The Idiot-Proof Guide to Planning a Killer Cookout
Burgers. Hot dogs. Beers.
Now that sounds great doesn’t it? That’s because cookouts ARE great. Cookouts can be a man’s best friend because they are so simple to do right, so I don't want to hear any excuses—call your buddies and start your list ASAP. Here’s the lowdown on what you need for a killer cookout.
Get the Right Grub
Food is the name of the game, so it’s important to have plenty, obviously. Get your buddies to pitch in some cash before you go shopping if it comes to that. Whatever you do, just don't run out of food. Burgers and hot dogs are the obvious choice for cookouts, and nine times out of ten they will do the trick. Don't overthink it.
Don’t be afraid to cook too much. Worst case scenario: you have awesome left-overs. Grab a couple of sides as well, or ask your guests to bring their own. Chips and some sort of dip are another go-to option, but there are tons of other sides that compliment burgers and hot dogs. This isn't a five-star restaurant—there's no need to lose sleep over food pairings. As long as there's enough, your guests aren't going to notice.
Don't Skimp on the Beverages
Whether it’s your fridge or cooler, prepare to have it stocked. This is something else you should have your friends to help you with. Ask everyone to bring something to drink and, when they show up, have space cleared for them to store it. It’s always a good idea to keep a big cooler in the yard with you. That way your guests won’t have to run in and out of the house. Just remember the cups and ice!
Entertain the Masses
Have some entertainment to fill time between drinking and eating. Most people are pretty easy to entertain, especially when there’s food around, so this one is simple. Music is a good place to start, so an iPod dock or a set of speakers to play music through is a must.
If it’s something your friends would enjoy, invest in the setup materials for a simple and enjoyable backyard game. You can’t go wrong with horseshoes or a bean bag toss. A fire is a less-common, but fun alternative, and it even takes some of the pressure off of you as Grill Master. A fire will keep guests entertained and allow them to make their own hot dogs or s’mores.
So—call your friends. Set a date. Commence shopping. Stick to these simple tenets and your cookout will be a smashing success.