Memorial Day is the official start of barbecue season. If you can’t grill year-round, this is the time to pull out the Weber and fire it up. Of course, hosting a party can be expensive, but a barbecue can be done for much less money if you follow these tips.
Shop the Manager’s Specials for Memorial Day Barbecue Meats
The meat and other grillables are the most expensive part of the barbecue. Although I’m partial to grass-fed beef, feeding more than a family can get very expensive. If your hosting a gathering, then you need to cut costs. Head to the grocery store on Sunday and look for manager’s specials on various cuts of meat. You can probably score steaks, ground beef, and chicken breasts for half the usual price. Manager’s special’s are usually close to the expiration date, so make sure to buy them close to the date of the party or toss them in the freezer until Sunday.
Stock Up at Costco
If you belong to Costco, then it’s time to stock up. Their kosher hot dogs are fantastic and come in large packs for a very low price. They also have buns to match. You’ll also want to pick up hamburger buns if you’re making burgers. This is also the place to grab soda, beer, chips, and napkins. Rather than buy water bottles, fill a few pitchers of water and set out plastic glasses.
Use Your Regular Utensils
Save your pennies and the planet by putting out baskets or cups filled with your regular metal utensils. As a bonus, your guests won’t have to attempt to saw through a steak with a plastic knife.
Use Your Regular Dishes
Again, skip the paper, which isn’t sturdy enough for Memorial Day barbecue fare anyway. If you don’t want to use your everyday china, then hit the dollar store for some sturdy plastic plates. These will last for several barbecues, as opposed to the paper ones that go straight into the trash.
Ask Friends to Bring Drinks or Sides
You can save yourself some cash by asking friends to supply side dishes like potato salad or a green salad. You could also ask them to bring drinks, which will save you the expense of buying more than a 12-pack of beer to get the party started.
Skip the Theme
Some people feel that every party must have a theme. I’m generally opposed to themes – Memorial Day is the theme! So just skip it. Then you won’t have to worry that your plates don’t go with your concept.
Keep the Décor Simple
This is a barbecue. You don’t need fancy tablecloths. Just lay an old vinyl cloth over a table to protect it and you’re good to go. Skip the balloons, streamers, and what not.
Backyard Games Are In
If you’ve got a croquet set, volleyball net, or badminton set, bring it out. It’s a great way to kill time while you’re waiting for the meat to cook.
Keep the Guest List Reasonable
You don’t need to invite everyone you know to this party. Instead focus on a nice group of 10-20 people so you can actually hang out and have fun rather than handcuff yourself to the barbecue or spend the whole time greeting new arrivals.
Make It an Open House
The other option is to set a start time in the early afternoon and then make it an open house so people will come and go. Not all of them will expect to be fed, or be disappointed if they missed the fresh burgers. They’ll also bring a fresh supply of snacks and drinks, which prevent you from sending anyone to the store.
The first big grilling holiday of the season is almost upon us. I command you to go forth and barbecue this Memorial Day. And keep a cold one in the cooler for me.