Thu | May 25, 2017

Planning your summer cookout

Published:Sunday | July 5, 2015 | 7:00 AM

Summer is here and nothing says summer more than the smell of a good traditional cookout with family and friends. Whether you prefer burgers, sausages, barbecued pork, chicken, or ribs, it can all be done in your own backyard.

If you have started to plan, are in the process of, or have completed your planning for your cookout, don't stress, Outlook has put together simple things that should be taken into consideration to make the execution smooth sailing.

Proper budgeting

How much money do you have to spend? This is the first thing you need to take into consideration before hosting your summer cookout. Don't forget to ask guests to chip in. A potluck cookout will cost you far less than if you take on the cost of everything by yourself.

Create a list of everything you would need and start asking your guests to prepare for the cookout. Keep it simple. It is just a one-day event, plus you don't want to be distracted from having fun with your friends and family. The best ways to make sure your cookout will be stress-free is to keep your guest list small.

Choose the right date and time

Choose a day that is convenient for you to get everything ready ahead of time. Also check with some of your guests to find a date and time that is good for them, whether a Friday, Saturday or a Sunday evening. Some persons work all week and look forward to a restful weekend, so confirm with them way in advance.

Venue

If your backyard is not a convenient location, check with your guests to find out if they can accommodate the event and how many people they are willing to host at a time - hence keep your invitation list short.

Ensure that there are places that can accommodate the group of persons you have invited, in case of rain, or any other emergencies.

If you intend to have a noisy cookout, choose a venue where you won't be disturbing anyone.

Cooking

Choose easy-to-make dishes and sides and select ones that can be done the night before to make the cookout easier. Try and get as much help as possible so you don't miss out on quality time with your friends.

• On the grill: For the meat lovers, it is hard to go wrong with hot dogs or hamburgers, steak, chicken, and pork are all great choices as well. For vegetarians, grilled vegetables make delicious grilled main courses.

• Sides: Salads complement grilled food perfectly. Green salads, potato salads, pasta salads are all great choices. Devilled eggs make a hearty finger food.

• Condiments: Ketchup is a must-have, mustard and relish can also be used. Cheese, lettuce, slices of tomato, pickles, and onions all make tasty additions to grilled foods.

• Drinks: Consider everything from child-friendly drinks to more adult beverages. Have a lot of water on hand for a hot summer day. Check with your guests to see what they would like, as well as ask them to bring their own alcoholic beverages.

• Tableware: Ensure you have enough disposable utensils (cups, plates, forks and spoons) If you don't think you have enough, ask family and friends for a loan.

Have a garbage bag handy for quick and easy disposal.

cathy.risden@gleanerjm.com