10 Tips to Pull Off a Massive Family Cookout

Due to most people's hectic professional lives, get-togethers for big families can often be quite difficult for everybody to attend. On top of that, there’s also the challenge of preparing all the food that everyone will be eating. Getting enough ingredients together and cooking several different dishes are not only time-consuming but energy-draining, too.

10 Tips to Pull Off a Massive Family Cookout

However, this doesn't mean that you should forget about planning such a gathering altogether. If you don't want to cook, there are affordable restaurants that you can book to host your massive family dinner. But, if you wish for a cozier event at home, you can just order in food. Both options offer convenience but can be quite costly.

Now, if you don't mind cooking and you have a lot of hands willing to help, plus you want a typical family to get together, a cookout is always a fantastic idea. When you have a solid plan, it doesn't need to be as difficult as most people make it out to be.

So, if you are set on hosting your first family cookout ever, here are 10 fail-proof tips to help you out.

1. Keep costs low by shopping directly from wholesale food distributors.

If you are working with a fixed budget, buy straight from wholesale food suppliers. In Dubai, purchasing ingredients wholesale will automatically cut costs. You can save a considerable amount of money that you can use towards other things needed for your family cookout.

In addition, wholesale food distributors typically offer fantastic deals such as discounts and promos. Not only will you be able to get the ingredients you need at a lower price, but you may acquire other valuable products and services that add value to your purchase.

2. Stretch expensive ingredients.

One of the smartest pieces of the advice shared by Country Living Magazine when it comes to organizing successful cookouts are to get creative with recipes to stretch expensive ingredients.

For example, if you have been gifted a few bottles of expensive fruit wines that not everybody can share, turn them into refreshing spritzers. Look for recipes online that will allow you to create delicious and high-quality drinks using the wines and other beverages such as sparkling water, ginger ale or colas.

This way, even if there will be a the difference with the taste, everybody still gets served high-quality wine.

3. Divide all the meat into equal portions.

To make sure that everybody gets served almost equal amounts of meat, portion out everything for cooking instead of cooking large cuts. This is an ingenious strategy to implement, especially if the meat is tricky to cook.

Take Turkey, for example, which is a staple offering in Western holiday celebrations. Instead of cooking a whole turkey, which not only requires a big oven and can take several hours, why not have the bird chopped into small pieces? This will make marinating and cooking the meat easier and faster.

Another advantage to this is that you can make sure everybody gets a tasty share of the main entree.

4. Grill vegetables and fruits.

Grilling veggies and fruits are not a common practice, especially in Western cooking, but if you are serving barbecue, these grilled alternatives are worth considering. They are nutritious, do not cost as much as the typical barbecue sides, quick to cook, and can really go a long way if you chop them into small chunks.

Some of the best vegetables and fruits to grill are squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, watermelon, peaches, and pineapples.

5. Create a twist for traditional cookout favorites.

If you want to offer something familiar yet interesting to your guests, look into your family's favorite recipes and see how you can prepare them slightly differently.

For example, your meatloaf always gets raves during the holidays. How about forming that into meatballs or burger patties for the cookout instead? This unexpected twist will leave your family members gushing all the more about the recipe.

6. Don't cook everything yourself.

Share the cooking responsibility with everybody, if possible. Set up different cooking stations where guests can grill on their own. If you have young guests, invest in a few clay pots, wrap these with aluminum, and add heating stones and charcoal to make roasting s'mores a breeze for them.

Another thing you can do to get others involved in the cooking is to use your backyard fire pit. Put hotdogs, sausages, and marinated cubes of meat in skewers and have those who easily get hungry take care of preparing a course of their meal.

7. Prepare a variety of sauces and seasoning.

According to professional event planner Andrea Correale, it's important to offer an assortment of flavor enhancers to tantalize guests' taste buds.

So, stock up on everything from syrups to barbecue sauce, Thousand Island dressing, melted butter, cheeses, and flavored salts and place them in small bowls near the firepit and dining area.

8. Make sure to have all the essentials.

For a successful cookout, you need staple ingredients and tools. These are: 
  • Meat thermometer
  • Tongs
  • Barbecue turner
  • Olive oil
  • Basting brush
  • Grill brush
  • Aluminum foil
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Butter

9. Tap into the power of the pressure cooker.

A pressure cooker can slash the cooking time of tough meats and other recipes that usually take a long time, such as chili and pot roast (two family cookout faves).

If you use a pressure cooker for these time-consuming recipes, you'll have them ready in time for the arrival of guests. And, if you only have one pressure cooker, borrow a couple more from other family members or friends.

10. Prepare days before the cookout.

Get as many of the food prepping tasks are done days before the day of the cookout. This is one reliable way of reducing the stress of food preparation. Some of the things that you can prepare beforehand are the sauces. You can also marinate your meats the day before the cookout.

Checking off a lot of the tasks before the day of the big event will make you feel less pressured. And when guests arrive, they won't find you standing over the stove, not yet showered.

Try these 10 best tips at your next cookout with the whole family. With these, you will not only ensure great eats for everyone but a mighty good time as well.


Jad Asaad is the Marketing Manager at Bidfood UAE with more than eight years of experience in digital, online and offline marketing. He started his career in Beirut working in a creative agency and then moved to Dubai to further expand his career. He created and implemented award-winning high-impact digital and offline marketing campaigns that consistently generated revenue streams and improved performance in targeted segments.

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