Summer BBQ

Hoping to throw a barbecue this weekend but thinking there's just not enough time? Think again! We have tips on throwing a summer barbecue on the fly while appearing as though you've been planning for months.

Last-minute summer BBQ

Whether you want to plan a barbecue two months in advance or the day of, we're here to help. In fact, sometimes throwing a barbecue the day of actually eliminates some of the stress you would have experienced if you started planning weeks ago. Not only that, but last-minute preparations get your adrenaline pumping and usually make it so you enjoy yourself a bit more. Here's how to throw a fabulous, stress-free summer barbecue on the fly.

Keep it simple

If you're planning a last-minute barbecue, there is no need to go all out. While briskets are good and pulled pork is even better, those meats tend to take just too much time to cook. Instead, opt for hot dogs, hamburgers, fish or chicken. If you insist on going fancy, try this bacon cheeseburger with peanut butter Sriracha ketchup! For sides, we recommend the local grocery store deli, but if you really want to make something, try one of these festive potato salad recipes.

Take people up on their offers

We all have friends that insist on bringing a side dish or dessert. Instead of telling them "no" like you usually do, take them up on this offer! The more people who are willing to help, the less you have to do. Also, don't be afraid to ask your friends to bring something small — such as a plate of cookies or their favorite beer. We guarantee they won't mind stopping at the store on their way over.

Don't forget the essentials

We've compiled a list of things that you won't want to forget when you run to the grocery store for your food. These items include:

  • Paper plates, cups, napkins and silverware
  • Ice (how often is this forgotten?!)
  • Charcoal or propane for the grill
  • Water bottles
  • Condiments for the burgers
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chips and other miscellaneous snacks

Think of some quick entertaining ideas

Luckily, entertainment isn't necessarily expected at a barbecue. Most just come to relax, have a cold beer, and enjoy the sunshine surrounded by great company. Feel free to throw on your favorite tunes, pull out a few games that are fun for large groups or play some horseshoes or corn hole — just make sure to keep it simple and stress-free!

And lastly — dessert

No barbecue is complete without dessert. Our personal favorite is a layered, summery dessert consisting of homemade whipped cream (or Cool Whip), sliced strawberries and graham crackers. Simply layer each ingredient until you have 4-6 layers, then top with melted dark chocolate. Refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Another fun and easy idea is to make hot fudge sundaes. Each guest can prepare theirs exactly to their liking — and it's a great way to cool off on a hot summer day.

Check out these luscious low-fat summer desserts >>

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