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The days of summer are waning, and it won't be long before time spent outdoors will be less barefoot and more swathed in layers. Celebrate what's left by firing up the briquettes and throwing a classic barbecue. The best part? Cooking out is incredibly easy -- burgers, brews and buddies are all you really need to get the party started. But impress pals by running more than just a temporary burger joint with a little extra effort for a glorious grill-out.
An Invitation to Chillax Keep invites casual, it's just a backyard bbq after all. You're fine giving folks a call the day of or a couple of days in advance, or even sending out a quick email to all your pals.
BYO[Blank] Let people take some of the work off of your hands by delegating some of the sides/drinks to them. They won't mind picking up a bag of chips or making potato salad, and it'll save you from spending too much time slaving away.
Belly Up to the (Burger) Bar Stick to straightforward crowd pleasers, but with a twist -- offer unusual toppings for burgers, like fancy cheeses or avocado, whip up a delicious dip or two, or throw some frozen sweet potato fries in the oven. Hungry bellies will appreciate your out-of-the-box approach.
Decor The best backyard barbecues keep you from ever having to retreat indoors. Keep the comforts of home outside so no one has to trek to the house (except to go the bathroom, you know, or not, depending on how freewheeling your fete is).
Keep It Chill Give folks plenty of places to park it, bringing chairs out from inside temporarily or popping up a few camp chairs. Citronella torches ensure the only thing getting munched on is the food while also providing some light once the sun sets. A few inexpensive lanterns and plastic tablecloths separate your party from just another outdoor meal.
Drinks A good bbq is never complete without a few frothy beers, but give your pals a little something extra. Hit up your local liquor store for specialty summer ales. (IPAs, or fruit-tinged swills are a perfect light treat.) Or combine two delicious summer treats together with a beer milkshake. Reserve judgment until after you've combined two parts ice cream to one part darker beer (Guinness or a dark brown ale). It gives a whole new meaning to the term "having a cold one."