As the weather turns warmer, conditions are just about right to bring your dining outside. With the new farm you’ve purchased, you might want to share the goodness with friends or family. Or, you may want to grill your home-grown veggies just for yourself. Either way, here’s a quick guide to planning the perfect cookout.
Step 1: The Set Up
There’s more to a barbeque than just the food. The whole idea of a cookout should be a time to relax. Kick back and enjoy what you’ve got: food, friends, and a beautiful view. With this in mind, be sure there are more than enough seating options for you and your guests. No one wants to stand around with a plateful of food. And while it might sound cozy to sit in the grass, it isn’t practical for everyone (except the ants). A variety of seats, from chaise lounges, to rockers, to folding chairs will give everyone an option for their best seat.
While you’re considering comfort, think about the best way to arrange food that will be sitting out. Offer stations, if possible, so that not everyone is crowded around the same place during serving. Placing plates, napkins, and utensils at each station will also keep people from running into each other.
Finally, as you consider setting a comfortable mood, think about possibly enhancing the meal with some music—not so loud that your guests can’t hold a conversation, but loud enough to know what’s playing. If your guests all have varied tastes in music, you can just let nature be the orchestra and listen to the sounds of rural life.
Step 2: The Food
Now that you have your party set up, you can think about the most important part of the day—the food. The key benefit of a cookout out on the farm is knowing that farm-fresh goodness will be available, so make sure you are incorporating as much fresh food as you can. Homegrown veggies can be served raw with dip, or roasted on the grill. Need more options? Look for side dish recipes that include what you’ve grown. If corn is on your menu, you can add that to different kinds of salads, salsas, or even bread! Don’t overlook what can be added to burgers as well.
Drinks are just as important as food. And in the warmer months of the year, people are looking for cold beverages. Keep your drinks chilled with ice at various stations in your yard. Use buckets, tubs, or coolers, and keep them stocked and loaded. Don’t forget to have cold water available to your guests as well.
Step 3: The Activities
While the agenda for your cookout could be as simple as shooting the breeze and catching up with one another, keep in mind the length of your affair, and the ages of your guests. Older folks might be fine to sit and talk the whole afternoon, but young children will need entertainment. If your cookout is centered around a holiday, such as the Fourth of July, activities like firecrackers and sparklers are easy activities. (Make sure fireworks are only handled by responsible parties!) Many times, yard games are expected at graduation or Memorial Day parties. It never hurts to have a few available. Otherwise, the kids might make up their own games, and then you never know what could happen then.
Now that you’ve purchased land for your own little farm, you’ll be the one with the home everyone wants to come to. That will save you a lot of driving in the end. Make sure you’ve got everything planned out and some great land (we have lots of farm land for sale in Polk County, Georgia), and you will give them a cookout to remember.