If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be grilling this summer. The Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association reports that 75% of us own a smoker or a grill, and the U.S. Census Bureau found that in 2016 over 79 million Americans grilled at some point. And while 60% of those who grill do so all the year round, the game really steps up come summer. In fact, July 4th is the most popular grilling day of the year in the United States! So get your grill tools, put on the perfect apron, fire up the meat smoker or BBQ pit, and read on for five tips for the perfect family BBQ this summer.

  1. Family BBQ Tip #1: Condiments If you want to take things up a notch, go beyond the basic mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise this summer. Some cheap metal pots, mini Mason jars, or anything else can be converted into a unique condiment display featuring all the favorites, plus unique offerings like chopped green onions, gourmet mustards, hot sauces, relishes of different types, salsa, melted cheese, or various types of spicy peppers. You can also use popsicle sticks as labels in your condiments.
  2. Family BBQ Tip #2: Drinks It doesn’t take much creativity to grab some cases of cheap beer or some canned lemonade and throw them on ice. If you really want to impress your family at the outdoor BBQ this year, consider some other refreshing options. Infuse water with refreshing ingredients such as slices of citrus fruit, mint, or strawberries. Consider whipping up a sophisticated summer cocktail like a mint julep. Mix freshly brewed ice tea with flowery syrup or a complimentary liquor such as rum.
  3. Family BBQ Tip #3: Games What do you do when some people have arrived before you’ve even fired up the smoker grill? How about during those moments after the meal when everyone is in a bit of slump? Set up stations with frisbees, balls and bats, soccer or footballs, and maybe even a croquet set. Make it look inviting so your guests will be glad to play.
  4. Family BBQ Tip #4: Desserts Dessert is one of the most important parts of the family BBQ, and you better get this one right. Tired of standing there scooping out ice cream for a dozen people as it melts all over everything? Try scooping ice cream before the party begins. Use dishes, cupcake liners, or cones, and then put it back in the freezer to be passed out at the event. You can also pre-roll scooped ice cream in special treats, such as marshmallows, chopped nuts, peanut butter or chocolate chips, or crushed cookies.
  5. Family BBQ Tip #5: Temperature You want everything to be perfect. The meats should be hot and served to the guests’ liking. The desserts, the drinks, and some of the sides often need to be cold. Get some cheap parchment paper and print medium rare, medium, medium well, and well-done on strips of it. Put one on each plate and then pop the meats onto the correctly labeled plates so guests can choose what they like. For cold items, get an inexpensive kiddie pool and fill it with ice. Place items that need to be kept cool in and on the ice, and the pool on a table or stand. Put a couple coolers of ice in strategic places so that guests can refill their glasses as needed.

This summer, your family BBQ will the be best one in family history. Start planning now, get creative, and make sure it’s an event no one forgets.