Rule the Grill – Outdoor Entertaining Basics

Whether you’re cooking for four or 24, a well-thought out plan of attack is vital. Here are a few tips to make your next (or first) cook-out a sure fire success, and not just another offering of charred burgers and hot dogs.

Plan ahead: have your menu planned several days in advance.  Do your grocery shopping early – simple, fresh ingredients go a long way to making a great meal.

Build your menu: appetizers, salad, sides, entrée, dessert – know your cooking times, plating opt ions, and how to balance all portions of your meal during the cooking process.

Have your barbecue ready to roll: make sure you have adequate propane, and that the grill is thoroughly cleaned.  If you are grilling multiple items for your meal, allow time for flavours to burn off in between items – 3 to 5 minutes at high heat will clear out any accumulated residues.

Be prepared: have extra tongs, turners, and spoons at the ready for both preparation and serving of your meal.

Trying something new?  Prepare it ahead of time to figure out timing and make your mistakes in the practice run, not during your dinner.  The kicker: more great food to enjoy before the party.

Have more than you need – an untimely spill or an unexpected guest can throw your entire plan off-kilter – unless you have extra ingredients hand – plan accordingly.

Prepare the day before and morning of.   Organize your menu so you can prepare parts of each dish ahead of time – marinating a roast, preparing intricate appetizers – think smoked salmon roll-ups, having vegetables cleaned and sliced, and so on.

Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.  Aside from the food safety obligation you have to your guests, serve your entrées hot, your drinks cold, and everything else accordingly.   A perfectly cooked steak that is cold ceases to be perfect.

Feed your guests in waves – a platter of quality charcuterie and fine cheese with baguette slices or crackers is an easy and popular way to start the evening, then move on to more composed appetizers and work your way into the meal from there.  This buys time for any unexpected changes in timing on your main entrees and side dishes.

A reliable, versatile grill – Running back and forth from the kitchen to the grill is a delicate balancing act – having a great barbecue with ample room and suitable features for your entertaining and grilling needs. If this sounds familiar, think about upgrading your barbecue to suit your entertaining needs.

The underlying theory to most of these points – be prepared: do as much as you can as early as you can and you will be able to pull off a spectacular outdoor feast.  For more grilling tips, great recipes, and more, please visit


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