How to host a simple cookout

Thinking about hosting a cookout?  Here are some tips, along with a cookout menu that will make your cookout easy.

Planning Your Cookout

Step 1: Set the date, time and location. You may also want to have a rain date.

Step 2: Plan the menu: Fill out the Cookout Menu to determine what you would like to serve.

Will you serve the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers?  Or, would you prefer to offer steak or grilled chicken and a garden salad?

Be sure to check out our Cookout – Sample Menu

We’ve also included a blank page so that you can fill out one for your cookout:

Cookout – Blank Menu

Step 3: Invite Guests and track RSVPs

Use our guest tracker to make sure you’ve included everyone. Be sure to keep a phone number or email address handy, in case you need to contact them for the rain date.

Guest Tracker

Some guests may to offer to bring a dish. You can ask guests to bring something from your menu, or just add their additional dish to your planner. We usually add their dish to our Cookout Menu, and write their name in parenthesis.

For example: Cookies (Mom) Veggie Tray (Aunt Jane)

Step 4: Clean home and set up for party

Do as much cleaning as you can ahead of time. It’s great if you can vacuum, dust, mop the floors, and finish your laundry a few days earlier. Outdoor tasks include: mowing your lawn, vacuuming your pool and setting up extra chairs and tables ahead of time.

You’ll want to reserve the 1-2 days before the cookout to complete your grocery shopping, and prepare the food.

Step 5: Shop for supplies

If it’s a large party, consider using paper plates, napkins, cups and plastic utensils. Stock up on grilling supplies like wood or charcoal. For special cookouts, like Memorial Day and the 4th of July, American flags and other red-white-and blue items will complete the decorations for your event.

Plan to do your grocery shopping two days before the event, and purchase your ice the day of the party.

Here’s a checklist to summarize the steps we discussed:

Cookout Checklist

We hope that our menus, guest tracker and checklist help you host a terrific cookout.

You may find the following articles from our website helpful:

Grocery Shopping List by Department

Summer Meal Ideas

Cleaning Up After a Dinner Party

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