Hosting a Successful Barbecue (Actually a Beer-B-Q)

Hosting a Successful Barbecue (Actually a Beer-B-Q)

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How to Host a Successful Beer-B-Q

Beer-B-Q's are great fun. They're like a mix between a full-blown keg party and a quiet barbecue. Beer-B-Q's are more relaxed than a keg party, with great food, but they're more fun than a simple barbecue. And throwing a great Beer-B-Q is much easier than you may think.

First, a good location is a must. A secluded backyard is preferred, especially if it's big and has a deck and a pool or spa. However, a public park that has grills, and where alcohol is allowed, can work as well, but keep the noise level down to avoid any law enforcement attention. Second, you need good weather, so plan your Beer-B-Q for sometime between late May and early September for the best weather in this area. Memorial Day to Labor Day is always a good bet for the perfect Beer-B-Q season. Now that you've picked a date and have your location, the real preparation begins.

Okay, first major step is food. Make sure to account for any vegetarians in your group of friends. Boca Burgers or GardenBurgers are good choices for vegan and vegetarian party guests, as both products are made with no animal products. Now, for the real carnivores you're sure to invite, keep your patties at or above a quarter pound size. Even more important than that, however, is the fat content of your patties. Get 98% Fat Free or better patties. Why? We don't care about watching waistlines! However, most of the fat in a patty gets burned off on the grill, shrinking the overall size of the patty. So a 98% Fat Free quarter-pound patty is going to be bigger than a regular quarter-pound patty. I hope that makes sense. Hot dogs are also always a good bet, and Oscar Mayer and Ballpark are perennial favorite brands. Be sure to have plenty of condiments, chips, salad or fruit, and soda for the underage or designated driver guests.

Next up is music. Get a stereo. If you're lucky enough to be throwing the Beer-B-Q at a house with those neat outdoor speakers hooked up to the indoor stereo, you're probably set. Otherwise, get your hands on a 3-Disc or 5-Disc portable CD player with speakers that detach from the main unit. You won't have enough outdoor electrical outlets for a component system, so leave the big boy at home. As for music itself, keep it mixed up.

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Make sure that both the guys and gals at your Beer-B-Q appreciate the music, but remember that you can't please everyone. Oh, and always remember to please the women first. Your buds will understand. Some CDs that have always worked for me are Bob Marley's "Legend," Sublime's "40oz to Freedom," and a new favorite, Santana's "Supernatural," but make sure you tailor the music to your guests, and keep the CD on shuffle with plenty of backup albums nearby.

Finally, and most important of all: Beer. Beer is the cornerstone and namesake of the Beer-B-Q. There are two theories behind this. The first is that beer makes everything better. That's arguable, but the reason I've found is that beer makes a great instant marinade. While you're grilling your meat, pour some beer over the meat. All the alcohol will burn off, but the taste will remain. I've tested a few brands and types of beer over the years of throwing Beer-B-Q's, and here's what I've found.

The best, by far, of all beer types is the HefeWeizen. A HefeWeizen is a honey brew beer. I think the name is German for "Honey Wine" or something like that. HefeWeizens work well because the honey used in the brewing process makes them a little sweeter than lagers or ales. For just drinking the beer, I suggest placing a lemon wedge in the bottle. Also, Henry Weinhard's makes a very tasty, inexpensive HefeWezien.

Next best are the Ice and Pale brews. The good ones are Henry Weinhard's Blue Boar Ice Ale and Sierra-Nevada Pale Ale. A cheaper, but less tasty alternative, is Bud Ice. I'd stay away from anything Budweiser when throwing a Beer-B-Q, but it will do the job on a tight budget.

Whatever you do, and this is very important, do not use Corona for marinating your meat. Although it is bad as a marinade, I do suggest keeping some in the cooler. Throw a lime wedge in a bottle of Corona and you have a very tasty beverage. But don't pour it on the meat. You've been warned.

After you've chosen location, date, food, music, and beer, there's only one more step, and unfortunately I can't help you with it: Guests. The best Beer-B-Q will be the best because of the guests who are there. Be sure to invite your close friends, and their close friends, but try to avoid the keg-standing, beer-bonging, puke animals we all know. They're great fun at keg parties, but bad news at Beer-B-Qs. Happy grilling!
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