How to Throw a No-Stress Cookout

How to Throw a No-Stress Cookout

Check out these tips to keep stress at bay at your next outdoor summer BBQ!

Author: Shayne T.

Cookouts are often thought of as care-free summer fun, but it you’ve ever hosted one, you know just how stressful it can be. If your family is anything like my Latino family--full of second and third cousins and each invitee is likely to bring along a neighbor’s nephew’s niece—you can pretty much throw the idea of a contained guest list out the window. But as with any event, the key to throwing a successful party without all the stress comes down to organization.


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Shop & Prep Ahead. I love to throw parties and the biggest thing that keeps me from losing my mind the morning of is purchasing and prepping as much food as I can starting at least four days in advance. I usually do the big shop that early (or even earlier), and if there are any super-perishable items to buy, I’ll pick those up the day before.

When it comes to meat, be sure to buy and prep a variety of types and cuts of meat. And don’t forget the chorizo! Chop vegetables and make sure all of your proteins are defrosted and marinated two days before. Prepare desserts, fruit and anything that will be served cold or room temperature the day before, and begin chilling beverages as far in advance as possible. And don’t forget the ice!

Clean & Set Up the Night Before. Even if your party is outside, the public areas of your home will need to be spic and span too, so the night before, whip out your Mr. Clean and wipe down all of your kitchen and bathroom surfaces, clean the toilet and sink, empty the trash cans and clean up any laundry or clutter that might be laying around. Also be sure to scrub down the tables (a Magic Eraser will get the job done quickly) you will be using for serving and eating. If the weather isn’t expected to be rainy or too windy overnight, go ahead and set up the tables and chairs — one less thing to do the day of.

Delegate, Delegate, Delagate. You absolutely should not have to be the only member of your family pitching in on party day. What’s the point of a get together if you’re too busy running around to sit down and catch up with your guests? Assign someone to man the grill, another person to keep drink coolers and snack bowls stocked, and someone else to toss dirty plates and cups. You can even ask a couple of responsible older kids to keep an eye on the little ones so the grown-ups can relax.

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