With Memorial Day approaching and summer arriving (hopefully, one day here in Chicago!), BBQ season has officially started. We have waited for nice weather for months. Now I can’t wait to take full advantage of the grill and sit outside on the patio. But first, there are a few essentials you will need for your BBQ.
The Setup: Checklist
Here are some essentials you will need, almost everything is available at your local grocery store, Target or Amazon.
- The grill- Ok, this might seem obvious right? But I love our Weber Grill available at Target. It’s great for small spaces, like our little city patio! We’ve had it for 8 years now and it’s going strong, cooks everything evenly and easy to clean.
- Charcoal/Propane Tank- You will need it all summer long. Tip- check the tank to make sure it’s full before you get grilling. Nothing worse than running out of propane half way through your BBQ.
- Aluminium Foil
- BBQ Grilling Tools- We bought these Weber grilling tools when we bought the grill. Very study and easy to hang on the grill.
- Napkins, plastic utensils, cups, and paper plates (all optional of course)
- Apron- How cute is this matching adult and kid size apron one for summer?
- Paper Towels- because we all have that one friend that spills right?
- Bottle opener- This is probably the one thing I always forget to leave out before guests arrive!
- Ice- Gotta keep those cold drinks on ice right?!
- Bug Spray or I love bug repellent wipes for the kids. Easy to put on and doesn’t get in their mouth.
- Grilling spray
- Enough seating for your guests; tables, chairs and table cloths too! Think about those little ones too, where will they sit…
- Lighter fluid/matches
- Music- You have to create a great playlist right?! We love our Bluetooth Bose Speaker on our patio.
- Meat thermometer– Make sure your meats are cooked. We have this one and love it! We have used it for years for bbqs, Thanksgiving, etc. Very reliable and long lasting (we’ve had a few that haven’t last long at all)
Food & Drink
Ok, for the best part. The FOOD!!
Hamburgers & Hot dogs
To save time, pick up some premade burgers, season them how you like them too! Pick up the Oscar Mayer or Vienna Beef hot dogs and buns.
For seasoning, I like to keep it simple with this McCormick Burger Seasoning. It’s simple, but not overwhelming.
I also recently started using Sir Kensington’s Special Sauce and it’s SO GOOD! I found it at Target.
To give my burgers an extra kick (I love anything spicy!), I add a medium salsa verde on top. It’s so good!
Am I the only one that can eat potato salad for a meal? I love it.
If you like an egg salad instead, I have my mom’s recipe that I love to make. It’s a great alternative for vegetarians at the BBQ.
Corn on the cob
Is it even summer without corn?! I think not! A summer classic side and really cheap when in season. Perfect on the grill. You can make it into street corn by adding mayonnaise, butter, lime and chili powder!
If you have been following me for awhile, you know my mother-in-law’s famous Puerto Rican rice is delicious. The recipe is here. I think it makes a great addition to any bbq!
Adding asparagus or portobello mushrooms on the grill is a great option for your vegetarians at your party. Additionally, mushrooms are a great addition to burgers too.
Watermelon (or kind of fruit in season)
The freshest! I could eat watermelon all summer long.
Chips & Guacamole
Guacamole is one of those starter that everyone likes. Some of my favorite guacamole is from Tony’s, it’s so fresh. They also make their own chips, those are a must too.
If you are huge salsa fan like I am (I put salsa verde on almost anything…), they have a big selection. Try adding it to your burger, it’s a game changer for sure.
I really liked this picnic pack because you can actually stick them back into the cardboard and easily transport them. Great if you BBQ is at a park or beach. I also love a good Chicago style hotdog, so don’t forget the celery salt!
Beer and Wine
Check your inventory beforehand and always have things like soda water handy. I also like to think about my friends preferences when I shop.
And that’s it! You have everything for your summer BBQ. I wish you the best summer kick off and enjoy your friends and family this summer season. I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful. Add your comments below or DM me on Instagram. And as always, thanks for following and you can sign up for weekly email updates here.
Until next time,
Photography by Michelle Cox