As summer gets close to an end, families are filling their schedules with as many summer activities as they can. After all, last year didn’t allow for as many events and excursions, so there’s a lot of making up to do. One such summer tradition that you should certainly try to fit in is a good old-fashioned barbeque.

Not all family barbeques are created equal. Some people are just better cooks than others, and others are naturals at putting together events. Regardless of your skillset, this checklist will set your barbeque up for success and make it the perfect way to say goodbye to the best season of the year:

1. Tools of the Trade

To start things off, you need a grill to get cooking! But, of course, you can’t expect to have an authentic barbeque if you’re planning on using nothing more than a conventional oven. Instead, you need that smoky taste and outdoor experience to bring it all together.

Alongside your grill, you’ll need some other materials as well. Cooking utensils such as a spatula, set of tongs, and a steel fork will help you handle your meat of choice or anything else you plan on cooking up. Charcoal, lighter fluid, and an apron with a humorous tagline will complete the set.

Make sure you have everything you need before lighting up the grill. Then, if necessary, plan a day or time to restock your supplies, so you don’t get caught without something you desperately need.

2. Food, Food, Food

Of course, the idea of a barbeque is to enjoy some delicious food. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and other hearty meats will make for a delectable main course for all of your guests. Don’t forget all the spices and sauces you need to create the most mouth-watering meal imaginable.

You can get some help from invitees to provide side dishes, finger foods, and drinks to complement the bulk of the meal. Chips, salads, cookies, and sodas will help fill plates and stomachs. This can also act as an entry fee for those coming to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Using your online calendar, you can coordinate with others to bring other foods and utensils to the gathering. Send out an event invitation with some notes regarding their assignment. This will make it, so one family doesn’t have to bear the entire burden of putting on a fantastic meal for numerous people.

3. The Perfect Venue

Where you plan on hosting your barbeque can affect how you plan for it. A backyard barbeque is a timeless classic, where the host can enjoy the comforts of home and all of their personal cooking supplies. All you might have to do is arrange some seating and parking to accommodate numerous guests.

Other venues are worth considering as well. Numerous parks and campgrounds have grills set up for guests to use. Having a barbeque after a long day out on the lake or exploring some hiking trails can highlight the entire trip. You need to reserve some of these locations in advance, so be sure to check ahead before you set plans into motion.

4. A Good Crowd

When it comes to a barbeque, the more, the merrier. Not only do more guests bring more food items, as was previously mentioned, but more faces also bring more entertainment, laughter, and friendship to the entire event. Besides, it provides an excellent reason to bring friends, family, and neighbors together.

Break open that online calendar again to look at the invitations you send. An online calendar event can be easily shared across devices with a built-in RSVP option so you can see who is planning on attending. This will help you correspond with planned guests to time the event and bring supplies. You might even decide to have a few people over early who are willing to help set everything up.

5. Games and Activities

Even though you’ll set a fixed time in your online calendar for the barbeque, scheduling food isn’t an exact science. It might take a lot longer than anticipated to cook things up, or the food might be ready before everyone even arrives. Either way, planning some games and activities will help fill up the time and add an extra layer to the dining experience.

Prepare a variety of games based on who you invited over. Kids will enjoy some backyard games in the yard or swimming in the pool if one is available. Adults might prefer a slower card game or a leisurely game like horseshoes. Your online calendar will help you prepare a personal schedule that ensures all necessary preparations are made in time for guests.

If you want to take things up a notch, you can include games and tournaments into your schedule. Some families get really into backyard volleyball, and a bracket built into your online calendar ensures everyone gets a turn at greatness. A variety of activities planned for the kids will keep them entertained all night while the adults relax with a drink and a plate of seconds.

6. Clean-up Crew

A messy barbeque is a successful one, but the aftermath can be a chore. You can hedge against disaster by making sure you’re stocked up on trash bags and any other cleaning supplies you need to clean off the grill, tables, chairs, and any other surfaces that may now be covered in ketchup and mustard.

Guests are more than welcome to help with the clean-up as well. You can coordinate your cleaning efforts using your Calendar, so the project isn’t too big for anyone. Assign kids to task forces gathering up trash and ask every family to put away their chairs and anything else they might’ve moved or used during the feast.

Are you hungry yet? Get the grill going before it’s too late! A summer barbeque is just what the doctor ordered.

Image Credit: minan; pexels; thank you!