Wherever there's sun, there's usually someone firing up a barbecue and this year, we think it should be YOU!
To celebrate the arrival of National Barbecue Week 2022 (July 4th-10th), we want to help you amaze and delight your friends and family by throwing the best BBQ party they've ever attended, so dig out your apron and fire up the grill - it's time to get cookin'.
There's a reason you don't often see people in suits at barbecues - they're supposed to be casual, so make sure yours is a relaxed affair. Try to host it on a day when the sun's shining and that will do a lot of the hard work for you; after that, you just need to provide plenty of seating and/or space in your garden and keep the food and drinks coming.
Speaking of which…
It's a barbecue so burgers and sausages are non-negotiable. You could also consider steaks, kebabs or chicken drumsticks if you think your carnivorous guests need more options too. And always go for quality over quantity - 10 top quality burgers are better than 20 bland ones.
As for vegetarians, roasted veggie skewers or meat-free burgers and sausages are always a safe bet.
You'll also need some sides to serve with your mains. A couple of large bowls of salad, some loaves of garlic bread, coleslaw and a variety of sauces will suffice. Stocking up on crisps/crackers/breadsticks and dips so your guests have something to nibble on while the food is cooking is a good idea too, as is getting plenty of cheese and lettuce for those who want toppings on their burgers.
Desserts and drinks
If you're going to serve dessert, keep it summery with some ice cream or classic strawberries and cream.
In terms of beverages, you'll want to keep your fridge well stocked. If you're serving alcohol, you'll have a decent idea of how much everyone will drink but most people will generally have one or two drinks per hour. If you're concerned about the cost of alcohol making the barbecue too expensive, why not ask your guests to bring their own?
Non-alcoholic options are important too, so have jugs of iced water (or fruit infused water) dotted around, as well as lemonade or iced tea in the fridge. Remember to make plenty of ice cubes in advance or buy a bag of ice just before the party begins too - the last thing you want is your guests overheating.
Napkins, paper plates, reusable plastic cups and cutlery are all essential, as are suitable lighting if the party's likely to continue into the evening. String lights are inexpensive and can be easily draped along fencing or on low tree branches to create an ambient atmosphere.
You'll also need to create a suitable playlist to set the mood, put a smile on people's faces and keep things upbeat. It's your party so you get to choose what makes the cut but make sure there's something for everyone. A few cheesy classics everyone knows the words to never go amiss - just remember to keep the volume at a level that won't upset your neighbours and will allow your guests to have a conversation without shouting.
You may also want to think about providing a few games, especially if children will be present. If you have the room, lawn games like swingball, croquet or cricket are always popular; if not, buying cheap water pistols for kids and decks of cards for adults is an easy win.
If you're in the market for a new BBQ or some garden accessories to go with it, check out our 'best barbecues' blog here for suggestions on bringing your garden to life, whatever your budget.
That's right, not only are they delicious but barbecues are also fairly unique in that they can benefit both physical and mental wellbeing.
For starters, using a barbecue reduces fat intake as much of it drips through the grates and onto the bottom of the grill during cooking - good news for your cholesterol levels.
By cooking slower and at a lower temperature, barbecued food also preserves its key vitamins and minerals better than many other cooking methods, helping your body turn the food into energy and allowing you to maintain a healthy diet.
Attending a barbecue party is also good for your mental health as studies have shown that interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being, improves your mood and decreases feelings of depression. Talk about a win-win!
Whether you want to invest in a brand new barbecue or could use a hand getting your garden ready for summer, you could borrow from £250 to £20,000 with one of our tailored loans. To find out more, click here.
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