Now that school is out, I think it’s safe to say that summer is officially here! Our warm weather, relaxed days and long evenings are making the grill my new best friend and we’ve been enjoying eating out on our patio most nights for the past few weeks. We’ve been having friends over for dinner more often too because I find just about everything about grilling makes hosting people easier. Still, I find it helps to have a few strategies in my back pocket to make a grill party fun for everyone — even me!
Tip #1: Have all the food ready to cook before guests arrive
This is my A numero uno tip for hosting dinner on the grill! I hate, hate, hate being in a hot kitchen rushing to get everything prepped when my friends and family are relaxing outside. Usually people volunteer to help, of course, but I prefer not to have to delegate if I can avoid it too. The best solution I’ve found is to have the meat ready to cook, all the veggies chopped, and the salads and other prepared sides finished and tucked away in the fridge so they can be pulled out and put on the table when food starts coming off the grill.
Tip #2: Keep it simple
Since the whole point of cooking on the grill is to keep things easy, I almost always prepare very simple food. The smokey flavors from the grill are all the embellishment most foods need to become super tasty, so I usually don’t do anything too complex. Occasionally I’ll marinate meat or make a pasta salad in advance (Isn’t pasta salad a pain in the neck to make? No? Is that just me??) but otherwise it’s plain jane. The dinner menu in these photos was plain grilled pork chops, garlic bread, and salad with grilled tomatoes — so delicious and barely any work!
Tip #3: Set up a spot to hang out near the grill
Make sure you have a place for people to relax and congregate near the grill so you won’t get lonely while you’re cooking. We set our grill up just a few feet from out patio table and I love it when people sit there and talk to me while I’m woman-ing the fire. I’ll often put out a few snacks to lure people over to me as well — chips and dips or sliced watermelon.
Tip #4: Divide cooking and drink serving duties
Finally, I suggest dividing up the cooking and drink serving duties. My husband and I have a long-standing division of labor when we’re entertaining. He makes sure everyone has a full glass of something and that frees me up to concentrate on the food. It’s such a relief to know that someone is on top of welcoming people and getting a drink in their hands so I don’t have to keep putting off the meal prep.
These are just a few of my tips for grilling while also being the host. I would love if you would share your tips with me! One of my lucky readers who answers below will win a $25 Sears Gift Card!
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