BBQ’s are a big deal. Well no, actually, they’re a HUGE deal! We all know that in the UK, at the first sign of good weather, the country goes fire and grill crazy. Supermarkets start to run out of all barbecue related items and bread buns suddenly become a rare commodity. So this month we are dedicating our time to bringing you a rundown of all things barbecue. Enjoy the start of summer in style and get cooking!
Options for the ultimate Grill
The most important things to take into consideration when planning your summer barbecues, is the BBQ itself. When making your choice, you may be thinking about the time it takes to get your barbecue going or the types of flavours that the different options present to you. You will also need to consider how many guests you will be catering for and their dietary requirements.
When selecting the ideal grill, your options are mainly limited to charcoal or gas fired barbecues; with each giving their own unique flavour to the food. Charcoal barbecues take a lot more work to get started and preparing these for cooking can take upwards of half an hour; but they do provide the best flavour options. The smokey flavours can be enhanced and intensified even further by adding in some taste-intensifying wood chips. Why not try some Cherry Wood for a mild, fruity flavour, or Oak for that true, authentic taste. On the other hand, gas barbecues are super easy to get going, work fantastically for an impromptu party and are easier to maintain; and for some, the taste is indistinct from the traditional, charcoal grill.
Just as important as which flavours you want from your barbecue, is to take into account how many people you are going to be catering for. Larger grills can be tiresome to clean and prepare, but they are a must-have if you are going to be hosting a large number of guests, all with differing tastes and dietary needs. You may need to maintain a dedicated space for vegetarian and vegan items to save cross contamination with meats. So think about the cooking space available to you and the options for different cooking areas.
Now that we’ve got our grill choices nailed down, we can start to think about the space for entertaining and bringing your guests together. To really get your barbecue party off to a flying start, you will need to provide relaxing and comfortable seating areas for your guests. Make sure you provide enough seating to suit the number of guests you will be catering for. This doesn’t have to be costly or space consuming though. If you have a sufficient outdoor space, you could create a picnic area for your guests. Alternatively, to save space for when your party is over, you could provide foldable seating (I’m thinking camp chairs here) that can easily be packed away afterwards.
Tables are also a must for your summer barbecue. You will want to provide somewhere that you can place all of your grilled foods for easy access; and maybe even table and chair sets to allow people to gather in groups to mingle with one another.
Outdoor Heating and Lighting
If you want your barbecue to carry on into the evening, when the temperature starts to drop and the light fades, you will also need to provide some outside heating and lighting to keep your guests comfortable.
To make sure everyone is warm and cosy well into the night, you can opt for solid fuel burners such as fire pits or a chiminea, electric standalone or wall mounted units, or even gas heating. Some of these provide a sufficient light source without having to provide any extra lighting, but there are also great ways to create even more light outside. Why not opt for a selection of solar powered lighting. These have less impact on the environment in the long term and can save energy costs over time; and better still, they come in loads of different forms. Ground mounted solar lamps, individual or character garden lights and wall hanging or string lights are great options to choose from.
We have already mentioned that, when selecting the food for your barbecue, you may have a range of guests with different dietary needs. You will want to provide sufficient food for your party size and tastes; and make sure that everyone is catered for. The one thing you don’t want from your barbecue is hungry guests.
You will need a good selection of meats and vegetables for most barbecues; but don’t forget to include condiments, breads, dips, desserts and other complimentary foods to your shopping. A good salad always goes down great, especially for those wanting a lighter meal or for snacking on between eating cooked foods. You may even want to ask your guests beforehand if there is anything they would like or need you to add to your list.
Of course, don’t forget that you will need to provide some cutlery, plates, cups, napkins and other practical items for eating and drinking. Try looking at some sustainable alternatives for these, such as paper drinking straws or lightweight reusable cutlery.
No barbecue would be complete without a great selection of drinks to compliment all of the tasty treats you are going to be providing your guests. You should have a range of options available, including beers, spirits, cocktails and alcohol free drinks. Keep some ice on hand too, because there is nothing better in the hot weather, than a barbecue and a nice refreshing ice cold drink.
Dedicated Hire Spaces
If you would rather leave your barbecue in the capable hands of the professionals, then there are plenty of spaces available to hire – or visit with friends – in London and the surrounding areas. You can organise your own party with the help of venue staff or jump into a ready-made party where you can meet and make new friends. Here at The Chapel Bar, our staff can offer you guidance on planning a barbecue party that will help get your summer off to a sizzling start. No need to organise anything apart from your guest list and we can do the rest for you. Our Terrace Bar and Garden provides the ideal space for hosting summer events, with all party types catered for. We are also now open to the public for selected hours throughout May. All you need to do is bring yourself and we provide the rest.
You can take a look at our website for more information on our private hire options. For our public opening hours or venue bookings, please call The Chapel Bar on 020 7833 4090. Alternatively you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.