A successful Australia Day BBQ doesn’t have to be complicated, but putting some thought into what kind of event you want means less stress for you and more fun for your guests. Stuck for where to begin? In the following we set out some simple steps you can take to make your BBQ a day to remember.
1. Finalise Your Guest List
When you send out your invite, ask your guests to RSVP by at least a week before the day of the BBQ. If they haven’t, send a gentle reminder asking them to confirm or otherwise. After all, you need to know the numbers in order to plan the food and sort out seating arrangements, and you also need to ascertain any special dietary requirements, such as vegetarian or gluten-free.
2. Clean & Tidy
Given your outdoor area has probably seen a bit of action over the last couple of months, now is a good opportunity to give it a clean-up. If you’ve got kids, get them involved in sweeping and dusting the patio or deck and cleaning the outdoor furniture. Check the BBQ, giving it a clean if necessary, and stock up on gas or briquettes. And make sure you’ve got enough chairs and a good source of shade, as Australia Day is almost inevitably a hot one!
3. Plan the Menu
A week before Australia Day, sit down and work out what you’re going to cook and when you’re going to make it. Don’t go overboard, as keeping it simple means a more relaxed day for you, and less chance of a disaster! Think marinades – an easy way to jazz up seafood, meat or even tofu. As far as side dishes go, old staples, such as potato salad, pasta salad or a Greek salad, never go astray, and they’re easy to make as well. Or maybe you want to focus on some classic Aussie BBQ fare, like sausages, prawns, or even hamburgers with the lot. And, of course, a pavlova and lamingtons for dessert! If you’re lost for ideas, you’ll definitely find some inspiration in The Great Australian BBQ Recipe Collection.
4. Organise the Drinks
You may very well have opted for the good old Aussie BYO, which certainly makes things easier and cheaper, and means people bring their drinks of choice. However, you might like to treat your guests (and yourself) with some special Australia Day cocktails, making the most of the abundance of fruit in season. And, even if people are BYO-ing, you definitely should provide soft drinks for non-drinkers and kids and, of course, lots of ice!
5. ‘True Blue’ Aussie Fun & Games
No Australia Day BBQ is complete without some fun and games, so have a think about what kind of activities suit your outdoor area. Perhaps you have space for a game of backyard cricket or totem tennis, or a patio or deck big enough to accommodate a blow-up pool for the kids. Or how about playing an Australia Day-themed game of Celebrity Heads or Charades, focusing on Australian celebrities, books, films and events. Have a look at our post ‘4 Fun Patio Games To Play With Friends & Family’ for the rules to Celebrity Heads and Charades, along with a couple of other ideas for games when you have limited space.
As the above makes clear, the key to a successful Australia Day BBQ is in the planning, but also in keeping it simple. Don’t take on too much, stay relaxed, and you’re sure to enjoy the day as much as your guests.