The Huckberry Guide to Throwing a Killer Backyard Party
When you start rollin’ into work on Mondays with a hardcore sunglass tan and hair that smells like a potent mix of bonfire and chlorine, you know summer’s in full effect. And to keep you prepared for all the backyard barbecues still to come, we’ve gathered up our favorite summer party tips and gear. We’re talking slip-on shoes, lawn games, and a dangerously delicious berry margarita recipe that’ll bring your backyard party to the next level.
It’s a safe bet that pretty much every backyard party you attend this summer will involve the grill, and we’re not mad about it. But that does mean there’s some hot competition for the title of grillmaster. Luckily, we’ve got some advice to set your apart. First, you’re going to want the right gear, and that starts with the grill itself. We’re big fans of the KUDU grill, which, really, is so much more than just a grill. This badass inferno can sauté, sear, fry, boil, smoke, and steam—all at the same time. (Or, if you don’t exactly have ample backyard space, this simple tabletop grill is a great alternative.)
As for the menu, it can pay to think beyond the average burgers and dogs. We’ve got a chicken pineapple skewer recipe that could make Ron Swanson give up red meat (the secret is in the marinade). And even if you go traditional, we recommend adding a twist to stand out from the rest—braise your dogs in beer like the Icelanders do, or try a bison, elk, or duck burger instead of the usual beef. (Fossil Farms will deliver farm-raised, five-star patties to your doorstep.)
There’s nothing wrong with a cooler full of beers, but in the heat of summer, a refreshing cocktail can be a welcome deviation. Luckily, we’ve got a couple of great recipes: Elliott Clark’s mixed berry margarita and Puerto Rican Cocktail King Leslie Cofresí’s tiki-inspired Adíos Pantalones. Looking for a party trick? A spiked watermelon will have everyone impressed.
It might feel like a laidback, reasonable decision to let the group choose songs as you go, but we’ve all been at parties where that’s devolved pretty quickly. To avoid hearing the first half of the same Jonas Brothers’ song three times in a row, it’s best to come prepared. Our friends at Wellen made this summer-centric playlist for sun and swell and makes for a great backdrop to any backyard party, whether you’re near the ocean or not. And while the solo cup trick was fine in college, it’s probably time to graduate to a legit outdoor speaker if you haven’t already. Lastly, if you’re musically inclined (or have had enough to drink), don’t be afraid to bust out your guitar—nothing pleases the crowd like a campfire sing-along.
What’s a social gathering without a little friendly competition? No, we’re not talking about who’s brisket was tastier at last weekend’s cookout—we’re talking about some high-stakes yard games. Some of our favorites? The ladder toss, ring toss, wooden tumbling timbers, and kubb—a Swedish lawn game said to have been played as far back as the Viking era. Whatever you choose, be sure to take advantage of that extra summer light—crack open another beer and rack ‘em up.
An easily overlooked part of party planning—comfortable seating. When your bellies are full of grilled delicacies, and everyone’s beat after the ring toss tournament, you’re gonna want ample spots to kick back and nurse your drinks. Be sure to invest in plenty of lawn chairs (we like these) and hammocks (and these), so you don’t have to be the guy who sits on the cooler.
Whether you’re throwing the party yourself or just attending, a backyard barbecue is the perfect opportunity to bust out some of your favorite summerwear—prints and slip-ons welcome. If your party skews a little more classy—or you just want to show off an elevated look—try a short sleeve buttondown and some lightweight chinos. If it’s all about comfort (or if you’ll be hopping in the pool), you’ll be happiest in a breathable tee, hybrid shorts, and shoes you can kick off. Either way, make sure you look for breathable and allows for movement, so you stay cool when you’re flipping burgers or getting competitive with the ring toss.
Elevated Summer Party Look
Laidback Backyard Barbecue Outfit