The first day of Spring has come and gone, which means the opportunity to get outdoors and grill is upon us. Hosting a family reunion? Better make it a BBQ. Need to plan a picnic for your office or workplace? Nothing says “I value your hard work” like grilled meats and veggies! Randy Peters Catering is an expert BBQ planner, having planned many barbecues in Sacramento over the years, so here are a few tips to help your next event go as smoothly as possible.
- Decide the date
One of the biggest issues with planning an event is trying to pick a date that works for everyone. Chances are that whatever day you pick won’t work for everyone, so just choose, and then sway anyone on the fence with your delicious menu. You can pick a date based on an event or a holiday, but mostly the date has to work for you, because a lot of planning and preparation has to happen to ensure a successful outcome.
- Choose a theme
Having a theme is a great ice breaker! Is your BBQ going to be for a special occasion? A birthday, retirement, graduation, or a holiday like Memorial Day or the 4th of July? The planning of your party might require additional steps if it’s meant to be a surprise, or if there needs to be special orders for cakes or entertainment. Even if your shindig is just a get together, you might want to have an idea for the ambience you hope to create. This will help you not only plan your menu but also decide who to invite.
- Plan the menu
There are traditional foods that fit the good ol’ backyard American barbecue theme, from grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, to surf and turf on the barbie. Meat is probably the biggest part of the budget and often the other menu items will reflect the protein choice. Does your guest list include vegetarians or other special diets? Make sure there’s enough for them to graze on without the main course.
Potato salad and coleslaw are classics, but variations on these recipes abound. Appetizers can range from chips and dip or salsa to cheese and crackers. There is no limit to your creativity, but you want to mix in some classic dishes with the more daring recipes in your repertoire so that there is something for all palates. Check out Randy Peters Pinterest for ideas!
Don’t forget drinks! Will your party include alcohol? What about sodas? If so, you might need to plan for lots of ice too! Randy Peters offers bar service in Sacramento, including a LED bar, bartenders and cocktail waitresses.
- Invite people
Once you’ve decided your theme and your menu, decide who you want to attend. RSVP’s are handy for you to gauge the size and scope of your party, including parking, bathrooms, etc. You might have had an idea of the Who before the When and What, as we often plan around our guests collective tastes, so now is the time to get the word out. You can use the now ubiquitous Facebook event, but don’t count on it to be altogether effective. Eventbrite is a useful tool that works well on mobile. Mailed invitations are always classy, but a phone call often does the trick, and once you’ve had a voice to voice, you know your event is truly on their radar.
- Buy groceries
You’ve planned your menu and made your list! Now it’s time to head to the grocery store. Don’t forget to check the refrigerator to make sure you truly have enough of the condiments you might otherwise take for granted. It’ll save you an emergency trip to the store later, probably when you are up to your elbows in meat marinades and chopped veggies.
You’ll probably need to get started at least a couple of hours before your guests arrive to make sure that the side dishes are assembled, your tableware is out, your drinks are on ice, etc. Even if you start cooking the meat after your guests have arrived, there will be plenty to do ahead of time.The sooner you start, the less anxious you’ll be about being stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is mixing and mingling.
- Have fun!
Isn’t that what’s it’s all about? A barbecue is a social event, where you get to spend time with
people you care about! Good food and good company can’t be beat!
Of course, if that’s just too many steps, you can always call Randy Peters Catering and we can walk you through steps one through seven, handling all the heavy lifting, planning, cooking, delivery, and even service. Looking to impress your guests? Consider having us roll out the barbecues to your event site and letting your guest smell the smoke rolling off the grills. No room for barbecues? Randy Peters delivers beautifully arranged trays of various barbecued foods.
After all, Plan. Party. Repeat—it’s what we do! So you can enjoy Step #7!