Tips for throwing the perfect summer BBQ

Hamburgers cooking on barbeque grill with flames
Host your own smokin’ barbeque this summer!

Temps are well into the 90s and 100s, and even though you love being outdoors, you may want a grill near a pool or AC to make the best of your summer barbeque.  Here at Cypress Waters, the Glass Box Community Lodge at the Scotch Creek pool offers a terrific setting for your next cookout. Available for all residents to reserve for private parties, the Glass Box boasts a killer multi-functional indoor entertainment space, including flat-screens, games and a full-service kitchen – AND AIR CONDITIONING – as well as an outdoor kitchen and grill just waiting to be fired up.

But, before you pull out your collection of secret sauces and mouthwatering rubs, heed these tips for throwing the perfect summer barbecue.

Instead of just tossing meat on the grill, handing everyone a paper plate and yelling, “Come and get it!”, think of a fun theme for your party. It doesn’t have to be Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day or any special occasion. You can tailor your barbecue to a specific type of food or a personal milestone. Themes to consider include beach, all-American, Tex-Mex, Hawaiian or summer sports.

As long as you have your theme thinking cap on, consider simple, yet eye-catching decorations to add even more ambience to the Glass Box. Patterned table clothes, cool centerpieces and interesting lighting such as bulb strands, tiki torches, candles or lanterns lend a festive touch. Be sure to include decorative accessories such as beach balls, leis, flags and other items that tie into your theme.

Once you have your décor figured out, it’s time to get down to the heart—and stomach—of the matter. Let’s face it; everyone wants to know one important thing: what’s on your menu! As your guests are arriving, make sure to have plenty of snacks on hand, including chips, salsa, guacamole, vegetables and dips.

For the main course, the options are as varied as you want it to be. Depending on your theme, time of day and occasion, you might simply grill up classics like hotdogs, burgers, chicken and corn on the cob. But for the backyard gourmand, a selection of organic farm-raised meats, fresh seafood and grilled vegetables procured from the local farmers market may be the way to go. If you need more grilling inspiration, check out Bobby Flay’s 10 Commandments of Grilling.

Don’t forget the sides. Potato and pasta salads, coleslaw, baked beans, French fries and fruit salad are all big crowd pleasers. And for dessert, you can’t miss with fruit pies and ice cream a la mode, strawberry shortcake or an assortment of cake pops or cupcakes.

Refreshments, anyone? With all that delicious food, you’ll need some complementary thirst-quenching beverages on hand. For the kiddos, concoct a special summer punch. For the adults, have a nice selection of craft brews, light summer wines or even a special barbecue cocktail menu. Whatever beverages you decide to serve, offer plenty of water to keep guests well hydrated.

Game on! Consider setting up a croquet course or a badminton court for a little athletic diversion. Perhaps a game of bocce ball is in order, or simply set out a few Frisbees or soft-toss footballs that guests of every fitness level can enjoy.

Perhaps the most important element of any truly successful barbecue is the guest list. The longer days of the summer are perfect for spending quality time with family, friends and neighbors. As the host or hostess with the mostest, it’s up to you to pull together a great group of folks who will enjoy the atmosphere, the weather, the food, the games and most importantly, each other. So what are you waiting for? You’ve got a barbecue to plan!

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