Summertime is almost here, and there's no better way to celebrate a summer birthday than with the perfect birthday barbecue! Everybody loves a good BBQ, and those June, July and August babies just can't wait to have fun in the sun on their special day every year. But, how do you make a good birthday barbecue great? There are an infinite number of possibilities to explore, but there are three key elements that every successful birth-becue should have: food, friends and fun. With plenty of grub, a host of different personality types and enough games and activities to keep everyone entertained, your birthday barbecue is sure to be a huge success.
First and foremost, a great birthday barbecue requires an assortment of great food. BBQs offer some of the best and easiest dining options for large birthday parties, and there is a wealth of different foods that just beg to be grilled to perfection. Of course there are the tried and true staples of BBQ-dom: hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, ribs, corn on the cob, potato chips and potato salad. But you should also try firing up the grill for some more exotic endeavors, like pulled pork sandwiches, shish kabobs and grilled portabella mushrooms. You can even go Hawaiian and grill up some fresh pineapple spears! People are also extremely health-conscious these days, so it's wise to have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available. Keeping everyone well-fed is job one at a barbecue, so be sure to have a wide variety of more than enough food for your guests. Also, serving everything on paper plates and using plastic cups and utensils will save you worlds of time and energy when it comes to clean-up!
Legions of fun-loving friends are also essential to any successful birthday BBQ. Nothing attracts a crowd like the promise of a good barbecue, but those precious few summer months tend to fill up fast with weddings, vacations and festivals, so it's important to get your birthday invitations out early. The last thing you want to do is prepare enough food for a small army only to host an empty backyard! Let your friends know early and often that a birthday BBQ is in the works, and be sure to get their input on what they'd like to see, do and eat there. Involving your friends in the planning stages both improves the quality of your barbecue and ensures those friends will be there to enjoy it. And be sure to pick a date that isn't already a popular party day; your birthday may be the same as America's, but throwing yet another Fourth of July barbecue will only hurt your turnout. Since barbecues are also great places to mingle, try inviting some folks you might otherwise not, like co-workers or friends of friends. Who knows? You might turn a casual acquaintance into a lifelong pal, and there's no better way to bond than over a plate of perfectly-grilled meat!
Finally and perhaps most importantly, have fun! You or someone you love may be turning another year older, but a birthday barbecue is one of the best places to let your inner kid shine. Barbecues provide the perfect setting for a host of fun outdoor activities, like Frisbee, horseshoes and football, and if you have a pool, you can play all sorts of great water games as well, like water volleyball or an old-fashioned game of Marco Polo. Putting a unique spin on your games will make for a much more memorable birthday BBQ, so try playing with variations on a theme, like an all-"B" barbecue with billiards, bocce ball, and backgammon, or a movie-themed barbecue, with "Summer School" playing on an outdoor screen and "Summer Lovin'" rocking on the karaoke machine. Also, choose games and activities that large groups of people can play together easily. The more everyone is engaged and involved, the longer and more successful your birthday BBQ will be!
With a full menu of freshly prepared goodies, a guest list of friends both old and new and a variety of different games and activities for people of all ages, you're ready to throw the perfect birthday BBQ. But please always remember to be safe; make sure anyone who's been drinking takes a cab home or finds a designated driver, and keep an eye on any small children in attendance, especially around the pool. Happy birthday, summer babies!