for dehydration. No matter how fantastic your food tastes, no one has good memories of a BBQ event where they had one too many drinks and no water to offset getting sick.

So if you want to skip cleaning up after people, consider adding lemonade or infused water to the drink line up.

5. Soundtrack the afternoon.

Having a chill playlist will not only set up the right vibe to your event. But if you turn the music up, it can also save you from talking to that friend-of-a-friend who somehow wound up being invited. Here’s a list of best summer time songs created by Rolling Stone that will impress your friends with your impeccable taste in music. And give you a soundtrack that will forever remind you of the great BBQ you hosted. Get your phone hooked up to some speakers because you’ll want to play this music loud and proud.


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