As soon as the warm weather rolls in people's minds start turning toward barbecues. They haul their cookers out of the garage, tune them up, and fire up the gas, filling the neighborhood with the smells of roasting meat. Many people like to celebrate the purchase of their car, Canada Day, summer birthdays, or just the weekend with an outdoor barbecue party. If you've never planned one before, let this article be your guide.


Because outdoor events are so dependant on the weather, it's best not to plan them too far in advance. At least wait until the 2 week weather forecast comes out, predicting a nice day. Barbecues can survive cloudy or even cold weather but a rainy day will send everyone running for cover. You can still barbecue in the rain, but no one will be outdoors to admire your new yard because they'll all be going inside to eat their food.


Barbecues are a great way to meet the neighbours in an informal setting, so why not invite the other neighbours? Alternatively, friends, co-workers, and relatives are great barbecue guests. Since barbecues are informal parties, though, they're not a good venue for impressing in-laws or bosses. Invites are usually informal - simply emailing out a message, calling up, or speaking to them in person is enough. No notecards needed.


On the day of the barbecue you'll want to fill the fridge with grill-able meat. Good choices include steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken breasts, and kebabs. Potatoes and corn on the cob also grill well, and you'll probably want to have a soy based option for the vegetarian guests. Great sides include pasta salad, macaroni, coleslaw, potato chips, and nachos, and cakes, popsicles, or ice cream make good desserts. For drinks, sodas and beer are a must.


Most outdoor barbecues are simply a time to have good friends come to your home and sit on the deck chatting and having a beer. However if you want to make a real party of it, you can play some fun outdoor games like croquet, lawn bowling, or touch football. You might also set something up for the kids, like horseshoes or bean bag toss, or light off some fireworks as a finale - especially if it's a holiday barbecue.

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