Summer Barbecue

What You Need to Entertain Outdoors this Summer

From serving your meals on time to providing your guests with fun entertainment, these tips will help your summer party go off without a hitch.

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‘Pane rotto,’ or breaking bread with family and friends, is an important tradition in many households. Hospitality and entertaining are two staples that are rarely ignored—especially now that summer is in full swing. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the beautiful weather and ‘pane rotto’ with friends and family. That’s why ESTATENVY is breaking down the current trends for hosting and entertaining this season.

Keep the Food Coming

Nothing says summer like firing up the grill for a classic barbecue. But there are ways to take your event to the next level.

Paul Samojluk, the pitmaster and executive chef at Lockdown Smoked – The Joint Next Door in Chicago, suggests finding ways to use indirect heat and wood chips when grilling. It is also a difficult balance to prepare the food so that it’s warm and ready in time for all of your guests at the same time.

“When you’re hosting, you’re thinking ‘How do I get all of this food out and keep it warm at the same time?’” Samojluk said. “You can only do so much outside on the grill. So using the kitchen and stove inside helps too. Sausages and burgers are quick. But meat takes longer. That’s why bigger cuts are helpful—brisket can feed a ton of people. You also want to coordinate your sides. For example, coleslaw can be prepared a couple of days in advance until you add salt. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, catering helps ease the stress of hosting a party.”

Games and Entertainment

Backyard games, full size Jenga and card games are great ways to spend time. And if you don’t have room for those in your front or backyard, consider reserving a spot at a local park. Many have tables, gazebos, charcoal grills and great views that are perfect for outdoor entertaining. Parks also have plenty of space to relax, set up volleyball or badminton. Find a solid central location so your guests don’t have to travel far or deal with parking issues.

Ambiance and Decorations

Popular restaurants do well when people enjoy their environment and setting. Hosting a summer party works the same way. That’s why BoConcept global visual merchandising manager Kalina Todorova advises on finding a theme for a party.

“You want to have a festive theme with decorations. But don’t overdo it. Fresh flowers, colors, pillows and small accessories create a nice atmosphere,” Todorova said.

String lights and homemade party favors will also spruce up your outdoor living space.

After picking a theme, the next step is to determine what the functionality requirements of your space are. Ask how many people you will have and what will the seating be? Will guests be lounging, at a dinner table or outdoors? Will you be serving snacks, full meals or just drinks? If you’re hosting outdoors, it’s important for guests to feel comfortable where they can maneuver and fit around others to get to the drinks and food.

BoConcept offers modular furniture, which is customizable for different functions. For example, a full size sofa can also be configured for a different space where a small two-seater would fit.

“You want to get creative and use ottomans, foot stools and side tables. Sometimes guests will be lounging on the floor and need pillows,” Todorova said. “Bar carts are great for serving food, stacking plates and are easy to maneuver.”

Multipurpose furniture such as dining tables with extensions and stackable chairs or tables can help with limited spaces. This can also include coffee tables that rise to a dining level height and sleeper sofas with storage inside.

Mingle

Introduce your guests to one another and make sure everyone is having a good time. It’s one thing to have a small gathering while swapping inside jokes from grade school to college. But as people grow, parties can be great ways to introduce new friends, co-workers and neighbors. Even though this can seem more daunting than setting up table arraignments at a wedding, it’s a good way to ensure everyone at your event has a great time.

Be Creative with Drinks

Local craft beers are great conversation starters, especially if you have guests in from out of town. People love showing off their local brews as a sense of hometown pride.

Also, have fun with some cocktails by looking up unique or offbeat recipes online. Frozen boozy popsicles, watermelon kegs, Bloody Marys with crazy garnishes, unique drink and food pairings and frozen slushies will be instant hits.