From Grilling to Serving: How To Make a Perfect BBQ

From Grilling to Serving: How To Make a Perfect BBQ

From Grilling to Serving: How To Make a Perfect BBQ

It’s that time of year again. The sun stays up later into the evening, the temperature rises, and the grass is greener. That’s right, the barbecue season is just starting for much of the country, and soon the weekends will be packed with people entertaining their friends and family. 

Whether you’re a seasoned griller or a novice, a backyard barbecue is a great way to gather your friends and socialize. Someone’s not stuck in the kitchen during much of the evening, and you can spread out if you have many people or want to play games. The perfect barbecue isn’t just a matter of firing up the grill and getting the meat right, but it’s the most important thing.  Everything else is just window dressing, but if you don’t get the meat right, then the evening is ruined. Luckily, here’s how to make a perfect BBQ, from grilling to serving. 

Plan It Out

It’s always good to have a plan. When you’re cooking lots of different types of meat, you’ll have to work backward from the time you want everything ready to determine when to put each type of meat on the grill. Consider the meat you are going to serve as well. If you’re having a family cookout with kids and games, then hamburgers and hotdogs will be fine. However, if you invite friends over for wine and socializing, you might want something fancier, like steak or a chicken dish. Always ask if there are any diet restrictions or preferences. A vegetarian shouldn’t be left with only side dishes, for example. 

Prepare Ahead of Time

On the day of the barbecue, there’s a lot to do. Along with the food, you will have to clean up, set up tables and chairs, and put out anything else you want for the afternoon or evening. That’s why you must do whatever you can the night before. You don’t want your guests waiting all day for their food. First, chop up all your veggies and prepare your side dishes fully. Then you only have to unwrap and serve. The same goes for your toppings, such as pickles, lettuce, and onions. If you are making burgers, prepare the patties as well. Your goal should be that you only have to put the meat on the grill on the day of the barbecue. 

The other thing to remember is the charcoal or propane (or both). You want to avoid heading out during your barbecue for refills. If you are able, always have a spare propane tank or bag of charcoal. If your fuel runs out, then the meat won’t cook properly after you’ve got the grill going again. 


Steak isn’t a usual barbecue party meat simply because steak costs more. However, if you can afford it, or if it’s a gathering of only a few people, your guests will love it. Make sure that you get the appropriate cut of meat for what you want. Do not put them on the grill until they have reached room temperature. You can marinate them for a few hours or overnight, but often they are good with just some salt and pepper sprinkled generously. Heat them on high to get good grill marks, then lower the temperature to finish them off. Always let your steaks rest for at least 10 minutes after grilling. 


Kebabs are great for a barbecue party when you don’t want to serve the usual hot dogs and hamburgers. You can assemble them the night before, there are a variety of flavors, and they cook up fast. You can even do vegetarian kebabs. Put the meat on some bamboo skewers and alternate your vegetables. It’s usually best to cook on low heat so the veggies don’t end up overcooked. You can also cook all the meat on its own skewer and veggies on other skewers, and your guests can pick what they want. 


Chicken tastes great, but it can take time to get it right. It’s easy to overcook or undercook it. The best option is to salt your chicken for at least 24 hours before cooking. The salt will help it keep its juices as you grill it. Next, sear the chicken like you would a steak to give it an outer crust, and then move it to a cooler section of the grill to finish it off. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes. If the chicken is boneless, then a good rule of thumb is to marinate it and grill for 5-7 minutes on each side. 


If you’re not an expert griller, salmon might be the best option for you. It’s really simple. You put it on the grill skin side down and cover the grill. You don’t have to flip it or anything. It looks really cool on the grill as well. If you are cooking something more delicate, then use a fish basket with a timer. 


The key with hamburgers is patience. You’ll be tempted to flip them over a few times, but leaving them alone is best. Don’t press on them either, as you will squeeze out the juices. You only have to flip once, and that should be between halfway and a third through your cooking time. 

Hot Dogs

You really can’t go wrong with hot dogs. Simply grill them to your desired doneness. If you want to get creative, top them with something unique, like cilantro, bacon, blue cheese, or even salsa. The key for sausages is not to pierce or slice them, as that will allow the juices to escape. 

The backyard barbecue is a chance to take advantage of the weather and make some memories. While the food isn’t the only thing you need to consider, it’s the main thing. Follow these tips, and you will be just fine when hosting this summer.