With summer in full swing, it’s time to get some BBQs on the calendar! Having a party is fun, but there’s a little bit more to throwing a grilling gathering than meets the eye. Because we don’t want you to shy away from hosting some of your friends and family because you aren’t sure where to start, here are five helpful tips to having the best summer BBQ ever!

Keep your menu small and thoughtful

When you try to do cook/bake/grill too many dishes at once, things can backfire quickly. Instead of doing three mains, five sides and two salads, narrow down the choices so you can do a few things really well rather than a lot of things poorly. Think of it as quality over quantity.

Take food allergies into account

As the host, you should double check with your guests about any potential food allergies or preferences. There are tons of vegan, gluten free, dairy free, etc. options out there so everyone can find something to enjoy on your menu. It’s important to remember, though, you won’t be able to please absolutely everyone so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

Backyard Entertainment

Once you've got your food nailed down, start thinking about the entertainment side of things. We're sure there will be plenty of great conversation, but people usually look for something to do while they're talking. No need to get crazy, a game of ladder toss or bags will do just the trick.

Set the mood

To set the mood right from the start, have a great playlist going in the background throughout the night. It will take over of any silent moments and can even act as a conversation starter. You can put some thought into it, or just put on your favorite summer Pandora radio station.

Send home a favor

If you really want to be named BBQ queen and hostess of the year, you can send your guests home with a little something. Maybe it’s a wrapped-up dessert to end the night on a sweet note or a bundle or herbs for their next meal. Whatever it is, this gesture is guaranteed to go over super well and your guests will be happily surprised.