In a country where food holds special cultural importance and where traditional recipes are passed down from generation to generation, barbeque still manages to hold a special place.
Few things are as inherent with American culture as having a barbeque at your backyard. In fact, the barbeque was here when first European settlers arrived and through hundreds of years, it has transformed itself along with people of this country.
This modern culinary tradition can be traced back to the Caribbean, where it was used more out of necessity, than indulgence. In order to keep meat safe from contamination and in the absence of refrigerators, drying it out in the sun was the only choice.
The obvious problems with that, namely meat spoiling or being infested with bugs was addressed by placing it over a smoky fire, that drew the insects away and preserved meat for later use. This method was not specific to Caribbean culture; however, it most certainly gave rise to what today is known as barbeque.
To list all the approaches different parts of the country have with barbeque would be an article in itself (just for example, in some parts barbeque specifically means pork, while in others it means cattle) and to even dare to suggest which cooking method is superior, would be blasphemous.
This choice will be yours to make, while the rest of the article will outline the best guidelines and tips you should use to get that All American backyard barbeque.
If you want to know more about the history of barbeque, you can read up here:
Which Grills To Go For?
You cannot have a barbeque without a piece of proper equipment. Choosing a correct grill to use is actually not that hard, but the number of products available on the market may make it look like a daunting task.
There are several key points you need to consider before making a choice: Budget, Space, and Purpose.
Due to the high diversity of products, you are sure to find something for almost every budget. The range of prices may vary from a couple hundred bucks to several grand.
Take into consideration all the additional costs your new purchase might entail. For example, if you will decide to go with a gas grill, you will have to provide a gas line as well.
If you are dreaming about having frequent barbeques, with a lot of guests, then other considerations need to be taken into account. You might want to fix up your backyard and make it more appealing, by outdoor chairs and tables.
Even though a grill is the foundation of every barbeque party, there also are other factors. So don’t blow all of your budget on a single purchase. This is especially true when you also have to consider the placement of the grill in an already prebuild outdoor kitchen. Make sure that you will have enough space to accommodate your new purchase.
The purpose of getting a grill can be manifold. You might want it for your private enjoyment, having quality time with your family or throwing a party every other weekend. This all factors into the choice of the grill model as some might have capabilities that will be either insufficient for some of those needs, or be straight up overkill for others.
There are several different types of grills that you should be aware of. You can go for a classical charcoal one, which many BBQ enthusiasts favour because of the specific flavour it provides. However, it tends to be less efficient and messier than other types of grills.
Most popular ones on the market tend to be either gas or propane grills. They tend to cost a bit more, however, there is a reason they are bestsellers. The cost of operating and their efficiency is high and you won’t get as messy as with charcoal one.
There are also electric grills, but due to them being mostly used in cases when backyards are not available, we won’t spend time talking about them.
You can read on about what types of grills are available on the market here:
What Do You Want To Cook?
There are many culinary options for your barbeque party. You can go with something as classic and timeless as steaks and burgers or even go with a sea-based menu. The world is your oyster and the choice will be fully dependent on your dietary preferences.
You cannot go wrong if you decide to go with a steak. Even though it can be pricy, no one will regret coming to your party. Grilling the steak can be so easy, that you will almost feel unfair that the result is so magnificent. Just don’t forget to use salt from both sides and no matter how hard it is, let them rest in their juices for a couple of minutes before you dine on them.
Due to its more generous pricing, some would say that burger is a way to go. Especially if you are planning a large gathering, steak can be too much for your pocket. There is not much you need to do to get a perfect burger. Actually, the less you do the better. Some enthusiastic hosts love flipping them over and over again. Refrain yourself from showing off to your guest. The less you disturb the burger, the better it will taste.
Third most popular choice would be grilling some hot dogs. These come in many shapes and forms and it is essential to know what you are dealing with. Some brands require a throughout cooking, while others are less capricious and are ready to go after a few minutes. Get some quality buns and condiments for your hot dog and you are set for the evening.
Is It Only Meat Then?
Meat is not the only thing that should be served in a backyard barbeque. There are tons of side dishes which complement the main course you have chosen.
One of the most popular ones to have is coleslaw. Grilled meat and coleslaw can be a match made in heaven. What is great about it is the amount of diversity you can bring to the table. You can add different vegetables to it, to perfectly fit the meat you have chosen, or simply based on your preference in greens.
If you are no fan of coleslaw than you can always go for a potato salad. In fact, having both of them available at your party would certainly be a benefit. The sight of roasted potato salad with a juicy steak is one of the most mouthwatering things you will ever see.
Even if you are a giant meathead, do yourself a favour and get some seasonal greens at the table. Fresh tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper and myriads of others will make your feast truly come to life. There is nothing better than the smell of barbequed meat and fresh vegetables coming from your backyard. And if you will have some children over, you will also provide a good role-modelling.
Avoiding Intruders And General Tips
Aside from food, drinks and people you are going to invite, good hosts need to be able to provide a comfortable environment that suits all the basic needs a guest might have.
One of the biggest annoyances you might get in your background, especially when serving food and sweet drinks, are an onslaught of insects. If you are going for a winter BBQ, that’s less of a problem; however as soon as the summer heats, those buggers will be all over the place. Not only will they prove to be a nuisance for everyone, but can carry germs that may contaminate food, or directly your guest.
There are several methods to avoid them, or at least make their activity tolerable. To deal with mosquitos, you will have to stock up on insect repellants. There are also special candles, the smell of which drives them away, but will not bother your guests.
It also should be obvious, but before the party starts, make sure that you have removed any trash in your backyard. And as soon as garbage starts to collect on the party, don’t let it linger. Remove them from premises as often as possible and make sure the bags are sealed.
You might feel fancy and bring out your cutlery for the guests, don’t! You won’t have time to wash them away during the party and they will only attract more insects. Use plastic dishes and cutlery and throw them out, as soon as guests are done using them.
Having a backyard barbeque party can be a blast. There is no better way to spend quality time with your loved ones in the comfort of your backyard. Having neighbors, relatives and co-workers over to impress them with your cooking skills is quite a gratifying experience.
And all this comes with the relatively small price of a grill, some meat and your backyard. Planning a backyard barbeque is not only a good way to have some delicious food, but is a perfect opportunity to experience the American dream.