How to Plan Your Next Large BBQ

How to Plan Your Next Large BBQ

From Gourmet to Grand: Your Checklist for Success

My largest grilling events run the gamut from huge tailgate parties to our annual block party.

But even if your guest list only has two names on it, the same steps are necessary to host a successful barbecue. And when I say successful, I don’t just mean great food. I’m talking the type of success that lets you enjoy the party, too. All you need is a little preparation.

Begin with your audience and theme. How many people are coming? Is it a party? How elaborate can the menu be? After you’ve decided on the menu, design your grilling checklist something like this:

Inventory your grill and accessories

  • Is everything clean and ready to go?
  • Has the grease pan been wiped clean and the drip pan replaced?
  • Do you need new tools, aluminum pans, chimney starter, fire starter cubes?
  • Do you have enough gas/charcoal?

Make your shopping list

  • Fresh vegetables and fruit
  • Meats, poultry, or fish
  • Buns, bread
  • Condiments, spices, chips, dips, cheese
  • Wine, beer, soda, water
  • Theme items
  • Paper plates, napkins, cups, plastic silverware

Go shopping

  • Butcher shop
  • Party store
  • Grocery store
  • Discount store
  • Hardware store

Establish prep timeline

  • Wednesday make homemade barbecue sauce and salsa

Day before Event

  • Make potato salad and other cold salads
  • If making items that require longer cook times, like brisket , do it the day before and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil in the refrigerator  
  • Marinate chicken overnight and make hamburger patties

Last-minute preparations

  • Buy ice and stock coolers with wine, beer,  soda, water
  • Slice and chop fresh vegetables and fruit
  • Make guacamole and homemade dips about three hours before the party
  • Warm up the brisket on the grill to allow it to heat up to temperature

Pre-heat the grill, pass out the drinks, and truly enjoy yourself while you put the finishing touches on your grilled masterpieces. With a great plan you reap great rewards!

Important tips to make the food perfect

  • Always preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes on high before you begin grilling
  • Time your food so that everything is ready at the same time
  • Always rest your meat for 15-30 minutes, allowing to get to room temperature before placing it on the grill
  • Always allow your food to rest after cooking for 40% of the total cook time to allow juices to run back into the meat making it moist and tender. Make sure to account for this so that people aren’t diving into those perfect steaks before they have had their chance to rest!

What are your thoughts? (1)


nick s

I am planning on doing a brisket for xmas for my family (40+). I have a 9 lb trimmed brisket and a weber spirit 3 burner. I was going to split the beef in half and put it in a pan and follow the brisket recipe that is on the weber app. it says to grill for 4 hours at 300 after initial searing on both sides, and use 1/2 cup of whiskey. This is for a 3 pound trimmed brisket. How should I adjust grill time and whiskey. I know that this is not your recipe but the most help I can get the better.


Kevin Kolman

Hi Nick,

It sounds like it is going to be a nice Christmas dinner at your home this year. I would actually slow down the cooking and not cut the brisket in half. Use one burner and keep the rest off to concentrate on keeping the temperature at 225-250 degrees. I would use 2 cups of whiskey along with a half a cup of water. Once that brisket hits an internal temperature of 165-170 degrees, wrap it in foil and place it back on the grill until it hits 195 degrees internally. After this is done, let it rest in a dry cooler or oven for about 1-2 hours. This will loosen it up and make it tender. I have had much more success at the low and slow temperatures and foiling it rather than doing the high temperature briskets. I would definitely suggest staying away from searing it too. It will caramelize enough from the cooking process. One last tip, flip the brisket periodically throughout the cooking process. Keep me posted and have a great holiday.

Happy Grilling!


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