Planning the perfect end-of-summer BBQ

 

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Sadly, the end of summer is fast approaching – even though we here in the Bay Area will experience at least another month of sun! Labor Day is just around the corner, so we thought it’d be good to share some of our tips on planning the perfect end of summer barbecue!

Theme it out – most summer bbqs center around holidays like the 4th of July or Memorial Day, so you can stick with Labor Day or jazz up your theme with ideas like an old-fashioned hoedown (complete with square dancing!), a classic Southern BBQ, a backyard beach party, a lobster/clam bake, a late summer fiesta, or a luau/Tiki party, the options are endless! There’s so much you can do theme-wise that will help you pick decor and your menu, or even some signature cocktails!

Entertainment – start with your theme, i.e. square dancing at a hoedown, hula dancing at a luau, volleyball at a beach party, etc. Add some additional games and activities, especially if you have kids around. Horseshoes, bean bag toss, and the like are easy to DIY with some supplies from your local toy and hardware stores. Grab a croquet set or set up a whiffle ball field while you’re at it. Keep the music and activities going and everyone is sure to have a great time!

Menu planning – again, start brainstorming from your theme. Planning a Southern BBQ? Think slow-cooked short ribs, mint juleps, hush puppies, and more. Backyard beach party? Think grill-based options like you would cook on a portable grill or campfire – sausages, hot dogs, burgers, and lots of finger-foods, with s’mores for dessert. Lobster/clam bake, well that one solves itself! Be sure to have options for the non-meat eating folks on your guest list as well as appetizers and desserts, a couple of options for each course should keep everyone’s tummy happy!

Decor – so you’re planning a hoedown, well pull on your cowboy boots and find yourself a dance floor – either indoors or out. Hang some festive string lights and perhaps find a couple picnic tables covered with checkered tablecloths, and maybe a hay bale or two, and you’re set! Summer fiesta? Hang some brightly colored lanterns like the ones in the photo above, get yourself a piñata (or two!), set up a taco bar with various toppings and stick to bright colors for your table settings. Planning a lobster/clam bake? Stick with a New England look – hang nets draped with lights, decorate picnic style with basket centerpieces, hand out lobster bibs for your guests when dinner is served.

We hope these tips inspire you to host a wonderful party to celebrate the end of summer, we know we’ll be savoring these last few warm weeks!

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user justmalia)