Are you getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July? Every year we have a big cookout where we invite all our friends to come celebrate by the pool. We fire up the grill, crank up the music and end the night with a small fireworks show for the kids. It is my favorite event of the summer!
I started planning my barbecue several weeks ago and actually learned some tricks over the years that I have found make things much easier. I thought I would give you a list of my top 10 tips for a perfect summer barbecue!
#1 – Don’t skimp on the flavor!
No one wants a bland piece of meat or a boring burger. Marinades and rubs are very important in the world of grilling and they can be your best friend as they add so much flavor to your meats. Bertolli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the perfect oil to use in your marinades to add great depth and flavor. You can make a tasty marinade by combining Bertolli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil with a little wine vinegar and your favorite spices. Simply mix, allow the meat to marinade for at least an hour and then grill to perfection!
When it comes to choosing an oil to use on the grill, go with Bertolli® 100% Pure Olive Oil. It has a higher smoke point than EVOO, making is the perfect oil for use when grilling. Brush your meat with a little Bertolli® 100% Pure Olive Oil, then season it liberally with your favorite rubs or spices. You’ll get a nice sear, plus the meat won’t stick to the grill!
#2 – Side dishes are just as important as the main dish!
Choosing the menu can be tough as there is no way you can please everyone at a party. Try to have a diverse menu so there is something for everyone. Include meat-free options for any vegetarian guests. Consider using in-season items so that the foods you serve are as fresh (and tasty) as possible! Speaking of side dishes…my Roasted Corn is a summer must-have and is so easy to make. Look for the recipe below!
#3 – Have a game plan for fun!
If you have a theme planned, you may also want to have some entertainment options for your guests. Swimming, darts, volleyball, board games, karaoke, cards…the list goes on and on! Your entertainment will vary based on what your theme might be. If there happens to be a lull in the fun, you might want to have some options available…just in case!
#4 – Provide snacks for waiting guests!
The smell of that delicious grilling food might be too much for some folks to handle. Be sure to have simple snacks available so folks can munch as they wait. Place a bowl of cut fruit out for folks to enjoy. Maybe offer chips or a small tray of veggies with a simple dip. Why not put Bertolli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a little balsamic vinegar and some fresh cracked black pepper into a small bowl and set out a loaf of fresh bread as a simple appetizer for folks to enjoy?
#5 – Drinks are a must-have!
Be sure to have a variety of beverages on hand. Know your crowd and be sure to have the types of beverages that they will enjoy. Don’t forget about the kids and designated drivers!
#6 – Keep the pests away!
Bugs don’t have to ruin your outdoor fun. Try to keep food covered as much as possible when not being used. You might also consider having sprays and repellents available for your guests to prevent those pesky mosquitos from becoming a major annoyance. Tiki torches and citronella candles may also help provide some protection, while adding some ambient light to your space.
#7 – Create a playlist!
Music is always a good backdrop at any party. Create your own playlist or look for a station that will appeal to everyone at your party. I have even sent out an email asking folks to list their top 5 songs and made a big playlist that included everyone’s favorites as the music for the evening.
#8 – Decorate your space!
While you don’t need to go overboard, it’s still nice to add a little flair to your space to accompany the theme. Whether it’s a punch of color, lighting to set the mood or a little fun to celebrate a special occasion, don’t forget to add some personal touches to the area where your guests will be congregating.
#9 – Don’t forget the dessert!
The focus may be on the meat and veggies that are coming off the grill, but everyone loves that sweet treat too! There are lots of options for make-ahead treats that you can have ready to serve up. You can even have it out with your side dishes so folks can serve themselves as they wish.
#10 – Prep as much as possible in advance!
The best barbecue is the one that you actually get to enjoy with your friends! If you are stuck in the kitchen doing all the prep work, you can’t be out socializing. When planning your menu, choose foods that can be prepped ahead of time. Why not cut up veggies then toss them in Bertolli® Pure Olive Oil and a little rosemary? They can then be skewered and grilled for a delicious side dish that you can prep the night before! How about a simple pasta salad that you make ahead and pull out before your guests arrive? By setting up as much as possible BEFORE your guests arrive, you can actually join in on the fun and be a participant in your own party!
I hope these tips come in handy for your upcoming get togethers. If you have a BBQ planned and want to try my Grilled Corn recipe, I promise you won’t be disappointed. This is the ultimate summer dish to me. There is just something magical about grilled corn.
Now, some folks will tell you that the only way to grill corn is in the husk, but I actually prefer it grilled out of the husk, directly on the grill. This way you get that charred, nutty taste to the corn that you just can’t get with it in the husk. With my recipe, I add the rich taste of Bertolli® Olive Oil, that is flavored with garlic and then a splash of fresh lime, and, oh my…the corn is absolutely amazing!
The best part is that this is the perfect recipe to make for a large group because you can grill up the corn and let everyone add their own sauce. Just be aware that you may want to make extra because folks will want seconds!
Print the great Bertolli® coupon for savings next time you shop at Publix:
- 6 – 8 ears of corn
- 4 tablespoons Bertolli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- lime wedges, if desired
- Grill the corn on medium high for 5 – 7 minutes until charred
- Add the Bertolli® Olive Oil to a small sauce pan and cook the garlic for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Remove sauce pan from heat and stir in the salt and parsley.
- Brush the sauce over the grilled corn.
- Squeeze with lime for added flavor if desired.
For more information and other great recipe ideas, be sure to visit the Bertolli® website. Also, follow Bertolli on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
This post is brought to you by the folks at Bertolli®. All comments and opinions are my own.