Wow your friends and family this summer with a glorious garden get-together!

How much food will you need?

Consider how many guests are coming and what time they’ll be arriving to make a rough plan of how much food you need and how long it will take to cook. Also consider how much you can fit on the grill at any one time and whether some food needs to be cooked separately, eg, for vegetarians.

Not just burgers & sausages!

Try fish (especially salmon and trout), king prawn/mushroom/pepper skewers, corn-on-the-cob and other veg… use your imagination!

Get marinating – marinades are a great way of keeping meat tender and moist as well as adding flavour. We’ve got two marvellous marinade recipes to get you started.

Organise your party area

Keep the workspace around the BBQ as organised as possible, with all the utensils you need at hand, but otherwise clutter-free.

Make sure you’ve got enough chairs and tables for all your guests, with a couple to spare in case people drop by unexpectedly or kids bring along friends. Borrow extra from friends or neighbours if you need to.

Cover tables with coloured paper or plastic covers to introduce some colour and minimise cleaning afterwards.

Set up a designated area for guests to put rubbish and recycling.

Outdoor fairy lights and candles create a magical atmosphere if the BBQ carries on into the evening.

Make sure you’ve got plenty of kitchen towels and napkins for the inevitable spillages.

Side dishes, salads and sauces

BBQ side dishes smallSet out a separate table for breads, salads, sauces, cheeses, pickles and side dishes. Prepare what you can beforehand, such as marinades and side dishes – or ask guests to bring them – so you can concentrate on running the BBQ and enjoying yourself.

Put out finger food, like crisps and dips, for your guests to nibble on as they arrive. Try getting your kids involved by asking them to hand out drinks or snacks to new arrivals.

Make sure any food you put out in advance is kept covered and not left in direct sunlight.


Keep drinks in a cooler, covered with ice – this will help save fridge space for food.

If you really want to wow your guests, try placing a berry in each cube of your ice tray before freezing and popping them into their arrival drinks.

BBQ beer and snacks small


Ensure you’ve got plenty of fresh cold water available at all times.

As well as soft drinks, beer and wine are BBQ favourites – but why not make some of your own cocktails?


Adults and kids alike will enjoy a few rounds of 2-a-side football with jumpers for goalposts, or badminton played using the washing line as a net!

Cooking tipsBBQ close up cooking 2 small

Lightly oil the grill surface before heating. Preheat it 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it’s hot enough to cook on (and to kill any bacteria).

Get the barbeque going before your start time so that your guests arrive to a tastebud-tantalising smell!

Don’t put meat straight onto the BBQ from the fridge – always give raw barbecue dishes at least 20 minutes to lose their chill; if meat, chicken, fish or vegetable is too cold in the centre, the outside may burn before the inside is cooked.

Rest the meat.

Inside information

Ensure you’re ready to entertain indoors in case the heavens open on your big day by uncluttering your living room and/or kitchen area. You’ll need a seating area and enough table-space for all the food. Have some video games or board games on hand for some plan B entertainment.

Your guests will be going inside to use the toilet whatever the weather, so stock up on loo roll, soap and dry towels!

BBQ family at table smallSafety first!

We all know how important it is to wash your hands before cooking and that it’s vital keep raw and cooked meat separate but, to make sure the only things you send your guests home with are full tummies and happy memories, familiarise yourself with some more food safety tips.

The Fire Service provides some easy-to-read BBQ safety advice.



Looking for more inexpensive ideas to entertain family and friends – and yourself – this summer? Check out Handy tips for the perfect staycation and  Original ideas for a girls’ night in.