Tips & Advice | How to host a BBQ

When you've invested in a high-quality grill or outdoor kitchen from Kick Ass Grills, the next step is to put it to use preparing delicious grilled foods for your family and friends. There's no better way to get the most out of your purchase than to host a BBQ, and this guide is here to help you prepare and plan a get-together that is sure to be the talk of the block. Whether it's for a holiday or just because, a well-planned BBQ party is sure to delight, and the top-notch products from Kick Ass Grills are a great place to start.

Getting Started with Hosting a BBQ

Like anything worth doing, a backyard BBQ is worth doing right and the first step is a solid game plan. When you're grilling for a large group, unforeseen problems can really put a damper on the party, but if you come in ready for anything, you can ensure that the festivities go off without a hitch. This guide is here to walk you through the main points, helping you along the way to a memorable bash. The topics we'll be focusing on are food purchasing and prep, helpful accessories, and cleaning.

Purchasing and Preparing the Food

The star of the show at any BBQ (other than your grill, of course) is the food. When you pick the right meats, sides, and sauces, you can be sure your spread will be a big hit, and when you buy smart and prep correctly, you can save yourself some money and ensure an all-around great experience for you and your guests.

Meat and Marinades

For most grillmasters, meat is the main attraction. Whether you're keeping it simple with burgers and brats or taking it to the next level with pulled pork, spare ribs, or brisket, picking the right meat and preparing it properly is essential to throwing a great BBQ. One of the easiest ways to add exceptional flavor to any meat is with a marinade, a mixture of oil, acid, and spices in which the meat is soaked before cooking.

This helpful chart lists common types of meat with marinade ingredients that complement their flavor, but marinades are a great way for a home chef to customize their cooking, so feel free to experiment.

MeatSuggested Marinade Flavors
ChickenLime, garlic, soy sauce, honey
BeefRed wine vinegar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce
PorkCider vinegar, Dijon mustard, brown sugar
SeafoodLemon, parsley, miso paste, chili flakes

How Much Food to Buy for a BBQ

Buying just the right amount of food for a BBQ can be tricky, but consider these starting points:

  • Bone-In vs. Boneless proteins
  • Raw weight vs. Cooked Weight
  • Portions per person
  • Sides and Sauces

Bone-In vs. Boneless

It's important to remember when choosing a cut of meat that you need to account for bone weight for things like chicken legs, pork chops, or bone-in pork shoulder.

Cooked Weight

Meat naturally loses weight over the course of the cooking process as fat is rendered out and water evaporates. The exact amount will vary by cut, but a good rule of thumb is that cooked meat will generally weigh 70% of what it did raw. So if you need 5 pounds of cooked meat, you'd want to start with roughly 7.5 pounds of food.

Amount Per Person

After factoring in bone weight and weight loss due to cooking, it's best to aim for about 4 oz to 8 oz of meat per person, but it's always better to err on the side of too much instead of too little. For example, a 10-pound pork shoulder will produce approximately 6-7 pounds of pulled pork in total, feeding approximately 12-15 people. In addition, consider if the meat will be served on a bun - making sandwiches is a great way to stretch your proteins further. Instead of needing 8 oz of meat, 4 oz of pulled pork is enough to make an average-sized sandwich.

Sides and Sauces

While you'll never go wrong with a spread of deliciously grilled meat, one of the best ways to make a BBQ meal really memorable is to serve up quality side dishes and sauces along with it. You could cook these sides in your kitchen while trying to man the grill, but running back and forth like that is a potential recipe for burned food and a burned-out host. You can make your life easier with a range-style side burner from Kick Ass Grills. These have the added benefit of letting you use your entire grill for meat, speeding up the process.

Other ways to cook delicious veggies on a grill could include a rotisserie kit, many of which can be fitted with a wire basket for smaller items, or a drop-in griddle plate which are supremely versatile. With the purchase of a handful of accessories, you can turn your grill into an all-in-one cooking station.

Other Things to Remember

While it's impossible to plan for every possible snag when buying food for a large group of people, here are a few things to keep in mind when coming up with your menu.

Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

Many guests will volunteer this information, but a thoughtful host can save themselves a headache by asking about common allergies to things like gluten, soy, nuts, and eggs. And with more and more people choosing to go vegetarian or vegan, having some non-meat options for the grill is sure to be helpful.

Fuel Reserves

If you use a natural gas grill, this isn't something you'll need to worry about, but if you're using propane or a charcoal grill, it's definitely a good idea to check your supply and get some extra just in case. Running out of fuel in the middle of grilling is something that no one wants to deal with.

Tableware and Napkins

After you've made a list of all the meat, side dishes and ingredients you'll need, make sure to add things like plates, cutlery, napkins and serving implements. Spending a little extra to get higher quality versions of these can save you a lot in potential messes and frustration.

Clean-Up Doesn't Have to Be Hard

After a fun evening with friends and family and a delicious grilled meal, cleaning up may well be the last thing you want to do, but it needs to be done nonetheless. With a few smart cleaning accessory purchases, you can make cleaning your grill and outdoor kitchen easier and more convenient. In particular, a specially formulated cleaning and degreasing solution is sure to save you from having to scrub too hard and will keep your grill looking sharp for years to come. For more grill cleaning tips, check out this how-to clean a gas grill article.

Getting Started

With the tips outlined above, you're more than ready to throw a memorable BBQ. If you would like help finding the right products to enhance the experience, get in touch with our grilling experts. You can contact us by phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time or any time via email.