In The Kitchen

10 Tips to Throwing an End of Summer BBQ

Posted on

Labor Day has come and gone and the kids are back at school, but that’s no reason to put the grill away yet! Here are some tips to make your last summer BBQ one to remember!



Even if you’re not sure if someone will come, go ahead and invite them. Everyone loves an invitation! Using tools like the events page on Facebook is a great way to communicate with people about your event and keep track of who is coming.



Trade out traditional BBQ fare for lighter, healthier options, such as:

     ◊ Replace red meat and processed meats with chicken, pork, or even veggie burgers.

     ◊ Make your own marinades and sauces using citrus, fresh herbs, and grape seed oil.

     ◊ Replace heavy side dishes with hearty grains such as barley, farro, and quinoa. 

     ◊ Make it interactive with an ice cream or slider bar



Marinade your meat a few hours before grilling to enhance flavor and tenderize. Marinate meats in the refrigerator the morning of the event. 

Prepare your sides the night before, they are always better the second day and you will have more time to visit with your guests

Make sure you allow enough time for your meat to cook, and have a meat thermometer handy.

TIP! Don’t want your meat to dry out? Grill meat to get grill marks and finish them in the oven.


Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures

Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

Remember, you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it. Any cooked, uncured red meats – including pork – can be pink, even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. 


Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 4.25.31 PM


Why the Rest Times are Important

After you remove meat from a grill, oven, or other heat source, allow it to rest for the specified amount of time. During the rest time, it’s temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful germs.



Decorations don’t have to be expensive or difficult and many of the items you already have in your house! Such as: 

     ◊ Use bowls of fresh fruit and vegetables.

     ◊ Display your fresh herbs to keep thinks light and add a nice fragrance to the table.

     ◊ A colorful, washable tablecloth can make clean up a snap and add a pop of color.

     ◊ Use brightly colored accents, such as candles, beach balls, and sand toys to prolong that summer        feel.


Set the scene

Choose an easy theme or color scheme and make your event really stand out. Don’t forget the music! A blue tooth speaker is a create way to set the mood and let guests take turns as DJ.



Make a fresh flavored iced tea, lemonade, or Arnold Palmer. Consider having a signature drink! Some simple summer friendly beverages are margaritas and greyhounds. Sangria is also always a crowd pleaser.



Fruit is perfect for the grill and easy to prepare. Fruit is basically made up of water and sugar and by grilling it you can concentrate the flavors by reducing the water and caramelizing the natural sugars.

Hard fruits like apples, pears, and pineapples are the easiest to grill since they hold their shape and texture while cooking. Softer fruits like peaches, nectarines, plums and mangoes are delicious but will need extra attention to ensure they are not overcooked. 

Start by:

     ◊ Picking a fresh firm fruit that is just short of being ripe

     ◊ wash and cut in half

     ◊ Soak in cold water for 30 minutes, add 1 tsp of lemon juice will help with discoloring

     ◊ Make sure grate is very clean so you don’t mix flavors

     ◊ Wipe grate with a cooking oil or brush with butter

     ◊ Cook over medium heat, checking periodically




Shawn Wilson is one of the Founding Partners of Viga Italian Eatery & Caterer. Using her passion for food and entertaining, she has helped create our reputation for amazing food, top notch catering, and beautiful presentation. Living in Gloucester with her 3 Italian Greyhounds, Shawn uses her extra time to create helpful blogs for our customers and readers.