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What do you need to host a barbecue?

Essential items for your next barbecue

Few things beat a barbecue on a sunny day or a starry night. Before you send out invites for your next backyard barbecue, make sure you have everything you need for a successful al fresco gathering.

Investing in a few essentials can turn a good barbecue into a great one. If you’re wondering whether you should upgrade your grill gear or pick up new dining accessories, this roundup has you covered.

How do I prepare to host a barbecue?

Barbecues are simple to host, but even the easiest backyard parties like these benefit from some planning. Here are a few suggestions to point you in the right direction:

  • Check the weather and make contingency plans in the event that you’re rained out.
  • Do a headcount so you can buy the right amount of food and beverages.
  • Have a well-rounded grill menu so all guests can find something they’ll enjoy.
  • Enlist the help of household members or friends to pick up food or other items.
  • Prepare some food in advance to save time the day of the barbecue.
  • Tidy up your outdoor space so guests have plenty of room to hang out.
  • Keep trash and recycling bins within reach of guests.

If you’ve got this checklist covered, you’re ready to move on to the next few categories covering necessary barbecue items.

What grill tools should I buy for my barbecue?

Kebabs remain a popular barbecue food because they’re easy to make and quick to grill. Choose a set of stainless steel skewers, which, unlike bamboo skewers, are reusable. As an added bonus, you don’t need to soak these skewers prior to use.

If you love vegetables but kebabs aren’t your thing, pick up a grilling tray. Whether you’re grilling corn on the cob or peppers and onions, it’s a solid choice. It’s also easy to flip veggies inside a grill tray to get an even sear.

One of the most inventive grill tools we’ve seen is a Himalayan salt slab, which can be placed on a grill to cook meat, fish and kebabs. It infuses food with a mineral-rich salt flavor, and when you’re not grilling with it, it’s an eye-catching serving tray or charcuterie board.

What serveware do I need to host a barbecue?

Grilling is one thing, but serving takes the cake for one of the most challenging aspects of planning a barbecue.

Most people forego the fancy china and use durable outdoor dinner plates instead. They’re made from melamine, a material best known for its scratch-, stain-, and shatter-resistance. Many melamine plates are also BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.

As far as drinkware goes, guests can enjoy chilled beverages with insulated tumblers, like this set of four by Tervis. They have double-walled construction that keeps beverages cooler longer, even in the sweltering heat.

Speaking of staying cool, you won’t need to worry about shrimp or veggie platters getting too warm if you use a chilled platter. We like Prodyne Appetizers On Ice with Lids, a nesting platter that has a full-length tray for ice beneath the main food tray.

It’s inevitable for critters to invite themselves to your barbecue. However, you can protect food from unwanted guests with mesh food tents. They cover plates and platters of all sizes, and they’re more eco-friendly than plastic wrap.

If you’re in the market for an insulated water cooler, we recommend YETI Silo 6G Water Cooler. It has commercial-grade Permafrost insulation with extra-thick walls. The cooler also has side handles to make transport as easy as possible.

What flavors and seasonings should I buy for my next barbecue?

Ready to spice up your favorite grilling delights? Give your salt and pepper a break and upgrade to these barbecue flavors and seasonings.

Season meat, chicken and seafood with a gourmet barbecue seasoning set. This one by FreshJax comes with five exciting flavor profiles, including Island Spice, Citrus Pepper, and Bold Bayou. They’re great for giving grilled veggies a kick, too.

If you’re looking for healthy seasoning alternatives, consider Dan-O’s Seasoning Starter Pack. These are low-sodium as well as gluten- and sugar-free. They’re popular among individuals with vegan, keto, or paleo lifestyles as well.

What backyard accessories should I buy to host a barbecue?

Since you already know you’ll have great food and company at your gathering, your next decision should be backyard accessories that make your outdoor space comfortable and inviting.

Begin by maximizing seating options with a barstool dining set. Their flexible seating style means guests can move stools to mingle anywhere on your patio or deck. The high-top table also lets guests stand and eat comfortably.

Let your guests enjoy a little shade beneath a patio umbrella. By placing it over your dining set, guests stay cool while they eat. If you have a pool, consider setting up a poolside lounge area with the patio umbrella and a few zero-gravity chairs.

Invite your guests to partake in a rousing outdoor game in between burger bites. We like GoSports Giant Wooden Toppling Tower, which reaches a whopping 5 feet tall during play. The game is considered all-ages-friendly.

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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