Throwing a 4th of July BBQ

4th of July
4th of July

Throwing a 4th of July BBQ is easy with these great tips from my friend Sara Stringer with sarasblogging.  

Thank you Sara for this guest post.  You have given us a lot of terrific success secrets for our 4th of July BBQ!

It’s summer and you know what that means: chilling in the backyard on the weekends, having the whole neighborhood over for barbecue, grilling and picnic fare. Understandably you want these get-togethers to be perfect. Here are some tips to help you get as close to perfection as possible.

Stray from the Norm

Obviously you’re probably going to want to do burgers, hot dogs, maybe some chicken.  But what about varying the menu a little bit?

Shish Kabobs are usually a big crowd pleaser—and easy to make vegetarian for the vegetarians and vegans in your midst.

Make your own fruit salad. Anybody can dump a few cans of fruit cocktail into a bowl. Instead, why not try the following recipe:

You’ll need:

A bunch of your favorite fruit: grapes, strawberries, apples, whatever.

Lemon juice – one lemon’s worth

Lemon zest—one lemon’s worth

1/3 cups of very light corn syrup

What You Do:

Cut up the fruit into manageable sized bites. Make sure that the skins, rinds and peels are removed. Toss the fruit chunks into a big bowl. Aim to have at least six cups worth of cut up fruit.

In a smaller bowl combine your lemon zest, lemon juice and corn syrup and mix thoroughly.

Pour the glaze over the fruit and toss until everything is coated equally.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is easy to adjust depending on the size of your party or gathering. Less for fewer people, more for more. You can also adjust it according to taste to make it more “lemony” or less.

Simple is Best

Decorating for an outdoor event presents a unique set of challenges. It’s easy to go overboard, trying to make things festive. The truth is that, with backyard barbecues and neighborhood block parties, less is very often more.

Tables: instead of paper, go for vinyl (or easily wipe-offable) table cloths—but don’t buy them pre-made! It’s super easy to make your own. Simply take a trip to your local fabric shop and see what they have in stock (it’s helpful to have some coupons for JoAnn’s in your pocket before you get to the store). You can buy a few yards of fabric and cut them and hem them up to fit the tables you’ve got on hand. Then, after the party simply wipe them off, fold them up and store them until the next get together.

Centerpieces: Find some large (widely mouthed) glass vases. Fill them up a third of the way with sand. Place tall fat candles (white looks the most elegant) in the sand.  The weight of the sand will help the candle stay “anchored” and will keep the vases from toppling over. The vases, in turn will keep tablecloths from blowing away. The flame from the candles will be safe within the vase but the smoke drifting out will help keep bugs away from peoples’ food.

Clean Up

At the end of the summer, go through all of your supplies. The great thing about what we’ve talked about here is that everything is affordable. If you have to toss it out due to wear and tear, you won’t mind very much and you can easily (and cheaply) replace it all next year.

The one exception is the grill. Look at your grill when grilling season is over. If it looks like it’s getting worn down, you can use the following fall and winter season to scour the internet looking for sales or an online Black Friday deal to help you replace it before the next season starts.  Waiting until next summer only guarantees an expensive purchase.

What are some of the things you’ve done to make your backyard barbecues as perfect as possible?

July 4th
Happy 4th of July!

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