This year will be our 14th Annual Backyard BBQ. Would be the 15th, but we took the Covid year off.
The first year my wife & I had this get together, it was literally just a few of our friends in the backyard of our rental on Jackson St., enjoying a few beers, some chips, and some tunes on the radio.
We didn’t have any gourmet food, no entertainment, zero games, and we had no clue what it would eventually become.
Fast forward a few years, and we started adding things every year or so…live music, ladder golf tournaments, a potluck, a 50/50, karaoke…..and now it’s a hell of a good time.
Over the last fifteen years, I’ve learned more than a few things about hosting a party, and here’s a few subtle tips from me to you, in case you’re thinking about having a bunch of people over.
- Put out Sharpies so people can label their cups/drinks. Some people hold onto their beers/drinks the entire time, but eventually, a cup or a bottle gets left outside while you run inside to grab a bite to eat. You come back out and you can’t figure out which drink is yours. Years ago, when I first started getting a keg of Festbier for our party, I was using old, plastic Logger cups instead of Red Solo cups to help alleviate waste. And I’d always put a half-dozen Sharpies on the kegerator so people could write their names on their cups. It’d probably didn’t solve the problem, but it definitely helped.
2. Make sure you have PLENTY of trash barrels. The tiny garbage bin we have in the kitchen is not even close to big enough for all the trash that accumulates during our party. I’ve got several larger barrels that I put out during the party, and I bring our city barrel around the corner for easy loading. Also, don’t bother trying to separate recyclables from the trash during a party. It’s almost impossible.
3. Provide plenty of shade during the day, and lots of light during the night. My buddy, Eric, let’s me use his 10′ x 20′ canopy for our party every year, and I usually have an additional 10′ x 10′ canopy or two that we use. It also helps if there’s rain in the forecast. And of course, having light is extremely important if you want to keep people OUTSIDE during your party. Use your Xmas lights, rope lights, tiki torches & more!
4. Rent a porta-potti or two! I learned this lesson at our first backyard BBQ at our first house. We had one bathroom in the house, and the pipes in that house were under a massive amount of stress that year. So, I started renting a porta-potty every year, and started getting two of them with a hand-wash station at our new house, even though we now have three bathrooms in the house. They’re affordable, and definitely worth it!
5. This lesson took awhile for us to learn, but if you can, board your pets. Or find someone that will take them for the night. Trying to keep track of our dogs & cat while all these people are coming & going throughout the day & night is almost impossible. So, we’ve started to board them for the night. It’s a nice break for us, and provides great peace-of-mind knowing that they aren’t trying to escape, or getting spooked by all our guests, or eating things they shouldn’t be eating!
6. This is difficult to accomplish, but well worth it. Empty your fridge the week leading up to your party! You need the milk & butter and whatnot, but try to eat all the snacks & leftovers in your fridge so you’ve got MAXIMUM space for all the food that’s left when your guests take off for the night. Trust me!
There’s just a few small tips from me to you. Things I’ve learned over the years that have helped make our backyard BBQ a success!