Backyard Entertaining Tips
During Summer, the best entertaining usually happens outdoors. Who doesn’t like to be outdoors when the weather is sunny and warm? But although the weather is beautiful in the summer, sometimes there are pitfalls. Many things can cause outdoor entertaining to be uncomfortable. Read on for our Backyard Entertaining Tips.
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The one thing about entertaining outdoors is the bugs can be really annoying. Where we live, mosquitoes are the culprits. They are the one bug that drives us nuts.
We have tried all kinds of ways to repel mosquitoes. Everything from sprays to plants, but nothing worked. That is until we found Thermacell Mosquito Repellers.
Thermacell makes all kinds of repellers to suit different needs. Our favourite is their rechargeable models because they are portable, making them great for on the go.
These repellers have no scent to them, so you won’t smell like insect repellent, nor will you smell citronella. This makes these perfect for outdoor dining. The only smell will be the food.
We use these while camping as well as on the sidelines of our son’s football practices and games. These are the perfect size to fit in your bag to take on the go. And they can be recharged in your car or using a portable charger.
Sunburn is always a risk in the summer months. Fair-skinned or not, sunburn affects many people every year. It is reported that 1 in 3 people suffers sunburn every summer in the United States. And 37% of adults in Canada have reported getting sunburned every summer.
There are many ways to prevent sunburn other than staying indoors all day. One way is to make sunscreen available for your guests. A basket near the entrance to your backyard to hold a can or two of sunscreen is a good way for guests to remember to apply sunscreen when they arrive.
Make sure when you set up your yard for entertaining, that you have shade available for your guests.
Umbrellas are perfect for providing shade when your yard lacks the natural shady spots like under a tree. We have an assortment of patio umbrellas that can be moved around to keep our guests comfortable.
Hanging umbrellas are easily moved to provide shade as the sun moves. Clip-on umbrellas are perfect for individual chairs because they move with the chair as guests move around the yard. The clip-on umbrellas are also great for the beach or at the park.
Keeping Cold Food Cold
The last thing you want to get after entertaining outdoors is finding out someone got food poisoning of some sort from food that was not properly stored and kept at the right temperature.
Make sure that you have plenty of ice available to keep cold food cold. But at the same time, keep ice for drinks separated from the ice for the food. We have seen people get sick from using cooler ice in their drinks. A small insulated ice bucket is great for ice for drinks.
Keep salads and condiments in the fridge until it is time to serve the food. We use a caddy that fits in our fridge to keep the mayo, mustard, pickles, and other condiments in. When the food is ready to be served, we bring the caddy out and place it on the table. It makes it easy to clean up too.
Keeping Hot Food Hot
Again, it is important to keep hot food at the right temperature. We use a leave-in thermometer to make sure the meat we serve is at the right temperature. But once it’s cooked, it is important not to leave it out too long before consuming.
Meat that comes off the BBQ and is waiting to be served, gets wrapped in aluminum foil to keep the temperature of the meat. It also helps to keep the flies from landing on the meat while it rests and until it is ready to serve.
If we are preparing a lot of food for a large gathering, we will keep one of our barbecues at a low temperature to keep hot foods at the right temperature until ready to serve. Indirect heat is a good way to keep the food from overcooking. We usually do this on the gas grill because it is easier to keep at a low temperature.
Dinnerware For Outside
When hosting an outdoor event, dishes and cutlery seem to be a big concern. In the past, no one thought twice about using Styrofoam or paper plates for outdoor entertaining. But these days, we are more environmentally conscious so disposable plates and cutlery are not used as much.
What to use in place of paper plates
Plastic or melamine plates are a great alternative. We use plain white melamine plates we found at Dollarama for everyday outdoor dining. For hosting friends and family, we use a better set we found on Amazon. They are easy to clean and don’t break when dropped or thrown by a two-year-old.
There are also compostable plates that can be placed in your composting bins. These are more expensive than using reusable plates but are convenient for larger crowds or for going on a picnic or a day at the beach.
Plastic Cutlery (non-disposable)
Bamboo cutlery is readily available at most big box stores now. It is a great alternative to using plastic.
Another great alternative is reusable plastic cutlery. We purchased sets from a camping store that are thicker than regular disposable cutlery. They are thicker and last a long time. They were inexpensive and lasted through the summer.
Glasses and Cups
Solo cups or Red Cups have been to go to in the past for serving drinks outside because they are convenient. But they are not good for the environment.
We have opted for plastic tumblers. They withstand the outdoors and don’t easily break.
Clean Up Afterwards
This is the one thing that is not fun about entertaining outdoors. But we have found some ways to make it easier.
Commercial dish tubs are the best thing for dirty dishes. We place them at the end of the table and direct everyone to place their dirty plates, cutlery, and glasses in them. A compost bag is also set beside the tubs for scraping plates first.
Then the tubs are filled with water from the outdoor hose and a little soap. The tubs are left to soak until guests have left. The dishes are easily washed then because they have been soaking. Just carry the tub inside and the dishes are done in no time.
A Few Extra Backyard Entertaining Tips
When it comes to entertaining, don’t overdo it. Make sure that you are not spending all your time cooking and waiting on guests. Backyard entertaining is meant to be fun. And that includes the hosts. Here are a few extra tips:
- Prepare what you can ahead of time. The day before is a great time to prepare salads and sides.
- To keep flies off food, invest in netting or food tents.
- Fill the coolers the night before and add ice an hour or so before your guests arrive.
- Make sure the menu you are serving is not too complicated and is something you have cooked before. The last thing you need is a recipe fail when you have hungry guests.
- If your guests are bringing small children, set up an area for the kids to play. Have some bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and other outdoor activities to keep the kids busy.
What Food To Serve
If you are looking for ideas of what to serve at a BBQ, check out some of our BBQ and Sides recipes. No matter what meat you serve, you will need plenty of side dishes. The following are some of our most requested sides:
Do you have any tips to share that we have missed? We would love to hear them in the comments below.