Burger parties, grilling parties, and BBQ parties are traditional American family affairs often held in backyards, which have become a beacon and instrument to facilitate stronger family ties. As suburban communities evolve, people began to throw block parties to bond with their neighbors. Thus, these backyard parties are inherently memorable because it allows people to get together and bond. To make these get-togethers extra memorable, here are tips in organizing a superb burger party that will not only impress your guests but make it a lifetime to cherish.
1. Prepare Your Budget
Before you can plan anything, you need to know your budget because all your plans will ultimately be constrained by how much money you can spend. This includes the number of guests you can invite, the menu and drinks that you can prepare, the decorations, and practically everything. To help you with the expense, you can request, not require, some of your relatives and your closest friends to bring something to the party such as drinks, dessert (cake), or anything small that they can contribute.
2. Make Your Own Patties
While buying and using premade frozen patties from the grocery store is the most convenient and quickest way to prepare burgers, they are not as unique as making your own. Aside from the fact that most frozen patties are low-grade, preparing your own patty gives your burger a personal touch. Moreover, you also get to choose your own choice cuts to make better and juicier burgers. After all, cooking is one sure way to show your love to your family, relatives, and guests. Also, the preparation of food per se is a customary family bonding activity.
3. Designate a Cook
Ideally, the man of the house usually takes charge of grilling burger patties. In some cases, the friends of the father take turns in doing the grill. However, for larger burger parties where you expect a lot of visitors, it would be advisable to hire or designate a cook so that you will have time to spend entertaining guests instead of cooking.
Although grilling is not rocket science, if you don’t know how to grill, then you should get someone who knows. The person preparing and grilling the patties must be knowledgeable about grilling techniques. This includes seasoning your meat, pressing patties properly on the grill (around an inch wider, refraining from smashing patties with a spatula, glazing at the end, and checking how the patty is to be done — rare, medium-rare, or well done). At the center of a burger party is the hamburger that you will serve. Badly-cooked hamburgers can spoil the party.
4. Prepare Food and Everything Before Your Guests Arrive
You need to prepare early or in advance before guests arrive. This means the patties are already prepared, the cheese and vegetables have been cut, the sauces are already on the table, tables and chairs are already arranged, drinks are already bought, side dishes are on display and dishes are already assembled, among others. Ideally, the cookout for everyone’s enjoyment is the only thing you will be doing, so make sure that food is ready to be set on the grill.
Note, however, that some visitors, especially some of your close friends and relatives, may want to join you in the food preparation, which is more than welcome. In which case, these friends or relatives usually arrive very early before the party begins.
5. Prepare Your Grill
There are different modern grilling equipment that is already available on the market. Some are equipped with a built-in fan system that lets you prepare ambers in a snap and regulate heat appropriately by adjusting the fan speed. This is helpful for you to save time in making a cinder. Some grills prevent oils from dripping onto the coal to avoid sparking flames or smoke, which can result in burning eye sensations.
6. Clean Your Grill
Hygiene is paramount in preparing and cooking any type of food. This is to make sure that food is safe to eat. The char left on the grill can pose health dangers. There are grill cleaning tools with no wire bristles to help remove and scrape chars quickly and with less effort without damaging the griller.
Make sure that your grills are clean because it is something that all your guests will immediately notice. You don’t want to make a wrong impression of not being hygienic. You also don’t want your guests to have second thoughts on eating your burger.
7. Ensure You Have Enough Fuel
Before hosting the burger party, you need to check if you have sufficient fuel like propane or charcoal for grilling. You don’t want to go running at the nearest gas station or market in the middle of the party because you ran out of fuel. You need to keep the ball rolling when anyone needs a burger.
Using a charcoal griller can add flavor and fun to the burger. The char provides the additional smoke flavor while the aroma of the smoke makes the hamburger more appetizing to anyone who smells the scent. However, if you don’t want to have fuel problems, then using an electric griller as an alternative can do the trick.
8. Wear a Grilling Apron When You Grill
Wearing an apron while doing the burger grilling is a must. It helps prevent messing up your clothes and protecting your body from burns or injuries. As a time-honored tradition, grilling in burger parties usually pertains to the host. Thus, wearing an apron is also one way to identify the party host.
Most grilling aprons have pocket holders for carrying things, including bottle openers, sauce, and other equipment, which comes in handy when some guests want to open up a brewski or soft drinks. Some aprons come in sets handed out to the best or closest friends of the man of the house, who take turns in the grilling job.
9. Use a Large Table Grill
During burger parties, guests tend to be drawn to a grill to show off their special grilling techniques. Instead of you doing all the hard work, using a larger grill can allow more people to grill at the same time. Grilling the burger patties together is a great bonding moment among friends and families.
10. Prepare S’more
Traditionally cooked during campfires, s’more (contraction for “some more”) is chocolate or marshmallow sandwiched in cookies or Graham crackers. The marshmallow or chocolate can be heated in a separate fire pit or on the same griller till it becomes gooey or slushy. This recipe is used as a dessert and is a great way to involve kids in the grilling or cookout activity.
11. Prepare Grab-and-Go’s
Preparing grab and go snacks is one way to keep your guests munching while they wait for the main viand. This also helps to keep children to mingle and play conveniently while eating. These snacks can be in the form of chips, cookies, small cakes, and toasts, which everyone can quickly grab by their hand and get back to socializing with others.
12. Prepare a Water Spray Bottle or Fire Extinguisher
Safety is always a priority in everything you do. When grilling, it is unavoidable for flames to flare up, especially when fats drip onto the charcoal. In case this happens, a water spray can help keep the flames low. The fire extinguisher is merely there if things accidentally go out of hand.
13. Decorate the Party
Party decors help create the festive ambiance of a party. You can keep decors simple and functional at the same time. One way to do this is to place a menu board describing the food served. This way, the guest would immediately be informed of what they are eating.
You can also prepare your silverware in a designated place where guests can immediately grab one and go — putting silverware in a separate area also helps to decentralize the flow and how people will get food on the table.
The addition of flowers is a timeless way to make the party cheerful and celebratory. A choice of colorful flowers placed on beautiful vases or decorated tin cans can help provide ornament to your tables.
The use of decorative lights is another common way to decorate your place. You can use lamps and lanterns to light up the area, especially if you expect the party to extend until late into the night. You can also use flickering lights that provide glimmer and sparkle to the place to make it fanciful or playful. The use of candles as a light, on the other hand, can be used to make the place more romantic.
Tiki torches and backyard lights are also helpful to brighten and enhance your party area. The use of solar-powered lights can be used to turn them on automatically when the sun goes down. The dim lights help the place to become cozy and homely.
14. Create a Theme
Burger parties can be used to celebrate birthdays, homecoming, independence day, reunions and any other important events and holidays.
The occasion celebrated would necessarily dictate the theme to be used in making decorations for the burger party. For instance, a children’s burger party for your 5-year old son can use a superhero theme. A Halloween burger party, on the other hand, will involve a monster theme.
Guests can also be requested to wear costumes to make the celebration more memorable.
15. Get Ready with Music
Whereas decorations visually provide the festive ambiance, music offers a festive atmosphere that you can feel. Incidentally, the type of music that you play should also be selected appropriately.
While music is classified by genre, it can also be classified by generation. If you are holding a burger party for children or teens, contemporary music will be much appreciated. However, if your guests are mostly older, playing party music from their generation will be ideal.
16. Mix Up Your Grilled Burger
Plain burgers can be boring and dull. You don’t want your guests to think of opting to just go to the nearest burger store to buy instead of eating your burgers. You can mix your burger up with fun and venturesome toppings, which you can provide.
The typical toppings that you can serve include cheese (e.g., swiss, cheddar, bleu, brie, or mozzarella), and even goat cheese; fresh vegetables (e.g., lettuce, tomato, sliced avocado, jalapeño peppers, pickles, onion, coleslaw, pepperonis, mushrooms, pineapple, etc.); cold cuts (e.g., bacon, salami, ham, capicola); and sauces (e.g., ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, steak sauce, teriyaki sauce, sriracha sauce, pesto, salsa, and dressings); egg (e.g., sunny side up, scrambled) and different buns (e.g., pretzel buns, whole wheat bun, muffin, ciabatta, brioche or buttermilk waffles, etc.)
17. Allow Guests to Build Their Own Burgers
Instead of preparing a single or uniformed burger for all guests, providing different toppings in separate containers allows guests to create their burger based on the preference or liking. They can also experiment by trying new types of cheese or sauces as well as new mixtures that they have not experienced. The more choices for toppings, the more diverse burgers they can create, the more enjoyable the party will be.
In line with this, you should urge your guests to help themselves get their hamburgers and drinks. Instead of serving them one by one, let them feel at home and be comfortable in serving themselves.
18. Prepare Some Side Dishes
Aside from grab-and-go snacks which guests, especially children, can nibble on while mingling, it is also advisable to prepare side dishes to accompany the main hamburger course.
The classic side dishes are French fries and salad. However, you can be more creative by preparing mojos, sweet potato fries, macaroni salad, or baked beans. If you want to be more extraordinary, you can equally make the side dishes creative or uncommon such as preparing a creamy broccoli salad, spice grilled corn, chilled cucumber salad, or watermelon feta cheese, among others.
19. Get Some Beer
The customary liquor to pair up your juicy burger is a local brewsky. Hamburger and beer are the most common matches.
Hamburgers are a proven great meal, and people also want a proven good drink to wash them down. Most people also prefer having their good reliable local barley pop to match their burgers. That means Budweiser, Coors, Miller, or Corona in the US. Some people prefer darker beers such as stouts, ales, porters, and malty lagers.
Incidentally, pairing hamburgers with booze like whiskey or brandy is very uncommon. The heat of any booze, mixed with any type of spice, tends to bring out the spicy flavor that plays down the meaty taste of the hamburger.
20. Get Some Cocktails
The world of drinking is so diverse and has so much to offer. To make sure that you can accommodate your guests’ idea of a perfect match to your hamburgers, you can also prepare simple cocktails.
Some people also prefer cocktails because they are not heavy on the belly compared to beers. Cocktails are lighter and refreshing, which perfectly works well with hefty hamburgers.
Some simple cocktail concoctions that you can serve for burger parties include Dark and Stormy (rum and ginger beer), the classic margarita, a Rusty Nail (Scotch and sangria), and the tomato-based Bloody Mary.
Still, others want to match hamburgers with wine because of the cheese. As wine aficionados would say, there is always a type of wine for every kind of food. In pairing wines with burgers, wines with spicy and full-bodied tastes are ideal for countering the taste of the toppings like cheese and spices.
21. Prepare Shakes or Sodas for Children
Ice cold, creamy milkshakes like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors will complement the burger for children. However, during a hot summer day, where everyone needs an instant refreshment to cool down, a good old ice-cold soda or juice will do.
22. Set Up Some Yard Games
To keep children and guests occupied, you can arrange different outdoor games both kids and adults can play. While some guests would prefer drinking as a means of socializing, others who don’t drink enjoy playing to socialize.
Among the outdoor games that you can arrange includes cornhole or bean bag toss, water bottle bowling, twister, trip to Jerusalem, egg race, ring toss or horseshoes, hula hoop competition, balloon dartboard, sack race, bocce ball, and Tiki Toss Golf Ball Toss Game among others.
Games are not only an entertaining and amusing activity for family and friends. They also provide guests with something fun and challenging to do while having drinks and doing their tête-à-tête.
23. Prepare Some Fireworks
The setting of some pyrotechnics or fireworks displays can provide aesthetic and entertainment value to a burger party. It is one traditional way to commemorate festivities or to show celebration. Aside from their aesthetic value, fireworks are believed to drive negative vibes or evil spirits away.
24. Prepare for Vegan Guests
It is worthwhile to know if you have friends, visitors, or guests who are vegans so that you can appropriately prepare to accommodate their needs.
For one, you can opt to prepare separate veggie burgers’ patties and use special veggie buns for their meals. For burger patties, you can use beans and legumes to create patties.
Another typical veggie patty recipe is mushrooms, which remarkably has similar taste and texture with meat. More specifically, the Portobello Mushroom is used because of its proximity in taste and texture with beef.
Another alternative ingredient for veggie burgers is tofu. Note that it is advisable to make a separate grill when cooking veggie patties to ensure that veggie patties are not soiled with any meat or meat products.
25. Prepare Right Amount of Burgers
Since the main course of a burger party is hamburgers, you should prepare at least one hamburger for each guest. Thus, you must estimate how many guests, including children, are expected to arrive.
Once you have approximated the number of guests, you need to add 20% to 30% of the total number of guests. This is because some guests may want two or more burgers. Moreover, there may be additional guests who could arrive. Thus, if let’s say you expect 100 people, you should prepare at least 120 hamburgers. What is important is that all of your guests can eat at least one burger.
The most important thing you need to remember when holding a burger or any other party for that matter is to enjoy it. Do not stress yourself with the expenses, the food, drinks, or any other issues that will prevent you from having fun or getting happy. If that will stress you, you might as well abstain from organizing the party in the first place. You need to enjoy yourself for your guests to enjoy. If your guests sense that you don’t enjoy the party, they too will not enjoy it. After all, your party’s primary goal is to celebrate and enjoy life with family and friends.
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