Planning A Barbeque In 8 Hours

Here’s how to pull off a last-minute cookout, complete with crowd-pleasing recipes and easy party tips.

Menu Idea
With a house to clean and shopping to do, you’ll want simple but wow-worthy dishes.

BBQ Steak

Photo by Jules

8 hours before the party:

  • Invite guests to the ‘cue and ask them to bring a beverage or favorite side.
  • Make a shopping list. Your menu needs just 12 ingredients: Flank steak (estimate 4 to 6 ounces per person), unshucked fresh corn, cornflakes, corn syrup, chocolate syrup, roasted peanuts, peanut butter, frozen lemonade, frozen sweetened strawberries, vanilla ice cream, vodka, and crushed ice.
  • Check pantry for steak marinade ingredients and go shopping.
  • Pick up bright colored bandanas, bubble wands, colored chalk, and balloons at a party store.
  • Give the house a quick clean-up.
  • Assemble Tin Roof Sundae ice cream pie. Cover and freeze.

4 hours before the party:

  • Make marinade. Add steak and place in refrigerator.
  • Wipe down the patio furniture. Clean the grill.
  • Gather plates and cups. Wrap flatware in bandanas; bandanas can double as napkins and be used in relay races for kids.
  • Put the 2 ingredients for Easy Strawberry Lemonade–frozen lemonade and frozen sweetened strawberries–in the refrigerator to thaw. Chill vodka.
  • Set up a crafts table for kids with crayons, watercolor paints, paper, scissors, magazines, and labels for name tags.

As guests arrive:

  • Greet guests with homemade Strawberry Lemonade. Let adults spike lemonade with vodka. Offer crushed ice to kids for a slushier drink.
  • Bring kids to the craft table and let them decorate nametags for themselves. Offer each child a bubble wand, large or small, to keep them busy.
  • Ask older kids to organize games of hopscotch, a balloon toss, or relay races. Let younger kids draw, paint, or make collages using pictures cut out from magazines.
  • Put corn on the grill to cook; it will take 30 minutes.
  • When corn is done, keep it on indirect heat on the grill and cook steak.
  • Slice steak and place on serving platter. Let guests help themselves to steak, corn, and sides.
  • Pull ice cream pie out of the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Pass extra chocolate syrup and roasted peanuts for garnishing.

Ready to plan a barbeque?

Three Cool Sides
Let guests who can’t decide what to bring make one of these tasty salads:

1. Pairing watermelon, feta, black olives, and mint sounds crazy, but it tastes great.

2. Lemon juice gives traditional potato salad a refreshing kick in the pants.

3. For the friend who hates to cook, this one is super easy.