Planning a Barbeque in 8 Hours Article -
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Planning a Barbeque in 8 Hours

Here's how to pull off a last-minute cookout, complete with crowd-pleasing recipes and easy party tips.

Menu Idea

With a house to clean and shopping to do, you'll want simple but wow-worthy dishes.


8 hours before the party:

  • Invite guests to the 'cue and ask them to bring a beverage or favorite side.
  • Make a shopping list. Your menu needs just 12 ingredients: Flank steak (estimate 4 to 6 ounces per person), unshucked fresh corn, cornflakes, corn syrup, chocolate syrup, roasted peanuts, peanut butter, frozen lemonade, frozen sweetened strawberries, vanilla ice cream, vodka and crushed ice. 
  • Check pantry for steak marinade ingredients and go shopping.
  • Pick up bright colored bandanas, bubble wands, colored chalk, and balloons at a party store.
  • Give the house a quick clean-up. 
  • Assemble Tin Roof Sundae ice cream pie. Cover and freeze. 

4 hours before the party: 

  • Make marinade. Add steak and place in refrigerator.
  • Wipe down the patio furniture. Clean the grill. 
  • Gather plates and cups. Wrap flatware in bandanas; bandanas can double as napkins and be used in relay races for kids. 
  • Put the 2 ingredients for Easy Strawberry Lemonade--frozen lemonade and frozen sweetened strawberries--in the refrigerator to thaw. Chill vodka. 
  • Set up a crafts table for kids with crayons, watercolor paints, paper, scissors, magazines and labels for name tags. 

As guests arrive:

  • Greet guests with homemade Strawberry Lemonade. Let adults spike lemonade with vodka. Offer crushed ice to kids for a slushier drink.
  • Bring kids to the craft table and let them decorate nametags for themselves. Offer each child a bubble wand, large or small, to keep them busy. 
  • Ask older kids to organize games of hopscotch, a balloon toss, or relay races. Let younger kids draw, paint or make collages using pictures cut out from magazines. 
  • Put corn on the grill to cook; it will take 30 minutes. 
  • When corn is done, keep it on indirect heat on the grill and cook steak.
  • Slice steak and place on serving platter. Let guests help themselves to steak, corn, and sides. 
  • Pull ice cream pie out of the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Pass extra chocolate syrup and roasted peanuts for garnishing.

    Ready to plan a barbeque?

      Jul. 15, 2009 9:03 pm
      Whew, thank you. I was stressing over a barbeque tomorrow that I barely planned for and this was heaven-sent.
      Jul. 28, 2009 5:11 am
      WONDERFUL!! I'm doing a housewarming/bbq saturday and had no idea where to start. Thx
      Jun. 5, 2010 9:30 am
      i like the 8 hour planner bbq
      Jun. 5, 2010 9:31 am
      thank you
      Jun. 5, 2010 9:34 am
      that was a great 8 hour bbq planner thank you
      Jun. 30, 2010 1:01 pm
      This is wonderfully helpful. Family is visiting with young children. I know nothing about having a BBQ with children present. I feel sooo much better now.
      Jun. 30, 2010 7:34 pm
      Great sounding idea--make the napkins "red, white and blue" and you have a 4th of July celebration!
      Jul. 9, 2010 10:29 am
      cornflakes are for the tinroof sunday
      Joe Clark 
      Sep. 25, 2010 9:06 pm
      The corn flakes are also served with milk and a "hair of the dog" on the morning after, for the lushes who were unable to drive home. Jamisons is an awesome HOTD and then we all meet up with bloodshot eyes at Mass in the AM or maybe the 7pm.
      May 17, 2011 10:27 pm
      I Love your idea. I am keeping this and showing it to my daughter. I live with her. & I know she will love this. Now that it is warm weather, she has been cooking alot on the grill. & this is much easier then what she has been doing. Thanks so much.
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