From small family gatherings to a block party, there are a few things you will need to make your barbecue event a success. This checklist will touch base on all the essentials to make sure you have everything you need including tools for your grill, table settings, ice cold beverages, and the reason everyone came– the food! And yes… we have most of this at Route 17 Express!

Tools for Your Smoker or Grill

You can’t have a successful barbecue without a grill or smoker. Each comes in a variety of designs and sizes and you probably have already determined whether you prefer to cook with charcoal or gas– or electric. Regardless, the tools you will need remain the same. If you are willing to spend a few extra dollars on a good set of barbecue tools, they will last for several years. Make sure that the stainless steel grilling fork, tongs, and spatula you purchase can withstand the heat. Basting brushes are also useful when it comes to getting that barbecue glazed on just right. And you can’t call yourself a chef without a flame-resistant apron and glove. Be sure to check the gas tank or amount of briquettes to ensure you have plenty.

The Grill Essentials

  • Gas or Charcoal
  • Spatula
  • Grill Fork
  • Tongs
  • Grill Glove
  • Apron
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Oil
  • Towel

Ice-Cold Beverages

Even on a summer’s night when the sun sets and the temperatures take a shallow dip, it is important to keep a steady supply of good drinks to keep everyone feeling refreshed. There are plenty of beverages perfect for a backyard barbecue, so you won’t have a hard time find something to suit all of your guests.

Crowd Pleasers

Be sure to have an assortment of non-alcoholic drinks for children and other guests who do not drink alcohol. Water is important on the hot days so be sure to keep plenty on hand so that everyone stays hydrated. A pitcher of homemade lemonade or punch is sure to please. You can also try fun summer recipes like strawberry peach ginger ale party punch or sparkling summer berry punch.

For the 21+ Crowd

Nothing says backyard barbecue like a cooler filled with cold beer. You might be inclined to stick with your go-to brand, but there are several thirst quenching beers you can delve into. Inexpensive red wines are often good cookout wines. Trying to find your favorite wine to pair with barbecue foods is a fun way to stay busy this summer. Want to be the backyard bartender? There are many yummy cocktails worthy of a cookout. To top it off, they are generally easy to mix and play up your favorite summer fruits.

Drink Checklist

  • Lemonade and/or Non-alcoholic Punch
  • Water
  • Soda
  • Beer, Wine, and/or Cocktails
  • Cooler
  • Plastic Cups
  • Ice
  • Bottle Opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Plastic Picture

The Food: Meats, Sides, & Desserts

Your barbecue menu is up to you– whether you want to keep it simple and traditional or go the extra mile to show off your culinary techniques. Do what you wish but don’t forget to have fun, after all this is why everyone came.

The Main Course

There are so many delicious foods you can cook on the grill or smoker. Meat is generally the first thing that comes to mind but there are plenty of satisfying vegetarian options out there as well. We suggest choosing one or two main courses so that you have choices left for your next barbecue. No matter what you decide, the key ingredient is the seasoning. You will also want to make sure you follow proper grilling procedures and cooking times to make sure everything is perfectly cooked.

Must Try Mains

  • Steaks Grilled to Perfection
  • The Best Burger Patties
  • Pulled Pork Rubs
  • Brisket Rubs
  • Rib Rubs
  • Good Grilled Chicken
  • Cedar Plank Grilled Fish
  • Grilled Salmon
  • Grilled Shrimp
  • Meat to Smoke
  • Veggie Shish-Kebabs

On the Side

A few yummy sides are the perfect compliment to your main course. Summer fruits and vegetables are always a good choice. You can also prepare a cold salad prior to the event, leaving one less thing to worry about when it’s go time. You may even choose to have an appetizer for guests to enjoy while they wait for the meal.

  • Potato Salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Pasta Salad
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Potato and Peppers
  • Summer Fruits
  • Vegetable Trays
  • Potato Chips
  • Dinner Rolls

Dessert – The Cherry on Top

You guests may fill up on the meal but it’s time to loosen the belt buckle and make room for dessert. Although the grill might be the attention getter, your desserts are the icing on your party’s cake.

  • Cool Desserts & Pies
  • All American Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles
  • S’mores Bar

Toppings: Condiments, Sauces, & More

It’s always the little things– that goes for your food too. From meat marinades to burger toppings, these essentials make everything a little better. Condiments, sauces, spices, and vegetables are staples you can’t forget about when planning your barbecue.

Wouldn’t be a Barbecue without BBQ Sauce

Sure you can purchase some great barbecue sauces at the supermarket, but have you considered making your own. Majority of barbecue sauce recipes are relatively simple to make and can add a special touch to your grilled meat.

  • Hennessy BBQ Sauce
  • Apple Cider & Maple Glaze
  • Thai Peanut
  • East Texas BBQ Sauce
  • Carolina Mustard
  • Bourbon BBQ Sauce
  • Memphis Style BBQ Sauce
  • And More..

Burger & Hot Dog Essential Toppings

Condiments are essential when you main features hamburgers and hot dogs. Be sure to set out all the classic toppings to ensure your guests can create the meal they hoped for when they got the invite. What to make your burgers better than the rest? Try a secret sauce or fun topping.

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Bacon
  • Buns

Condiments for Other Styles of Barbecues

If you are going a different route with your barbecue menu, you might need different types of condiments not listed above. Some may be the finishing touch to top your grilled or smoked foods, others can be used as a dip. You may or may not need any of these– that will depend on what you are serving. For example, regular potato chips go great with ranch or french onion dip, while tortilla chips are best served with salsa and queso.

  • French Onion Dip
  • Ranch Dip
  • Salsa
  • Queso
  • Hummus
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Marinades
  • Spice Rubs

Setting the Table & Safety Measures to Take

Your outdoor table will see a lot of action at your barbecue. Make it fun with appropriate decor or keep things simple but functional. Whatever you decide, you will need a few things.

What to Get:

  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Utensils (Forks, Spoons, and Knives)
  • Cups
  • Napkins
  • Toothpicks
  • Cutting Board
  • Table Cloth
  • Serving Dishes

Safety First

Backyard gatherings are full of fun and excitement but you are just one accident away from a fiasco. How can you prepare for an abrupt halt to your good time? Consider a refresher course on grill safety and keep the following things on hand:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Repellent
  • Fire Extinguisher

Now That You’ve Checked All the Boxes, Let the Good Times Roll!

About Route 17 Express

Route 17 Express is a hometown general store and restaurant. We offer Charlie Biggs Chicken, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Deli, Hot n Serve Meals, Marathon Gas, Firewood, Straw, and Much More!

Charlie Biggs Chicken
UHAUL Rental | Hunt Brothers Pizza
Deli | Bait & Tackle | Hot n Serve Meals | Gas | Firewood | Straw