Summer’s officially here! The sun is shining and Canadians are firing up their grills, getting ready for a solid season of backyard BBQs, patio parties and family picnics. With summer as short as it is in Canada, we don’t need much of an excuse to get outside and grill!
In order to get the most out of BBQ season, PREPARATION IS THE KEY! It’s not just about having the right ingredients (although that’s super important); you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a BBQ-ready meal plan, an outdoor space ready to take on whatever the party might bring, and (of course) a grill that’s in working order.
From fridge, to food, to backyard, check out our step-by-step guide to make sure everything is prepped for the best BBQ season ever:
Fridge and Freezer Prep
The first step in BBQ season prep is to make sure you’ve gotten rid of everything from last BBQ season. Trust us, even the most diligent fridge cleaners will discover old bottles of ketchup or half a box of burgers from last year that they completely forgot about.
Now that we’ve taken care of “out with the old,” it’s time for “in with the new!” Make sure you’ve got these grilling essentials on-hand all summer long and you’ll be ready to grill at a moment’s notice:
- Frozen burgers and hotdogs: These BBQ classics never get old. Keeping them in the freezer means you’ll always have options on hand for those impromptu summer BBQ moments, especially those days when it’s just too hot to cook indoors. We know that finding Halal options for the BBQ isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to hotdogs! So check out our Halal burgers, Halal hot dogs or both this summer!
- Fresh meats: Whether it’s produce or meat, whenever possible, fresh is always best! Chicken breasts, like our ZH boneless skinless chicken breasts, are easy to grill and super versatile. They can be used in everything from salads to sandwiches. Chicken thighs and drumsticks are great options, too. Check out the recipes section later in this post for great ideas on how to use them!
- Condiments: Even the best BBQ-ables need a bit of dressing up. Keep a few different BBQ sauces around (smoky ones, spicy ones, sweet ones, there are so many options these days!) and you’ll always have the right sauce to match your recipe and your guests’ taste preferences. You’ll also want to have lots of ketchup, mustard, mayo and relish options so guests can choose the right condiment combo for their hotdogs and burgers.
- Buns: Okay, these don’t technically go in the fridge or freezer, but they’re definitely BBQ essentials. Remember, buns and burgers (or hotdogs) don’t always come in the same numbers per package, so do the math to be sure you’ve got the right burger/frank-to-bun ratio.
- Mocktail ingredients: Summer has tons of colourful signature cocktails … but they are most definitely not Luckily, there are also tons of great mocktail (read: booze-free) recipes out there. Stock up on fruit juices and tiny umbrellas and make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram, because we’re going to be sharing some of our favourite mocktail recipes throughout the summer.
Even the best-stocked fridge won’t be of much use if your grill’s not ready to go. Check off all the items on this list before you fire up the BBQ for the first time:
- Refuel: Fill up that propane tank and check the hoses carefully to make sure there are no leaks. If you use a charcoal BBQ, stock up on briquettes.
- Clean your grill: There’s a good chance you’ve still got some of last year’s gunk hanging on to your grill, so give it a thorough scrub (or if it’s really stuck on there, an overnight soak) before you put any food on there.
- Test run: Give your grill a test run before you host your first big BBQ of the season. (Bonus: for a really thorough test, you’re going to have to eat the test results, just to make sure they’re up to snuff.)
- Outdoor-friendly dishes: An outdoor BBQ is no place for the family’s fine china, so stock up on some durable and reusable plastic or melamine dishes. They’re a much prettier, and more environmentally friendly, option than disposable paper or Styrofoam.
- Somewhere to sit: This can vary depending on where you’re hosting your BBQ. If it’s a picnic in the park or on a beach, have plenty of picnic blankets handy. If it’s at home, make sure there are enough chairs and table space for all your guests, and try dressing up the space with some patio lanterns so guests can still see if they stay past sundown.
- BBQ game night: If you’ve got kids coming, make sure you’ve got something to keep them busy while the food is cooking. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles are great options or younger kids, while lawn bowling and badminton are perfect for older ones.
In case you’re in need of some BBQ inspo, we thought we’d share some of our favourite summer grilling recipes (including some Asian-inspired takes on BBQ classics) to help you spice things up!
- Banh-Mi hotdogs
- Grilled Chicken Tikka Masala Sandwiches
- Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
- Indian Spiced BBQ Drumsticks
- California Health Dog
Gather Around the Grill Contest!
We want to help you be the BBQ Boss this summer, so we’re giving away an amazing grilling prize pack that has everything you need – from grill to games – to help you host your best BBQ no matter where you are. Check out the details and enter to win here.