By Robert Bennett
, last updated February 4, 2011
Spring and summer can be great times for barbecues, and you'll likely want a checklist to prepare. In some parts of the country, barbecues are a year round tradition. They are almost always informal, everyone loves the food, and they can be both simple and economical for the host. Still, to be sure nothing is forgotten and in order to increase the chances of a smooth event, a barbecue checklist is a must.
It is best to break the various "To Do" items into time frames, beginning about two weeks out.
Two Weeks Before Barbecue
- Make a guest list and either call or send invitations. If inviting by telephone, this is a good time for the conscientious host to check on any special dietary requirements or food allergies.
- Plan the menu accordingly. If you know there are specialty items necessary, you should take this time to check on availability and pre-order if necessary.
- If any arrangements need to be made for extra tables or chairs, awnings or canopies, etc., this is also the appropriate time to take care of that.
- If the barbecue has enough guests to merit it, you may want to consider drafting a "division of labor" sheet to ensure all aspects of the event are covered.
A Few Days Before the Barbecue
- Purchase non-perishable food and drinks.
- Arrange for plates as well as eating utensils and cups/glasses whether disposable or not. A smart host will always have extra on hand in case of extra attendees or accidents.
- Purchase or arrange for decorations if necessary or desired.
- Make and store any foods that can be prepared ahead of time to save work on the day of the get together.
The Day Before
- Get sufficient ice and condiments.
- Prepare last minute dishes such as salads.
- Decorate guest area.
- Check to make sure there is sufficient charcoal, wood or gas for the barbecuing.
- Pick up any meats that are to be cooked and place them into marinade(s) or rub the meat down with spices, and refrigerate.
The Day of the Barbecue
- Thaw frozen meats before starting to cook.
- Cut and prepare any vegetables.
- Prepare a special area for drinks, with containers, ice chests and plenty of ice.
- Arrange appetizers, if any, along with plates, napkins, wet naps, and eating utensils.
- Put at least one large trash container in sight, but out of the guest's way.
Lastly, you're all set to cook, socialize, and enjoy the barbecue with your guests!