Barbecuing for a crowd can be a bit stressful, especially when you consider just how much food you’re going to need. But there are a few things you can do when feeding all those extra people to reduce your time in the kitchen and even save a few bucks.
The Guest List
When feeding a large group, knowing the exact number of people you’re serving is a must. That’s why you need to plan your barbecue early, so you can prepare your meal plan ahead of time. This isn’t possible with a spur of the moment gathering, so plan ahead, send out your invites or texts a couple weeks in advance, and stay on top of the guest list.
Check Allergies and Preferences
Food allergies are common, with seemingly everyone having at least one to deal with. Be sure to ask for about any allergies before you plan your next barbecue or a trip to the hospital may be on the menu.
You also want to consider any food preferences. Some people don’t like certain foods, so you need to make sure you have at least a couple sides for these picky eaters. You won’t please everyone with every dish, but you can at least make an effort to please most of them.
Another thing to consider is whether or not there are going to be any vegetarians or vegans at your barbecue. Do you need to add some meatless options to the menu, like tofu burgers or veggie salads? Some of them might even offer to bring their own food, which will take some of the pressure off of you but don’t rely on this.
Serve Budget-Friendly Meals
When planning your menu, you don’t need to be too extravagant. There are lots of ways to cut your costs while still planning a decent meal.
One method is watching for sales on the foods you’ll be serving, which is another reason to set your guest list in stone early. This will help you decide on your sides as well as your mains before you start buying. And buy only what you need for the barbecue.
There are numerous side dish options that can help keep your costs down as well. Potatoes are cheap but are so versatile you can use them in countless ways. Baked, boiled, in a salad, or just some fries, all of them go great with any type of meat.
Salads are also a great option. Leafy ones filled with veggies, cheese, and a bit of dressing always go great with any main dish. They also aren’t too filling, so they won’t dominate the meal.
You can also try a cold pasta salad, which is a bit more substantial. With these, people take a bit less on their plates to save room for the other dishes, so one big bowl will go a long way.
Grilled veggies like corn or zucchini are easy to make and keep you out of the kitchen so you can enjoy the beautiful weather and visit with your guests while you cook.
Prepare Ahead of Time
When cooking for a large group, you may have a lot to prepare. If you can make some of the sides a day or two ahead of time, this will cut down your workload on the day of the barbecue. This will also cut down your stress level for a more enjoyable day.