With Memorial Day and summer break just around the corner, it’s time to pull out the coolers and grilling tools and get ready for some fantastic cookouts. In this post you’ll learn How to Simplify Your Summer Cookouts. You’ll get tips to help you enjoy your cookouts without getting overwhelmed.
I love when it’s finally nice enough out to go grill outside – my broiler definitely puts in overtime work during the colder months. And some of my favorite grilling spots are in public parks, where there’s a lovely change of scenery to soothe any remaining spring fever.
Especially when it’s a beautiful day out, not too hot in the doldrums over summer yet, cookouts can be so splendid – the sunshine is warm, the burgers smell great, the chit-chat of friends is punctuated with bursts of laughter, and I wander over to have a lovely refreshing lemonade…
And I realize that I forgot the ice. Ahh! What a massive bummer! No one likes warm lemonade.
It’s so easy to forget key supplies and ingredients when packing up for a cookout in a location other than my home. Over the years I’ve learned my lesson and have started making supply lists when preparing everything.
The Supply List is one of the Four Cornerstone Lists in my Sane Party Planning system (in addition to task list, guest list, and schedule). “Supplies” here are defined as anything that takes money to obtain – anything you shop for, that you physically provide for the party.
For an off-site location, the supply list doubles as a packing list – ideal for cookouts in the great outdoors! It serves as checklist both for bringing in and bringing out all your items. A list is a great simple way to make sure you have everything you need upfront, and you don’t leave anything behind for the raccoons or squirrels or birds to find.
Types of Supplies Needed
There are three main “radar screens” of supplies to remember when making your supply list – cooking supplies (ingredients + cooking utensils especially), serving supplies (including food containers like coolers and method for bringing home leftovers), and decorations (optional).
A great trick to simplify – use what you already have. Have any barbecue sauce in the back of your pantry that you’ve been meaning to use? Are there any leftover disposable napkins or plates from a previous event in a supply closet somewhere? Using what you have also helps to save money on your cookout!
The way I think through all this is to do a virtual walk-through of the entire day from start to finish. What coolers or other to-go items will you need when packing for the day at home? What will the actual cooking look like, will you need extra-long tongs? When it’s serving time, will your guests need forks and knives? Where will the disposable napkins be thrown out, do you need to bring a trash bag?
For my cookouts, though, many pieces of my supply list are relatively consistent. So here’s a cheat sheet of the items that I forget the most often!
Most Frequently Overlooked Cookout Supplies
- Fire supplies
- Ignition – Lighter (with enough fluid), matches (extra-long), fire starters
- Fuel – Propane, kindling, wood, etc.
- Safety – Ash can, Large water container for drowning out the fire at the end
- Salt & Pepper
- Aluminum foil
- Cooking spray
- Trash bags
- Paper towels for cleanup
- Doing the Dishes (if bringing reusable dishes) – Two options
- Method of cleaning on-site – dish soap, sponges, washing tub
- Method to bring home for cleaning – plastic bags or containers to contain mess
- Outdoor comfort items
- Bug spray
- Camp chairs
- Canopy / dining fly – for shade and/or rain shelter
- Cash for park admission and/or parking
- Thou Shalt Not Forget the Ice is one of the Three Keys to Sane Party Planning at Where Is The Damn Corkscrew – it’s so easy to forget!
- 5 to 2 pounds of ice per person, more in hot weather and/or for transport
And there you have it, a simple reusable supply list to help you remember the basics for your next cookout. The early days of summer are so lovely to celebrate with family and friends, and those celebrations will be even more lovely with a calm and collected host who actually remembered the matches this time. Happy grilling!
A special thanks to Madeline for giving us her knowledge on entertaining. We love cookouts and since we live in Florida, we get to enjoy them year round. Let me know what entertaining your planning for this summer. Just comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To check out more posts in our Simplification category click here.
This month’s guest author is Madeline Marlow from Where Is The Damn Corkscrew.
Madeline is the founder and hostess-in-chief over at Where Is The Damn Corkscrew. She’s a checklist champion, recovering people-pleaser, reformed perfectionist, and self-identified ambivert (half introvert, half extrovert).
Madeline spent years struggling with awkwardness, disorganization, and psychological barriers when hosting and attending parties and events. Despite those challenges she forged ahead into the abyss anyway, organizing and attending and professionally staffing events left and right, because she loves sharing quality time with friends and family. The struggle was worth it, event planning is now as natural as breathing, and she teaches her Sane Party Planning system over at Where Is The Damn Corkscrew to help ordinary people plan extraordinary parties and events in their personal lives – with sanity and budget intact.