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We love to host large cook outs. It is so much fun to have friends and family over. Since we do our cooking over our fire pit, its very relaxing to sit around the fire with them. No need to stress about having everyone over, here’s how to prepare for a large cookout so I can enjoy the cook out, too.
How to Prepare for a Large Cookout or Picnic
1. Plan the Menu for your Large Cookout or Picnic:
The fun part! If your having a lot of people over, it’s better to stick with tried and true recipes, instead of trying lots of new recipes. To keep things simple, I’m using the same menu for both cook-outs. My family doesn’t care, and the guest list is different for the cook-outs, so the guests won’t know. 🙂
- Hamburgers w/ lettuce, tomatoes, onions,
- Hot Dogs,
- Potato Salad,
- Macaroni Salad,
- Baked Beans,
- Carrot Sticks,
- Drinks: Water, Lemonade, Ice Tea.
Check out my post on How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon
A pretty simple, but crowd pleasing menu.
2. Gather Supplies
Now it’s time to check your supplies. Are you using real or paper plates, cups, silverware, etc.? Do you have enough? What about napkins, serving trays and the like? Start counting and add needed items to your grocery list.
3. Make a Grocery List
Check your menu against your pantry. This way, you won’t over buy. It will help you keep the cost of your cook-out down, if you shop your pantry first. Make sure you check your condiments, too. You don’t want to run out of ketchup or mustard.
4. Cook as Much as Possible Ahead of Time
I am a huge plan ahead and make ahead fan. Potato salad and macaroni salad actually taste better made the day before. The flavors have plenty of time to mingle. Once you figure out what you want to make ahead, it’s time to make a detailed cooking lists.
5. Make a Detail Cooking List
- Thursday night – Start beans in slow cooker
- Friday morning –
- Turn off slow cooker
- Boil eggs
- Boil macaroni
- Peel, dice & boil potatoes
- Grate carrots, peel and “stick” others
- Peel eggs, dice
- Assemble Macaroni Salad
- Assemble Potato Salad
- Make sauce for baked beans
- Assemble baked beans
- Slice tomatoes
- Prepare lettuce
- Slice onions
- Make lemonade
- Make tea
6. Make a Set-up List
Making this list ahead of time will help save you time. It will also save you headaches from trying to think of everything and forget nothing right before the guests arrive. Here’s mine:
- Move tables, cover with tablecloths
- Move chairs
- Build the fire, don’t start it yet, just get it ready to at appropriate time
- Place non-food items on tables: plates, cups, napkins, utensils, BBQ forks, tongs, spatula, plates for cooked meat, knife & tray for watermelon
- Place non-refrigerated food items on tables: buns, chips, marshmallows, graham crackers, etc.
- Bring out meats and start cooking
- Bring out refrigerated food, do this right before you eat, so you don’t have to worry about anything going bad.
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
7. Enjoy Your Cook-out or Picnic!
If you take the time to plan ahead and make these lists, your cook-out will go smoothly.
Enjoy your guests, and the great food you prepared!
Here are a few of my favorite things to make having a cook out easier, and more comfortable for your guests.
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