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To make the most of your summer cookouts, you need the best grilling tools to accompany you. Apart from the grill itself, you need to have a good grilling toolset. Get yourself a high-quality spatula, tongs, and cleaning brush.

A sturdy tray is a must-have item too! This tool lets you carry things from the kitchen to the grill in one easy step. Pick a tray that can keep things from sliding off and that’s easy to clean up.

Grilling planks, on the other hand, are perfect for BBQ-brushed, plank-grilled salmon and chicken. Don’t forget the ol’ grilling basket on your list! This tool lets you cook veggies and other small items like shrimp, without losing them through the grates.

And if you’re someone who takes pleasure in learning new recipes, a BBQ cookbook is essential. Discover a great range of delicious recipes for meats and sides, and get inspired to expand your cooking and grilling skills.

43. Use Smaller Plates

Paper plates are great for outdoor parties. Not only are they easy to clean up, but also they’re also affordable. If you’re looking for ways to save money when hosting a BBQ party – use smaller plates. Hear us out!

Don’t use dinner plates. The bigger the plate, the more food you’ll waste because people feel the need to fill their plates. Small paper plates are a great alternative.

It’s a subtle difference that makes such an impact on the wallet by keeping people from wasting food. After all, if your guests are still hungry after their first round, they can always go back for seconds!

44. Serve Food in a Bowl

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If you’re hosting a BBQ party for kids or for friends, treat them to that cosy campfire vibe in your own backyard. Throw in some interesting stories, e.g. ghost stories or something silly from when you were younger – anything goes!

Of course, don’t forget to serve some marshmallows roast with graham crackers and chocolate over a fire pit. Have fun listening to random stories with a lip-smacking batch of ooey-gooey s’mores!

46. Finishing Touches

Being a host is more than just saying, ‘Hey, come over and eat some grilled food’. Think about how you can make your BBQ party more entertaining and enjoyable.

Here are some finishing touches you could consider before, during, and after the party.

  • Count the chairs and make sure there’s enough for everyone to seat.
  • Set your WiFi password to something that can be easily typed by the guests. You may also want to rename your WiFi to the name of the party theme or something related to it.
  • Prepare accessible bins so everyone can deposit their empties and make cleaning up and recycling easier.
  • Make sure your home, including your guest bedroom (if you have one), is clean. Tidy up before your guests arrive. Prepare your guest room so it’s ready for people to stay in. If you don’t have one, you can arrange blankets and pillows for them to crash on the couch.

47. Get Creative With Grilling

Looking for ways to elevate your barbecuing without breaking the bank? Then it’s time to get creative.

For hot dogs, there are many delicious and inexpensive ways to dress them up. One way is to set up a hot dog bar, showcasing a wide variety of toppings, such as:

  • The OG sauces like ketchup, yellow mustard, and spicy mustard
  • Nacho cheese
  • Coleslaw
  • Sliced green onions
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced cucumbers and carrots
  • Hot sauce
  • Sliced jalapeno peppers
  • Bacon bits
  • French fries

Shish kebabs, on the other hand, make an excellent budget-friendly barbecue option, allowing you to spend less on meat while providing your guests with plenty of delicious, healthy vegetables.

You can make this dish out of beef, chicken, lamb, or even tofu. Whatever you choose, cut it into cubes that are 1 to 1.5 inches around.

Chicken thighs aren’t easy to cube though, so cut them into strips and fold them in half. For the veggies and fruits, you may include some from the lists on your kabobs:

  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Mango

Don’t forget the skewers!

48. Go Potluck

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If you haven’t done a dinner buffet BBQ party before, then it’s time to do so! Spread everything you’re serving on the table, and let your guests help themselves.

Trust us, people love to do this as it feels more casual and fun! Your family and friends will definitely enjoy this kind of party set-up as well.

50. Planning Your Cookout

An American grilled-food tradition, BBQs are foods that are typically cooked outside, shared, and eaten in the most casual way, be it a garden gathering, at parks, or on the beach (and even in parking lots and on rooftops!).

The first course that may first come to your mind are hot dogs or hamburgers, or both. But there’s a great selection of mouthwatering grilled foods that can be served to the crowd.

From steaks to pork, salads, even fish – along with a variety of traditional dishes, you have plenty of options to choose from, so don’t stick to the usual burger and hot dogs party. Try new ingredients that will please family and friends, and have a successful cookout.

51. Steaks

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Planning to cook tough cuts of pork, such as shoulder, or tender cuts like chops? 

Here’s a quick and effective tip: over low heat for a long time. Rendering it quickly over higher heat. Trust us your pork cooking chops will wow your BBQ guests.

53. Chicken

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The golden rule in cooking burgers on the grill is to leave them alone. Avoid flipping them over and over, and never squash them with your spatula. The more you press down on the meat, the more likely that you’re pressing out the juiciness. 

For the freshest patty ever, ask the butcher to grind the meat, or you can do it yourself. For those who don’t eat meat but would love to get a taste of BBQ burgers, consider adding vegetarian black bean and mushroom veggie burgers to the menu.

55. Hotdogs and Sausages

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The good thing about serving kebabs at BBQ parties is that they can please any type of eater, including vegetarians. Not only are they easy to prepare (with the help of skewers), but also they provide a great way to feed a crowd.

You can alternate the chunks of marinated meat or fish with vegetables, such as onion, bell pepper, and whole button mushrooms.
Top tip: Don’t fill the skewers with too many ingredients so you can cook the kebab fully and evenly.

57. Grilled Fish

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Another staple of BBQ parties is the potato salad. To spruce up your version of this fan-favourite BBQ side, you can try a new recipe like Chinese potato salad or Greek potato salad, along with traditional hot dogs or burgers.

You can also create a recipe using grilled or sweet potatoes.

59. Coleslaw

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Take advantage of fresh produce from the market or in your garden by serving summer salads at your BBQ party. Perfect for both kids and adults, salads can add some crunch and colour to your BBQ!

Discover and try new recipes like a Thai cucumber salad or Spanish summer salad.

61. Corn

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For most, ketchup and mustard are the BBQ sauce standards. If you’re one of those, that’s fine. But why not make your BBQ party the talk of the town by introducing some new flavours?

Mix things up a bit and make your summer party more enjoyable and memorable with creative condiment options for your guests to enjoy! If you plan to serve burgers or hotdogs, here are a few basic toppings and condiments that are a great place to start.

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickles

But if you want to spice things up this summer, here are some less common condiments and tried-and-true topping choices you might want to add.

  • Bacon
  • Jalapenos
  • Avocado
  • Onion Rings
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Honey Mustard
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Pineapple Slices
  • Salsa
  • Chilli
  • Sauteed Mushrooms
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Sauerkraut

Want something spicy on the menu? Check out these spicy toppings ideas.

  • Sriracha
  • Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce
  • Giardiniera
  • Mango Salsa
  • Corn Salsa
  • Kimchi
  • Wasabi

Top tip: Don’t forget to add labels to avoid any mishaps.

63. Go Extra With Ranch Zucchini Fries (add Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries)

Sure, french fries are a good and the perfect combination for burgers and hot dogs, but have you heard about ranch zucchini fries? If you want to serve a healthy vegetarian alternative side dish, you don’t want to miss this out!

According to many, zucchini fries come out like french fries (but better). Thanks to the ranch breadcrumb coating, these zucchini fries are on a whole new level of deliciousness.

All you have to do is to cut the zucchini into half-inch strips, then prepare the bread crumbs mixed with seasoning and parmesan cheese. Dip the zucchini strips into egg mixture and then roll them into the bread crumb mixture. 

Bake for 35 minutes and enjoy! Trust us – this recipe will satisfy any french fry connoisseur.

64. Don’t Forget the Grilled Shrimp

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This simple and easy-to-make homemade dish will be adored by your guests. You can try it out with classic tomato salsa and a few spices, such as cumin, chilli, powder, and cayenne. Then, add a shot of silver tequila on the side for some grown-up flavour.

This salsa is perfect for vegan or vegetarians. It’s delicious and healthy (minus the shot), and can be paired with chips or tacos, or eaten alone.

66. S’more Station for the Win!

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Who says wearing swimwear is just for people going to the beach? Playing water balloon pinata is a great excuse for the whole family to wear swimsuits in the garden and to cool down on a hot summer day while enjoying some grilled meat and cold refreshment!

All you have to do is fill up the balloons with some water, hang them, and start whacking. For a more thorough guide, you can read KiwiCo’s DIY ultimate-bbq-party-ideas-70-tiki-torches

Fuel-lit torches provide fantastic ambient lighting. At the same time, the flickering flame can give off a sense of comfort and excitement. When used with citronella, torches can also fend off mosquitoes and other nighttime insects.

They make an excellent and affordable alternative to lighting up your summer BBQ party or outdoor dinner party as well. Perfect for the summertime, you can make your backyard more festive by adding tiki torches as decorations. 

You can use tiki torches to light up your patios, decks, and walkways where you’ll hold your BBQ party. Make sure to leave about 6 to 8 feet in-between each one to allow people to move around without the danger of catching on fire though!

71. Choose the Right Grill for You: Charcoal or Gas?

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Cocktails are delicious and are a must-have at BBQ parties, especially if your guests are adults. When it comes to the signature flavours, check out this Blackberry mojito recipe.

If you’re serving it only for two people, prepare these ingredients (courtesy of ultimate-bbq-party-ideas-75-set-up-lemonade-stand

If children are part of your BBQ party crowd, you might as well consider setting up a lemonade stand for them. 

Complete your outdoor summer BBQ party with a glassful of refreshing lemonade and a lovely little station that houses jars of flavoured lemonade. Pair it with an adorable sign and menu, including table accessories, and guests (particularly little ones) will love it!

Top tip: Let your children run the stall and customise the homemade lemonade stand with banners, lovely signs, and general awesomeness for an awesome hydration station!

76. Maximise Your Ice Supply

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