Tips & Must Haves for the Perfect Summer Party, Part 2

As promised, here is a list of food and drink tips for your barbecues and backyard summer parties.

  • Never underestimate the amount of time it will take to grill. If you are having a lot of people over, do the majority of the grilling early so that it will be ready as the guests arrive.
  • If you’re having a lot of guests, you may want to ask a friend to bring over an extra grill for you to use. (and if someone asks you if you need help grilling or cooking, don’t be too proud to accept their assistance)
  • Do your cooking the night before in order to avoid having a hot kitchen on the day of the event, and this way, on the day of the party you can focus on some last minute tidying and placing your food out to serve.
  • Avoid making too many casseroles and heavy foods. Instead try salads, fresh fruit, and chips & veggies with dip.
  • Also, try some simple side items like mac & cheese, baked beans, cole slaw, corn on the cob, and potato salad.
  • For dessert, keep it light. Trifles are easy to make, and they look and taste great. Banana pudding is another great choice, or try a little key lime or lemon icebox pie. Homemade ice cream would also be a big hit.
  • Be sure that you have plenty of ice on hand.
  • You can never have enough drinks either. Be sure you have plenty of ice tea and bottled water. Also, have a good selection of regular and diet drinks. Lemonade or punch is also great for a hot summer day. And consider serving Kool Aid, Powerade, or juice boxes to the kids.
  • Be sure that you have plenty of coolers so that you can keep the drinks on ice, so that they won’t fill up your refrigerator, and so that everyone can grab a drink at his/her convenience.
  • To save money, make it a potluck dinner.
  • Decide ahead of time if you would like to serve alcohol at the party so that you can put it in your budget. I was reading a tip in a magazine that suggested to make one specialty drink for your guests like pina coladas or some other cocktail. Other than that, if you’re having a backyard barbecue, most people will bring their alcohol if they desire.
  • While you may be tempted to leave the food out so that people can come back for seconds, it would be better to put the food away in the fridge or in a cooler, in order to prevent spoiling. Just let your guests know what you’re doing so that they can get seconds if they like. Also, consider having your buffet inside the house, to further prevent spoiling and to keep bugs out of the food.
  • If you’re going to serve outside. Salads, fruits, and dessert items should remain inside until time to serve so that they can maintain the proper temperature.
    If you’re not much of a cook, try going to local resturant to have your party catered. You can get a large pan of pork barbecue, ribs, or wings & chicken fingers for everyone at a fairly good price. And you can sometimes get a good deal on side items too.
  • Even if you’re not doing a potluck, someone will most likely call and ask if they can bring something. While a simple “No thank you” is an okay response, most of the time these people will bring something anyway, so you may as well suggest something simple for them to bring, (ie – a dessert of their choice, chips, or a package of rolls) And if you’re grilling out, don’t be surprised if someone brings over some extra meat to put on the grill.


  1. Hi Jerri,
    Thank you for stopping by my blog. I love your summer entertaining tips. I chuckled at the tip to have it catered and thought, “Yah, and then you can stick it on your grill and pretend you made it” (C:

    Can’t wait to browse your blog more.

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