HOW TO HOST A MEMORABLE BACKYARD BARBECUE May 29, 2023 | Holiday , Safety , Just For Fun | summer , pets , kids , entertaining Summertime brings a special kind of excitement and plenty of opportunities to spend time with loved ones. The backyard barbecue is a classic way to spend a hot evening. Although everyone wants to throw a cookout for the ages, it’s important to take the right precautions beforehand to make sure your barbecue is memorable in all the right ways. Seamless and safe barbecues are all about preparation and safety. So for your next backyard bash or summer shindig, consider these tips to take it to the next level. Practice Safe Grilling The grill master is a role that’s not to be taken lightly. Not only is the grill master responsible for satisfying everyone at the party, but any negligence on their part can lead to major damage or potential injury. Grilling spaces should always be carefully selected and at a minimum, 10 feet away from any structures to avoid dangerous stray embers. This may go without saying, but never grill inside! Any overhead coverings can also cause ventilation problems, and unstable bases can lead to grills tipping over. Ideally, grills should be set up with plenty of space, separate from toppings stations, side tables, and dessert spreads. The final and most important safety note that every master chef should take to heart is also the most simple: never leave the grill unsupervised! Between pets, wildlife, and kids that are all likely to add their own brand of chaos to a barbecue, responsible cooks know that no time frame is too short for something to go wrong. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix It Up Responsible and safe practices set the foundation for a successful barbecue, but it will be the areas where you break from the normal routine that will make the occasion stand out. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken are some staples that shouldn’t be overlooked, but consider adding a few unique foods into the mix. To name just a few out-of-the-box options, here are some additional grillable items that could steal the show at your next barbecue: Pork Chops Asparagus Cauliflower Cabbage Watermelon After adding these new entrees into your repertoire, it’s important to consider the power of the side. It seems that many party hosts already feel less restricted when it comes to experimenting with sides. Enlisting the help of guests to cover all the bases with sides and desserts can allow for even more opportunities to offer additional variety. Always Be Prepared With a Back-up Plan Planning parties successfully involves learning how to adapt when things go wrong. As the host, it is your job to not only plan out your barbecue, but also think through what to do if the weather takes a turn for the worse, if your space becomes unavailable, or if the grill doesn’t work. Set up an area indoors that could handle the expected party guests in a pinch, and consider cooking an entree or two in advance for additional flexibility. Although never ideal, pivoting to instead order a pizza and entertain guests in your living room can have all the necessary ingredients for a memorable event. Ultimately, barbecues and cookouts are excuses to spend time with friends and family. Don’t get hung up on making everything perfect, and enjoy the day! Although your barbecue can survive a few surprises, homeowners should never be surprised when it comes to major home maintenance projects! Contact your local NPI inspector to arrange a home maintenance inspection today, and never get caught unaware of the condition of your home.