There’s nothing better than a good, old-fashioned backyard barbecue! Between the great food and time with friends and family, you create some memorable moments. But before you roll out the grill and put on your apron, check out these simple tips to help you host the perfect outdoor party every time.  

Keep it simple: By adding too much to your menu, you run the risk of spending the entire party cooking instead of mingling with your guests! Keep it simple by choosing one or two main dishes and a handful of sides you know everyone loves. Taste of Home has a list of the best 100 barbecue recipes that you can use to craft the perfect menu. 

Prep your food before your guests arrive: Ensure your party runs as smoothly as possible by prepping your food beforehand. If you can, try to assemble your side dishes and get your burger or hot dog toppings ready in advance. 

Serve plenty of pre-dinner snacks: Chips and dip, fresh fruit, vegetables and hummus, cheese and crackers are all easy and delicious snacks that will go perfectly with your main meal. And the best part? You can purchase most of these platters pre-made from your local grocery store. 

Make sure you have enough propane or charcoal: Avoid any mid-barbecue runs to the store for more propane or charcoal by stocking up before the party! You can always use any leftovers to host another barbecue later in the summer.  

Light citronella candles to repel pesky insects: Hosting an outdoor party means you might have some unwanted guests. Include cans of bug spray on outdoor tables or, better yet, light some citronella candles to keep the bugs at bay and provide some atmospheric lighting at night.  

Set up yard games for all ages: It just wouldn’t be a backyard barbecue without outdoor games! Take your party to the next level by setting up some lawn games—like cornhole, horseshoes, or Twister—that both kids and adults can enjoy. 

Don’t forget the s’mores: End the night by roasting marshmallows over an open fire for s’mores. Don’t worry, you don’t need an elaborate bonfire or firepit, you can easily use your hot leftover coals or your gas grill to roast your marshmallows!