How to Plan a Big Cookout

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With busy summertime schedules, planning a big cookout can be the only opportunity to gather all your friends and family in one spot at one time. Follow these simple steps and you're on your way in planning your next cookout.

  • Pick a date for your huge cookout. Send out invitations well in advance. By providing enough notice to your guests, you're allowing a greater chance they can plan their schedules to attend.

  • Choose the location where you're going to host your cookout. When making arrangements for a location, consider parking, food preparation and restroom options.

  • Opt for simple but delicious food choices. Typical summertime cookout food includes hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, chips, fruits, vegetables and even desserts, such as cookies and brownies. Remember to purchase beverages--water, sodas and alcoholic drinks, if you're allowing those at your cookout.

  • Shop for your cookout. In addition to the food and beverages, your list may include items such as plates, napkins, utensils, garbage cans and garbage bags. Be sure to buy toppings for your food, such as onions, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and/or miracle whip.

  • Make a list at the beginning stages of planning your cookout. You can add to or subtract from your list if your needs and ideas change.

  • If you're planning on using your home for the cookout site, consider renting tables and chairs, as well as tents in case of rainy weather.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask for help. If you're putting too much on your plate, ask your guests to provide assistance by lending a hand preparing the location or bringing a covered dish.
  • If you're going to serve alcohol at your cookout, have a designated driver on hand to get your guests home safe.

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