Summer is the perfect time to fire up the grill and have a party! The menu is a very important part of any great gathering. Whether you’re hosting a family-style bash, a casual backyard get-together, or an elegant dinner party under the stars, make sure you choose the right cuisine for the occasion.
When throwing a party for families with kids, it’s important to have a menu that is not too complicated or fancy. Try creating a menu around anything that can fit in a bun. This casual option is perfect for pleasing picky eaters and also allows adult guests the freedom to easily chat, mingle, and chase after kids.
But just because you’re going with the “bun” theme, it doesn’t mean your menu has to be boring! There are plenty of ways to be creative! For instance, all of your burgers don’t have to be beef. Consider trying veal, pork, chicken, or turkey. Along with delicious classic Cheddar Cheese Burgers, try grilling up Lamb-Rosemary Burgers or Turkey-Veal Apple Burgers. If you have guests who enjoy spicy food, they will love these Spicy Southwestern Pork-Turkey Burgers.
There are also so many great grilling sausages you can choose from. Hot Dogs are classic, but Kielbasa is also a great grilling sausage. You can also take the opportunity to introduce your guests to sausages they may not be as familiar with. Kaese Krainer is a mild sausage that contains bits of Swiss cheese that mix and mingle with coarse pieces of beef and pork while grilling, resulting in an addictively flavorful sausage oozing with cheesy goodness! Grill up some bite-size Cocktail Wieners for the kids. And your spicy food loving guests would enjoy Chorizo or Andouille.
As for side-dishes, when it comes to feeding kids who may or may not have mastered using utensils yet, hand-held is key. Think chips and dip, fresh seasonal veggies, slices of watermelon, and corn on the cob.
A buffet-style menu works well if you are going to be feeding many people in a casual setting. This allows your guests to choose when they eat and is low maintenance for the host, so you can spend time enjoying your guests.
Roasts are a great option for a buffet because they can feed many people. They are also easy to prepare. Just season the roast, throw it on the grill, slice, and serve. Rib Roasts and Shell Roasts are great for grilling. Try preparing this Grilled Standing Rib Roast recipe. Or check out our video tutorial that demonstrates how to grill a roast.
Kabobs are also a great option for a buffet-style get-together. Kabobs can be made using a variety of meats, seafood, vegetables—and even fruit!—allowing for options that will please all of your guests. Plus, who doesn’t love meat on a stick! Impress your guests with this recipe for Pork Tenderloin Kabobs with Herbs and Bacon, or this one for Honey Mustard Chicken Kabobs.
Any of these options works great served alongside big bowls of slaw, and all sorts of salads—macaroni, potato, pasta, or fruit!
Sit-Down Dinner Party
There are many meals you could choose to serve at a sit-down dinner party. For a sophisticated way to celebrate a truly special occasion, consider serving Surf & Turf.
For slightly larger gatherings you may want to grill a few bigger steaks. A Porterhouse would be a great choice because it contains a full portion of both the filet and the strip. Follow this recipe for Lobel’s Classic Grilled Porterhouse Steak and impress your guests when you serve a steak that was grilled to perfection.
And when hosting a sit-down dinner party, you can’t forget a dessert course. Grilled fruit is our favorite place to start. Grill fresh pineapple and serve over vanilla bean ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce. Or grill fresh peaches and serve with warm biscuits and fresh whipped cream. Or thread strawberries onto skewers, brush with a well-aged balsamic vinegar, and grill, then serve with crème fraîche for dipping.
What do you like to serve at a cookout? Do you prefer big parties with lots of guests or more intimate gatherings? What is your favorite food to eat at a cookout? Which style of backyard entertaining do you usually do?