One of the small pleasures of homeownership is being able to host parties in your backyard every summer. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, it’s the perfect time of year to grill for yourself, your family, and your closest friends. Getting to host a cookout of your own after years of attending can be a distinct joy, but the event requires more prep than you might suspect. Here’s a look at what you need for your first cookout this summer.
A Magnificent Menu
If you’re going to make your first cookout a great one, it all comes down to the food. Go the extra mile—literally—in securing your provisions for the day by forgoing the usual superstore for your local butcher shop, farmer’s market, or specialty grocery store. Insist upon the freshest and most flavorful foods for your cookout to ensure that it’ll be a memorable one.
The Right Grill—Preferably Charcoal
The pitched battle of barbecue, the argument over whether one must cook with gas or charcoal, has raged for years with no decisive winner. While the modality of grilling is often a personal preference, we’re going to take a bold stand and recommend committing to charcoal grilling if you’re still searching for a unit. Charcoal grills are occasionally portable, often affordable, and always impart the authentic taste of outdoor cooking onto your meals—something you can’t get when you’re cooking with gas.
The Right Plates and Utensils
You have a lot of options when it comes to flatware and dinnerware. Truth be told, a lot of those options aren’t very good. Trying to eat grilled chicken or fruit salad with flimsy forks can be harder than it needs to be, and factory-standard white paper plates don’t always hold up to the rigors of a well-designed cookout menu. Don’t just snatch the first plastic utensils or plates you see at the store. Do your homework in finding party supplies for your special occasion.
Don’t Forget the Foil
Whether you’re cooking on the grill or wrapping up the leftovers, aluminum foil is indispensable on the list of what you need for your first cookout. Buried in the drawer with the plastic wrap, the parchment paper, and the resealable bags, it’s easy to assume you have enough foil to get through the event. This could be a wild overestimate of your remaining foil footage, leaving you in a bad spot once it’s time to wrap up the ribs or fish for sealing in that smoky flavor. Even if you’re holding off on picking up the flatware at the store, be sure to grab a roll of aluminum foil.