By Roberto Anthony Rivas
, last updated February 4, 2011
A great cookout checklist will make all your outings a no-brainer. Start thinking about some new dry rubs for your ribs or some new marinades for your chicken. Perhaps these are already recipes you’ve tried but now you want to see how they fare in your brand new outdoor grill. Now is the time to try them, but if you’re looking to have a successful cook out, one that satisfies everyone, you’re going to need more than just chicken, ribs and seasonings. While most cookouts are a carnivore’s heaven, there will be the occasional vegetarian or vegan who needs to be satiated as well. Here is a checklist for a successful, well-rounded cookout.
No matter the location of the cookout, be it your backyard or the closest park, tableware and cooking utensils are a must. Have tablecloths and picnic blankets available as well as your typical, common sense items such as paper plates, bowls, serving spoons/forks, forks, knives, and spoons for eating with, napkins, paper towels. Also, bring garbage bags for clean up and plastic ziptop bags for storing leftover food.
Make sure you have ketchup, mustard, and any other condiments that your family uses with their food or that you would want to cook with (BBQ sauce, for example). Salt and pepper are a must, since you will be using these things with your food too. Ice, water, beverages and some utensils for opening these beverages would be useful too. If you are using a charcoal grill, you’ll need the charcoal, matches, and lighter fluid if the charcoal doesn’t already have it.
For cooking, have a sharp knife and some tongs available to cut the meats and place them on the grill. Don't forget some kind of oven mitt or glove to protect your hands from the heat.
Your typical BBQ foods are always good options; hot dogs, sausages, steaks, hamburgers, cheeses, chicken wings, breasts, and legs. This is a great start for the proteins but you’ll also want some side dishes like corn on the cob and macaroni or potato salad. Chips and other snacks can also be eaten while everyone is waiting for the food.
For those vegetarians in the group, as well as for anybody who doesn’t want to eat meat, bring watermelon or other fruits that can be eaten while cooking. Of course, this isn’t where your culinary expertise in vegetarian cuisine stops. In fact it’s only the beginning. Try making grilled portobello mushrooms that you stuff with parmesan cheese mashed potatoes. You could also consider making veggie burgers from scratch.
Whether you’re cooking carnivorous foods or a mix, there are many recipes on the Internet, but it’s always good to have a variety of meats, vegetables, and sides. Happy cooking!