For a lot of people, the spring and summer is the best time for fun in the sun. What better way is there for enjoying the fresh air and cool breezes of spring than hosting a cookout for your friends and family. A spring or summer cookout is a great way to bring your friends together for a fun time. So when the weather warms up, dust off your grill and follow these tips to host a successful cookout.

The first thing you need to do before you can host your cookout is make the necessary preparations. Roll your grill out and give it a good cleaning. After a long winter, your grill will certainly need some attention to make sure it is grilling ready. Nothing can kill a cookout quicker than unpacking your grill from the basement the day of and realizing you need to replace a burner or cooking grid. Another tip for preparing your grill is to make sure your propane tank, if this is your chosen method, is full. Since you will most likely be cooking for a much larger group than your normal family you are going to need a little more fuel. Making sure you have all the right tools for grilling beforehand is also a good idea. Typically, you are going to need a good pair of long handled tongs, a squirt bottle to keep the flames down, a meat fork and don’t forget the fire extinguisher for when those flames get out of control. Having all the right tools will make a world of difference when it comes to cooking out. Also, you are going to want to prepare the place you will be hosting. It should be a given that you are going to host your party outdoors, so you need to prepare your deck or patio and your lawn for your guests. Do a little lawn cleanup if need be.

The next step on your way to hosting a great cookout will be to Plan It. Once you have prepared the tools and space for your cookout its time to start thinking about the details of your cookout. Now is the time when you want to decide on who will be invited, what foods you want and what activities you want to entertain your guests through the course of your cookout.

Deciding on the guests for your cookout should be the first step to planning your cookout as it will determine what foods you want to grill and what activities you want for entertaining them. If you are like me then you may have a few different kinds of friends. I am sure that you could probably separate these friends into different groups with similar preferences. This will have a great impact on what takes place at your cookout, and once you decide on who you want at the cookout you will be able to move on to the next step of selecting food and activities based on the preferences of your guests.

Now, you can decide on the food for your cookout. The meat you choose to cook is going to be the staple of your cookout and all other foods should be based around this. Grilling hamburgers and hotdogs is always a good option and will help to keep your cookout casual. It all really depends on the preferences of you and your guests as to what meat you choose. You will also want to consider your vegetarian friends, some may not eat meat and will need other options. Grilled vegetables or even a soy burger could be a good option for them.

Finally, you are going to want to plan the activities of your party. Lawn games like lawn darts, ladder ball, horse shoes or corn hole are some of my favorite when I host a cookout. Team games will give everyone an opportunity to play without feeling overly pressured if they aren’t familiar with the game. You really just want to make sure you have things for your guests to do. Having plenty of chairs set out on the deck can go a long ways also as it will promote social interaction of your friends.