7 Steps for the Perfect Labour Day Barbecue

7 Steps for the Perfect Labour Day Barbecue

7 Steps for the Perfect Labour Day Barbecue 

With Fall quickly approaching, what better way is there to celebrate the final long weekend of the summer than with an outdoor BBQ? Although grilling isn’t specific to one season, it is doubtful that your friends and family would want to enjoy a BBQ picnic outside in minus 30 degrees Celsius—so make use of the warm weather while you still can!

However, before you put on your party planning hat, there are a couple things you should keep in mind in order to make your cookout as smooth and stress-free as possible. After all, if you’re the one putting all the effort into the planning and cooking, you deserve to enjoy the event too!

If you have experience planning parties then you will know that a checklist is your best friend during events. To help you out with your next backyard BBQ, we’ve created a step-by-step list to help make life as easy as possible. Given the fact that many people are still getting used to larger gatherings, it’s important to make sure that everything is as smooth and safe as possible. If you’re interested in getting some expert BBQ planning advice, keep on reading!

Step 1: Create a Guest List & Communicate Accordingly

Photo courtesy of Flickr

They say that one’s company, two’s a crowd, and three’s a party, so it seems fitting to start with the foundation of any good party: the people. Now, while we can’t choose who, exactly, you should invite (we don’t want to start any neighborhood conflicts) but we can offer some pointers.

Two years ago this step in the party planning process would have been pretty self-explanatory. But ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the world has become a lot more cautious about not only how many people are invited to parties, but how many different households are involved. So you may want to keep that in mind when coordinating your guest list.

Once you’ve got the numbers down, your next step is to communicate with your guests. Double check to see if there are any dietary restrictions you should be aware of, as well as discuss whether your guests should bring any specific dishes. The last thing you want is to have 10 desserts at a 5-person party, so if you would like your guests to bring something, it’s good to be specific. Either you could delegate certain people to certain dishes, or if you prefer to be more flexible, ask that each person brings a side dish or appetizer. If you feel awkward asking, don’t: likely your guests are thankful that you’re putting in the time and energy to host, and therefore would be happy to contribute.

Step 2: Plan a Creative-Yet-Simple Menu

Photo courtesy of Sauce Magazine

When planning what delicious BBQ goodies to include on your menu, opt for dishes that require minimal work but deliver maximum impact. That way, you can impress your guests while reducing your stress. In other words, we recommend putting a creative twist on your classic backyard BBQ staples.

For instance, this grilled pork burger recipe uses a unique ground coffee rub and country mustard sauce to elevate your classic hamburger. Pulled pork is another great way to show off your smoker skills while providing a fan-favorite dish to your guests. This pulled pork shoulder recipe allows you to prepare the night before, and smoke throughout the day, so there is minimal work required when your guests arrive.

If you want your backyard BBQ to be more Great Gatsby-esque, you can always upgrade the classic hamburger & hotdog dinner for something more fancy. Take this recipe for cedar plank salmon with sesame asparagus recipe, for instance. It’s surprisingly simple but certainly packs a flavour punch. You can also bring surf and turf to your own backyard with this garlic butter grilled steak and shrimp recipe if you so choose.

Step 3: Simple Cocktails are your BBQ BFF

Photos courtesy of Brit + Co

If you want to go the simple route for your backyard BBQ, a cooler of beers and sodas will surely suffice. But if you want to take your party to the next level, some simple cocktails will allow you to flex your bartending skills along with your grilling ones.

With only three ingredients, these strawberry peach wine slushies are the perfect summer drink. (For a non-alcoholic version, all you have to do is swap the wine for juice and you’ve got yourself a great mocktail.) If you’re looking for more cocktail inspiration, this summer drink recipe compilation can help you out.

Step 4: Have a List of Lawn Games at the Ready

Photo courtesy of Flickr

While the food is obviously the star of the party (hence the name backyard BBQ),  having some outdoor games on hand will ensure that your guests are always entertained throughout the event. Plus, this prevents everyone from crowding around the barbecue and making it more difficult for you to get your job done. 

If your cookout is a family-filled event, this list of 38 DIY outdoor games provides activities for people of all ages. However, if the average age on your guest list is slightly higher, this summer games compilation includes a bunch of adult-friendly options.

Step 5: Make Sure to Have Party Essentials on Hand

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Just as your guest list may look different during a pandemic, so do the supplies you should have on hand for such guests.

Who would have thought, 2 years ago, that hand sanitizer and disposable masks would be party staples—but here we are! Having extra masks and hand sanitizer stationed at your tables and serving area can help put guests at ease. 

There are a few other essentials you should have on hand (just in case!) including stain remover and bug spray. You don’t want your event to go down in history as the one where guests were eaten up by mosquitoes or someone stained their favorite shorts with barbecue sauce. Another quick tip is to get more ice than you think you need. The consensus is one pound of ice per person. 

Step 6: Prepare Your Grill Station

Traeger Ironwood 885, available at Barbecue Country

Hosting a party is a lot of pressure, and the last thing you’ll want to do is to leave midway through the party to pick up extra wood pellets, propane or charcoal. Well before the BBQ starts, make sure to check that you have enough cooking fuel. 

If you’re using a pellet grill, ensure that you have a full hopper of wood pellets if you’re cooking something that requires high heat, like burgers for instance. For gas grills, make sure that you have plenty of propane on hand, and if you’re using charcoal make sure you have enough lump charcoal on hand to fill your charcoal chimney and add extra throughout the cooking process. 

With a Traeger grill you’ll want to ensure the heat diffuser is clear of debris. An aluminium liner placed over the diffuser is your best friend and can be easily discarded after the cook. For direct cooking using charcoal or propane you’ll want to have a spray bottle near your grill for small flare ups—especially if you’re cooking something with a lot of fat, like burgers and sausages, which are more prone to flare ups. If you want to be extra cautious, having a fire extinguisher on hand couldn’t hurt either. Better to be safe than sorry!

Finally, it’s a good idea to prepare as much of your food as you can in advance. This could include chopping your vegetables, preparing sauces, and marinating your meat the morning of the party. Then, make sure you have a space near your grill where you can set down all your ingredients, so you don’t have to keep running between your kitchen and your barbecue. 

Step 7: Keep Cleanup in Mind

Photo courtesy of Flickr

We know that no one likes cleaning up after a party—but if you plan ahead for this inevitable moment, it will make the process a whole lot easier.

To avoid a pileup of dishes in your kitchen, opt for some disposable, recyclable dinnerware. This will make life easier for you and the environment. There are plenty of bamboo and wooden options out there.

Make sure you also have the appropriate cleaning solutions and tools for your specific grill. Barbecue Country offers a wide selection of cleaning products as well as knowledgeable staff that can help you select the right products. If you’ve got a stainless steel grill, we also have a blog post showing grillers how to properly care for their stainless grill.

7 Steps for the Perfect Labour Day Barbecue

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  • Taylor Mitchell