How to Host a Summer BBQ on a Budget

Summertime is barbecue time. There’s just something visceral about preparing meat on a hot grill and bringing the plate inside to the cheers of friends and relatives. Even in Phoenix – where the scorching summer sun drives locals indoors June through September – many hosts opt to let their outdoor BBQ grills do the heavy lifting when it comes to the main dish. Here at BBQ Island, the grilling never stops. We host barbecues year-round and always have some new recipe steaming up our smoker.

Hosting a backyard BBQ can be more expensive than you’d think, especially if you have a large family or social circle. Aunt Jane from California expects organic salads and only eats fish, while Uncle Bob is all about burgers and beer. Your best friends’ kids expect hot dogs and macaroni. Meanwhile, you’re drooling over tri-tip and wondering how much all this personalized grub is going to cost.

Luckily, there are ways to make any barbecue more affordable, no matter how big the crowd. Here are five of our favorite ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality.

1. Sub Your Meat – We know you’re drooling over the idea of well-marbled filets and juicy tri-tip, but 30 pounds of prime meat will drain your wallet faster than you can say “tenderloin.” Most families are good with classic American burgers and dogs, or large trays of pulled pork that can be piled on store-bought buns. Other alternatives include:

Use more expensive meats for the adults and burgers for kids

Save dough (literally!) by making meat and veggie skewers, no buns required

Make one tray of cheaper chicken drumsticks/thighs and one tray of beef.

2. BBQ in (Potluck) Style – The cost of side dishes and salads plus buns, condiments and disposable plates/silverware can really add up. Ask each guest to provide one needed item such as potato salad, bread, greens, or tableware. Set up a potluck list on Facebook, if your guests use it, or create a signup sheet through free sites like Potluck Buddies or ThingtoBring.

3. Recruit Fellow Grillers – Is your brother a big BBQ guy? Does your buddy brag about his Traeger pellet smoker all the time? If you have friends who love to grill, tap them to help at larger gatherings. Have your buddy smoke up some brisket beforehand, or ask your bro to bring his easy-to-use electric grill and some burgers. The more, the meatier.

4. Turn Down the Heat – Cook everything in one batch, on multiple grills if possible. When you’re done with each grill, turn off the heat. This saves money and time when you’re cooking with gas or electric.

Whether you’re cooking for a handful of close relatives or hosting a mega dinner party for the neighborhood, there are always ways to save money by barbecuing. Provide just the meat for a potluck meal, and don’t be afraid to ask your grill buddies for help. For info on summer barbecue grills and upcoming classes, CLICK HERE or contact BBQ Island at 877-474-5669 today.

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