Summer is cookout season. From Memorial Day to Independence Day to Labor Day, there are several occasions where a good old-fashioned barbecue is just the right thing. The specifics of a cookout can be tweaked in countless ways to make it perfect for whatever it is you’re celebrating. But most have a number of things in common.
Here’s a foolproof formula for throwing a successful cookout at your apartment!
Choose a Theme
American patriotism and summer sports are common causes for cookouts. Thus, they are also common themes. If you want to mix things up, get out of the conventional cookout box and tailor the theme. Maybe it’s “Mad Men” inspired, or maybe you have a luau. Inspiration can range from a popular movie or television show to a particular grill-style. Choose a theme early on in the planning process so you can tie everything together.
The essence of decor as part of your next cookout can’t be overstated. If you’re hosting a cookout for the NBA Finals or Fourth of July, decorating should be easy and straightforward. A quick trip to the party supply store for a stars-and-stripes themed package or a bundle of basketball paraphernalia is all you’ll need. Other themes may not be quite as easy to decorate for, but a bit of creativity (and maybe a few searches on Google or Pinterest) can go a long way.
Create a Menu
Unless you know your guests’ tastes and they all happen to align, plan to accommodate a range of dietary restrictions and food preferences. Select a few meat and protein options, incorporating both chicken, red meat, and vegetarian options into the mix. Tired of the classic hamburger and hot dog cookout combination? Put a Caribbean, German, Korean, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Middle Eastern, or Thai spin on your barbecue by using spice-infused sausages, ethnic marinades, and sauces. If you plan on using hot spices or strong flavors, have less spicy alternatives available. Don’t forget the chips, salads, and sides.
Dole Out Refreshing Drinks
Iced tea and lemonade go well with almost all cookout food, as do chilled beer and sangria. If you’re aiming way above the bar, you can even shake up some special cocktails and serve them in mason jars. Water is also always good to have…especially when the temperatures rise.
Don’t Forget Dessert
Don’t just hope everyone who attends your cookout will fill up on barbecue, chips, and salad. Every cookout should end on a sweet note. Classic cakes, festive cupcakes, and seasonal favorites like strawberry shortcake and watermelon sorbet are all great options to have on hand for dessert.
Cookouts are a lot of fun. They’re also a lot of work. Unless you want to do everything on your own, accept help from others. Make sides or desserts potluck-style or ask guests to bring their own drinks. If there is any last-minute preparations that can be delegated, delegate. Just by hosting the cookout in your apartment, you’re doing enough. Let others help so you can have a good time too.
Now that you know what it takes to throw a great cookout, will you put these tips to the test? Don’t just let summer pass you by. Seize the season. Host an unforgettable cookout at your apartment, and enjoy it!
Do you have tips to throw an apartment cookout everyone will remember?
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