The summer is quickly approaching with Memorial Day this coming Monday, which means grilling season is upon us! Grilling is my most favorite thing to do in the summer – and spring, fall and even winter. I’ve been known to grill in my down jacket in a snowstorm. Grilled food just tastes so delicious. Now that we have our grill up and running at the new house, we use it all the time.
Grilling for a crowd is an easy way to cook a ton of food at the same time. If you’re throwing a Memorial Day BBQ party, you want to be PART of the party, not in the kitchen spending time throwing things together. Whenever I host a large gathering at our house, I try to follow the following tips. Grilling for a crowd is even easier because you are able to cook more food at the same time than you would be able to on the stove top. Here are my 5 Memorial Day BBQ grilling tips if you are throwing a big party at your house to kick off the summer, but want to actually spend time being part of the party, too!
1. Marinate, marinate, marinate
Not only does marinated food taste better, but marinating your food in advance helps you to get all of your big ingredients ready the night before. This is a time saver because all you have to do is take the meat or veggies out of the fridge an hour before you want to cook to let it come up to room temperature and then throw it on the grill!
Here are some of my favorite marinades to use on chicken and steak. I would use the balsamic and soy sauce marinade on veggies, too!
2. DON’T SERVE KABOBS!
That is, unless you want to spend the entire day before skewering your ingredients. I absolutely love making kabobs for Jeff and I for dinner, but this is not the type of food to serve for a crowd because of the sheer amount of prep time involved. It’s easier to marinate whole pieces of meat, for example a whole chicken breast, as opposed to cutting it up into tiny chunks, then marinating it, and then skewering it. Memorial Day BBQ’s should be about kicking off the summer, but also getting to enjoy the BBQ!
3. Set up the fix-ins in advance
No one wants to spend the whole afternoon of their own Memorial Day BBQ cutting up tomatoes, onions, washing lettuce, grabbing the cheese, etc. Do all in this prep the night before, after you marinate your meat, so that you can just take it out of the fridge before you are ready to serve your meal.
If you want to make potato salad, a great idea would be to cook the potatoes the night before, so that you can assemble the potato salad the morning of your Memorial Day BBQ. Prepping a salad in advance is great, too, so you can just pull it out of the fridge when it is time to eat, set up the different salad dressings you want to serve, and then go!
TIP: Kindly note, if you are serving anything with mayo, make sure that you have a way to keep it cold. Mayo spoils easily and you don’t want your guests getting sick. A tip for this is to get a bowl larger than the bowl you are going to serve your potato salad in, put ice in the bottom of the larger bowl, and set your potato salad on top. Voila!
4. Make sure you have enough food for your guests
Have you ever heard the phrase, “it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it?” No one wants to run out of food when they have 15+ people at their house. Not only would that be embarrassing, but it’s safe to say no one should be driving to the store to pick up more food after celebrating Memorial Day the best way they know how: by drinking. One rule of thumb I like to use is to have enough burgers and hot dogs for each person. Some people like to take a burger and a hot dog, so I like to have enough food for them to do this. I will also cut chicken breasts in half after cooking, so that people can grab a smaller piece of chicken. Whatever rule of thumb you want to use is great, just make sure that you have enough food for your guests!
5. Please… make sure the food is cooked
This one goes without saying, but please check your food to be sure it is cooked. Whether you use a thermometer to check the internal temperature or cut into a few pieces of the meat to make sure it’s cooked inside, PLEASE make sure the food is cooked all the way through. You won’t believe how many times I have been to a BBQ only to spit out a raw piece of chicken the griller thought was cooked. Please don’t send your guests home with salmonella.
I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day and get to lots of BBQing and relaxing! What are your plans?
Check out my food page for more yummy and simple food ideas!