Summer Barbecue Essentials

Summer isn’t complete without a few backyard barbeques with family and friends. Whether you’re the host with the most or a guest, everyone can appreciate a generous spread of summer favorites, some good music, and a little fun accompanied by libations for good measure. So, what do you need to get together to host the best barbecue ever? It’s as simple as these five steps.

1. Southern-inspired barbecue, of course!
Burgers and hot dogs are a must, but no barbeque buffet should exclude the true essential—southern-inspired barbecue, smothered in sauce and served with all the fixin’s. Our favorite? Barbecue Pulled Pork sandwiches fresh off the smoker with coleslaw and baked beans.

2. Games
Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? It’s the perfect way to work up an appetite for seconds—or thirds. Classic games have made a comeback in a big way, literally! Jumbo Jenga, Washers, and Corn Hole are just a few ideas to inspire your competitive spirit.

3. Music
Whether the jams are coming from a curated playlist you created yourself, a collaborative effort on music sharing platforms like Spotify, or live music from a talented friend, guests will be more likely to mingle and dance with a great soundtrack. Don’t have access to any of the above? Break out the old CDs and boombox, rock out to oldies on your iPod, or rely on the good old radio for some background noise that’s sure to set the stage for an awesome event.

4. Seasonal Sides
Let’s be honest—a spread of seasonal side dishes would be the main course if we didn’t love barbecue so much. Ask friends and family to potluck their go-to recipes for a delicious spread that everyone can enjoy. If they ask for suggestions, tell them to keep it Jersey Fresh with tomato salad, corn on the cob, fresh fruit skewers featuring blueberries, or a piping hot peach cobbler with locally churned vanilla ice cream for the perfect finale.

5. Local Libations
Keep the party lively with locally sourced spirits, wines, and craft brews. With new distilleries, vineyards, and breweries popping up almost daily, it’s easy to find something that fits your fancy and impress friends. Don’t know what you like yet? Stop by The Grove’s Summer Beer-BQ on Saturday, July 27 from 6 to 10 p.m. to sample brews from Glasstown Brewing Co., Tuckahoe Brewing Co., and Bonesaw Brewing Co., as a starting point!