Throwing steak on the grill, cracking a cold one and chatting with friends in the sun is a fantastic way to spend time in the summer.
Unfortunately, it is also a mighty pricey way to spend your time, if you are the person hosting. Let’s put some thought into how to host a summer BBQ on a budget, a budget that doesn’t bust the bank!
First up, the steak has got to go.
While often delicious, unless you are the local butcher, it is expensive! Think about how many people will be coming, so you can plan in advance, and go from there. While BBQs can be about the food, mostly they are about the company. You can whip up a delicious menu, that is customizable to the attendees, while focusing on less costly ingredients.
An Affordable BBQ Menu
Corn salad is an extremely affordable thing to make, that ensures some vegetables (okay, grains) make it onto the menu. There are LOTS of recipes available on Pinterest.
If you are a method-only person, buy some frozen corn, a can of black or pinto beans, one red pepper and some hot sauce. Dice the pepper, rinse the beans, mix everything together, and add a few spices and some olive oil. Voila. Affordable, protein-filled salad. The longer you leave it in the fridge, the better it will taste.
Hot Dogs are cheap!
Hamburgers are usually begging for cheese, which is a relatively expensive ingredient, but hot dogs are pretty normal without cheese.
You can get nicer quality dogs, if you want, or you can stick to the cheapo ones. Adults only have them rarely, so they are kind of like a treat, now. Have two or three mustards, and your standard ketchup, relish, and some mayo.
If you want to be fancy, get some of the Japadog toppings. Again things don’t have to be expensive!
You can put out pizza sauce and a bit of grated cheese and it will keep lots of folks well-pleased with the spread. If you want to make your own burgers from ground beef, they can be delicious and cheap, too. However, the toppings are more expensive than those on hot dogs, so keep that in mind.
Potato salad is a more time-intensive thing (I’m suggesting that you make it, not that you buy it for a million dollars at the store). A tiny bit of onion, some celery, and a boatload of mayonnaise and spices will give you a summertime staple, affordable food, that will fill up your guests. If potato salad isn’t your thing, you can swap in pasta salad, too.
Watermelon is your dessert and relatively speaking, it is affordable. It’s messy, though. My coworker says that freezies are always fun, and cheap. Sugar water for everyone!
BYOB is clearly the most important part of the list… that’s the part that will cost you the most. Just tell your friends that it’s BYOB. The end.
Of note, I didn’t put any chips on the list. You can add them, they’re cheap, but the menu is a lot healthier without them!
Pro tips from my van-mates: Make sure you have all the detail stuff you need, like paper plates, copious amounts of ice, large garbage bags and utensils. Doing dishes for 30 people can suck, and so can having nowhere to throw out or recycle disposables.
This is just one example of an affordable BBQ menu, there are lots and lots of variations.
What are your suggestions for how to host a summer BBQ on a budget?