For most Americans, Labor Day marks the last three day weekend of the summer, and what better way is there to send off the season than with an epic Labor Day BBQ? Here’s how you can host your own Labor Day BBQ in five easy steps.
Step 1 – Plan your Cookout
The most critical step of hosting any major BBQ is to plan your cookout. What are your main meats? What are your sides? How long will it take to prep the meal? What beverages do you plan to serve? Does anyone have any allergies, and for that matter who do you plan to invite? Since this will be a Labor Day BBQ, the date is already decided for you, but everything else is still on the table. Send out your invitations early so that people will know that your BBQ is the place to be this Labor Day weekend.
Step 2 – Take Inventory of your Grilling Gear
You would do well not to be left hanging this Labor Day weekend without the right equipment. Different meals require different tools. Do you plan to slow roast some pulled pork, grill a rack of ribs or fire up some rotisserie chicken? Depending on the items you intend to cook you may require different tools. In older blog posts, we’ve talked about some tech and tips to help you become a BBQ Master, so make sure you have everything you need for Labor Day. You can also use this handy checklist to help you get ready for the cookout:
- Grill, racks, and grease pan have been cleaned.
- There’s enough propane/charcoal for a full day of grilling.
- Torches, fire starters, and/or lighters are ready to go.
- Tongs, spatulas, and skewers are in working condition.
- Cooler is clean and available.
- You have the right grill toppers, cookware, or specialty racks required to cook all the items on your menu.
Step 3 – Make a Shopping List
Largely determined by your menu, you’re going to want to plan trips to the farmer’s market, the grocery store, the butcher, and your favorite kitchen or cutlery shop. You may also want to head to a party store for Labor Day themed paper plates, napkins, utensils and plastic cups. You can use this handy list to help you make sure you’ve landed all the essentials.
- Meats, poultry and seafood
- Fruits and vegetables
- Bread and buns
- Chips, snacks, and appetizers
- Ingredients for coleslaw, potato salad, and other sides
- Spices, marinades and seasonings
- Beer, soda, wine, and water
- Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and other condiments.
- Utensils, napkins, plates and cups
Step 4 – Prep your BBQ
Whether it’s at the beach, at the park, tailgating outside the back of your pickup truck, or in the comfort of your own backyard, there are a few things you must do on the day of the cookout to make your BBQ a success.
- Marinate your meats, poultry and fish the night before the cookout.
- Make sure you have enough tables, chairs or alternative seating arrangements to accommodate all your guests.
- Have someone bring ice and stock the coolers with beverages at least a couple hours before guests arrive.
- Slice and chop fruits and vegetables and arrange them on trays and in dishes.
- Prepare any dips like guacamole or sides like potato salad three hours before the cookout so that they are extra fresh and ready to go.
- Start and preheat your grill for at least 15 minutes before use.
- If you’re slow cooking any meats you’ll want to start your barrel grill the morning of the event.
Step 5 – Grill
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for and your chance to show off your skills at the grill—the Labor Day BBQ. Hand out drinks and appetizers while you set to work on the main course. As you grill remember to allow meat to warm to room temperature prior to throwing it on the grill to get that perfect cook. Keep track of your cook times using apps like Grill Time or Pit Pal BBQ and allow steaks and meats to rest after 40% of the cook time to allow the juices to soak back into the meat. Above all else, have fun and give your guests a summer sendoff they’re sure to remember. Follow these 5 simple steps and you’ll be able to pull off a Labor Day BBQ of EPIC proportions!