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6 biggest mistakes when hosting a barbecue

Canadian Living
Food

6 biggest mistakes when hosting a barbecue

6 biggest mistakes when hosting a barbecue Hosting a barbecue for several people can be a lot of work. Aside from the clean-up, there's the matter of the food and all the accoutrement for entertaining al fresco - plates, cutlery, condiments, chairs, ice and everything in between! Here are some common mistakes that people make when hosting a barbecue: 1) Answering with "anything" if someone asks if there's something they can bring. No one wants to show up to a party empty handed and your guests will really appreciate it if you're specific about what you need. If you plan on asking people to bring food, remind them to bring their own serving utensils because it's easy to forget that you might not have 10 extra sets of tongs or serving spoons on hand. Remember that you don't have to limit your requests to food  - you can ask your guests bring plates; napkins; cutlery; ice (you can never have too much ice!) ; blankets and chairs or even the music (but only if you trust their taste!).   2) Trying to cook everything from start to finish on the grill. There's limited space on any grill, making it impossible to cook everything at once, so it's a good idea to plan what you'd like to cook in advance. I like to stick with main dishes, like ribs and wings, can be partially cooked in advance so it's just a matter of finishing them off on the grill and a few quick cooking things like sliders. Also, stick to side dishes that are natural make-ahead recipes, like coleslaw and potato skewers.   3) Forgetting to ask about food allergies or dietary restrictions. There's nothing worse than finding out one of your guests is a raw food vegan just as you're putting dinner on the table, so be a sleuth and figure out if you need to have any gluten-free, dairy-free or meat-free options on hand.   4) Forgetting to check your propane. This sounds like a no-brainer, but a propane check should be somewhere on your to-do list if you own a gas barbecue. It's also never a bad idea to invest in a second propane cylinder. I've read many different - and complicated - ways to check your propane, like pouring water down the side of your tank or using a special measuring tool. My way is pretty straight forward but definitely not scientific: a few days before your event, gently lift your tank to see if feels lighter than it should - a full propane tank is always quite heavy. If you grill a lot during the summer, always monitor your heat - if it takes longer to cook things or if you can't get the heat up to high, you're probably going to run out of juice very soon.   5) Trying to be a restaurant. This is the kiss of death. No single thing will frustrate you more than being in the weeds (that's restaurant talk for going up you-know-what creek without a paddle) at your own barbecue because you've tried to cook an entire banquet by yourself. Your guests aren't going to expect a full buffet, so keep your menu simple by offering a nice starter and a few options for main and sides. It helps to know what they like to eat in advance, so you can offer at least one thing that everyone will love. If you're really dying to cook a variety of mains, don't be afraid to ask your guests to bring some side dishes or desserts so that you can stay sane  (see tip#1).   6) Forgetting to have fun.  Remember that everyone is there to relax and have fun. Go with the flow and if something goes wrong, it's not the end of the world.   For more barbecue tips and recipes, check out our handy online guide  Photography by Jeff Coulson      
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6 biggest mistakes when hosting a barbecue

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