Hosting the perfect barbecue is not complicated but it does take a little pre-planning.  Simplicity is best and it affords you the time to enjoy being a host to your guests.  If your plan gets too complicated, you may want to get some additional help.

Let’s talk about your grill.   Are you charcoal or gas?  Make sure you have enough fuel to work the whole meal.  There is nothing worse than having to run to the store in the middle of cooking to swap out gas tanks or buy charcoal.

Standard meal consists of hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, corn on the cob, various salads and of course desert.   If you have vegetarian friends, make sure to have some veggie burgers on hand.  Kabobs are fun too!  You can let your guests make their own by setting up a buffet style skewer selections.  Chicken, beef, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and onions are pretty standard.  You can get as creative as you want.

Offer a variety of beverages, but again, keep it simple. Beer, wine, soda, water.  If you want to prepare margaritas or sangria, figure 3 drinks per guest when you are planning your recipe.  Don’t forget the ice!

Appetizers can be chips and dip to cheese and crackers.  Veggie platters are usually a big hit as well as bread dips.

What are your favorite side dishes?   Macaroni salad, potato salad, grilled vegetables.  Pasta salads can be with or without mayo.  A favorite is pasta, olives, chopped peppers, diced tomatoes, diced cheese with Italian dressing.  Quick, easy and a crowd favorite.

You have to have a watermelon in the dessert offering.  Watermelon is synonymous with summer bbq.  Other ideas are cupcakes, fruit pies, and frozen ices.

Be sure to have ample plates, forks, hot and cold cups and napkins.  A few strategically placed garbage bags will help make clean up quick.  Have a seperate bag for bottles / cans.

Quick grilling tip.  Should you have friends who do not eat meat, be sure to cook the veggie burgers first, or place their food on tin foil instead of directly on the grill.