Summer's here, which can only mean one thing – it's time to light the BBQ.
As guys, we're not always the best cooks. But when the coals hit the grill, and the meat starts to sizzle, we know it's go-time. Invite the guys around, grab a few beers and enjoy.
But you're a stylish guy, and you're known within your friendship group as the guy who knows how to dress. What will they think when you throw on the dad-sandals, oversized shorts, and greasy tank top?
Fear not – in today's article, we're covering summer dinner ideas, how to throw a killer BBQ, and how to dress to impress for the occasion.
- How Do You Throw A Classy BBQ?
- What Should You Wear To A Summer BBQ?
- How Can You Protect Your Clothes While Grilling?
- How Should You Entertain Your BBQ Guests?
- What Should You Serve At A BBQ?
#1 How Do You Throw A Classy BBQ?
When you think of a cookout or BBQ, it's easy to picture a bunch of greasy guys standing around a fire pit in the middle of a trailer park.
So can you actually throw a classy BBQ that upholds the summer dinner ideas of the American Grill without it descending into unstylish chaos?
Absolutely – in fact, it's really easy to do.
Send Out Invites
Let me start by saying this: I'm not suggesting you print off a load of invites like you would for a wedding. Your BBQ cookout will be great, but you really don't need to go that far.
However, instead of relying on word of mouth or phoning up your pals individually, create a Facebook event or start up a ‘Big Summer BBQ Blowout' WhatsApp chat that includes all the people you want to invite.
You're making your BBQ cookout look like more of an event than just a few guys grilling some burgers. Invite your pals to bring the wife and kids and put effort into accommodating this – after all, everyone loves to spend the day with their family.
Transform Your Yard
I want you to take a look at your yard right now. What do you see?
A bike with a broken handlebar? Trash cans? Overgrown weeds and long grass?
Chances are, your lawn doesn't look as nice as it could. This isn't great, because people will judge you for it when they visit your place!
Cleaning up the yard doesn't take days – it's just an afternoon's job. I encourage you to spend a few hours making your yard look presentable for your big BBQ cookout. If the guys are bringing their kids, they'll want to know there isn't anything dangerous hiding in the long grass!
- Trim the weeds
- Cut the grass
- Pack away the trash
- Store the bike in the shed
It's really that simple.
Finish off your clean-up by putting out a few chairs and a couple of tables, light up a fire pit, and make sure there's enough light for when the sun goes down.
Use A Quality BBQ Grill
Nothing looks worse than using a disposable BBQ at a big cookout.
They look tiny, don't cook meat properly, and are terrible for the environment.
Head to your local hardware store, and you'll be able to grab a basic Kettle Grill for under $100. Are you strapped for cash at the minute? I get it – but I bet you know someone who you could lend you their BBQ grill.
My point is this: you want to impress your guests. A cruddy BBQ grill isn't going to do that, so find a solution and make it happen! Either borrow one from a friend or buy your own!
Cook High-Quality Meat
I'll be covering the specifics of summer dinner ideas and what to serve at a BBQ cookout later on.
However, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention the importance of quality meat early in my article!
It's simple – don't go cheap. Cheap meat tastes cheap, so your guests will notice.
Am I saying you should spend your life savings on artisan meat joints? No.
Am I saying you should go to your local butcher and buy fresh cuts of locally sourced meat? Yes.
#2 What Should You Wear To A Summer BBQ?
Okay, gents, I get it.
It's the summertime, and it's hot – especially when you're standing in front of blazing coals. A stylish Oxford shirt and jean combo probably isn't the best idea for your BBQ cookout.
However, that doesn't mean you can dress like a slob to stay cool! There are plenty of outfit options that will keep your temperature down while maintaining the level of style people have come to expect from you!
You've just got to be careful with your choices of colors, fabrics, and cuts:
- Wear breathable fabrics: Linen and light cotton are great for the summertime. Shirts and trousers made from these fabrics will keep you looking great but allow your skin to breathe in the blazing heat.
- Lighter colors are king: The darker the color, the more it absorbs the sun. Wearing pastel colors and white is a great way to keep the heat from overwhelming your body. Fun fact: it's all about wavelengths! Black absorbs all wavelengths of light while white deflects them entirely!
- Get the right fit: The cut of your clothes – and thus the fit – is essential when trying to stay cool. Avoid anything described as ‘slim/skinny fit' – these garments won't let any air near your skin, which will make you sweat. Opt for tailored/regular-fit clothing that fits your body but doesn't hug your skin.
To give you guys some inspiration, I've put together a few sample outfits that should suit any BBQ cookout situation.
You're the guy who's hosting the BBQ cookout, so you've got to be the best-dressed guy there.
Opt for a short sleeve linen shirt in white with navy, lightweight chino shorts, and classic boat shoes. Wear no-show socks and accessorize with a dive watch or chronograph.
You may want to have a seersucker sports jacket to hand in case the breeze brings the temperature down. Opt for a pastel color so that most of your outfit uses light, summer tones.
Thankfully, you're in your own yard. You can switch things up by simply going inside and changing outfits if necessary.
Let's say you're the guy who's attending a pal's BBQ cookout rather than running one yourself. Depending on how far you've traveled, you'll need to plan for different weather situations when choosing your outfit for the event.
As a base – opt for a long sleeve linen shirt with the arms rolled up 2-3 notches. A band collar may be a good option here, as it shows class and style without forcing too much fabric around your neck.
Straight/regular fit chinos are your best friend in this situation. Avoid any tapering in the leg so that you can roll up your pant legs an inch or two if the weather gets too hot. This will allow air to travel up your pant leg and keep you cool without needing to change out of your pants into a pair of shorts.
Boat shoes with no-show socks are an excellent option for most summer weather variations. Bring a light-colored cotton blazer or sports coat with you but leave it in the car if the sun's shining brightly. When the sky clouds over, you've got the option to wear it if you feel it's necessary.
Finally, accessorize your outfit with sunglasses that suit your face shape and a dive/chronograph timepiece.
#3 How Can You Protect Your Clothes While Grilling?
Anyone that's BBQ'd meat knows how much smoke and fat can affect the clothes you wear when cooking up your summer dinner ideas.
The high temperatures and fatty meats used on a grill mean that you could come away from cooking smelling of smoke and covered in grease stains from the sizzling meat. That's not ideal if you're wearing your favorite linen shirt!
However, there is a straightforward way to avoid this – something that men have been doing for over 100 years when grilling their meat… wear an apron!
Okay, okay, I hear what you're saying! How can you look stylish while wearing the ‘world's best dad' apron your kids bought you for fathers day? Sure it's a lovely gift, but it doesn't exactly show off your sense of style.
The trick is to invest in a great apron that looks the part.
Go ahead and google ‘chef's apron.' Browse the options available until you find one that you like the look of.
For a stylish apron, you should aim to purchase a dark-colored, textured apron without any large text or branding on the front. Consider this part of your BBQ wardrobe – the same rules apply for buying an apron as they do when buying a t-shirt.
Avoid big labels, choose muted colors and ensure that it fits well! You should also make sure it covers the whole of your torso – some aprons only cover from the waist down, which isn't going to help you protect your upper body clothing.
#4 How Should You Entertain Your BBQ Guests?
Music. Music. Music.
There's nothing worse than a BBQ cookout where everyone stands around in silence. You might have great summer dinner ideas and pro-level BBQ'ing skills, but poor entertainment could ruin everything within minutes.
Here's the reality – you've invited all your pals round for a get-together. But their wives and kids probably don't know one another, so things could be a bit awkward, to begin with.
Having some crowd-pleasing music playing is a great way to break the tension of a first meeting as it provides your guests with something to talk about! While you and the guys are grabbing a beer to catch up, your wives should be mingling and getting to know one another.
For the kids, throw a few balls in the yard and get the old slide out from the shed. Kids are far less likely to feel awkward; they'll play with anyone! So go ahead and give them something to be getting on with while the drinks flow and the food gets cooked.
Personally, I'd avoid any team-building exercises and get-to-know-you games! These might work in corporate settings to help colleagues connect with one another, but no one wants to take a leap of faith at a BBQ cookout!
#5 What Should You Serve At A BBQ?
One word: meat.
The very essence of a great BBQ cookout is the quantity and quality of the meat you serve.
As I said earlier, make sure you buy quality meat for your summer dinner ideas! No one wants to chew on a tough steak or stringy chicken breast.
However, it's also vital to ensure you cater to the number of people coming to your BBQ cookout! Imagine the embarrassment of serving up the burgers only to find one of your guests has to go without.
For the perfect BBQ assortment, I'd grill up:
- Thin Grilling Steaks
- Beef Burgers
- Spare Ribs
- Chicken and Lamb Kebabs
- Beef Hot Dogs
- Pork Chops
- Chicken Breast
And for the buffet table:
- Green Leaf Salad
- Grilled Veggie Mix
- Smoked Cheese
- Fried Rice
- Grilled Corn On The Cob
- Potatoe Salad
Now you've got your summer dinner ideas sorted and know how to throw a killer BBQ, check out my guide on how to plan a killer bachelor party.