Australians and BBQs go together like Americans and guns, cats and YouTube or men and caves. Renowned the world over for our love of throwing ‘another shrimp on the barbie’, Australian men boast some of the most envied outdoor culinary skills in the world.
Grab a pair of tongs and a tray of snags and overhaul your barbecue area with the following outdoor entertaining tips for creating the ultimate entertaining space.
#1 Light it Up
There are few sensory experiences more alluring than the wafting aroma of meat grilling on a barbecue. The scent can leave you salivating and ready to drop everything in search of the backyard responsible. Most al fresco grillings stretch past twilight, so guide your guests to the grill with plenty of outdoor lighting.
Before getting caught up in decorative ambient lighting, focus on functionality and install direct lighting over the BBQ. Multiple lights placed around the grilling area will eliminate shadow disturbance.
Depending on how large your deck or barbecuing area is, and whether or not it overlooks a backyard or garden, larger areas will benefit from landscape lighting to highlight standout features.
After a long night of barbecuing and possible boozing, it’s important to protect your guests and yourself with sufficient illumination around pathways and pools.
Think outside the square – or the bottle – with unique lighting installations such as wine bottle lights or a sprinkling of solar fairy lights available at most hardware stores.
Tip: Include candles in your lighting plan. They create a subtle, easy-going and romantic (if that’s what you’re going for) ambience.
#2 Electric, Gas or Charcoal?
The barbecue is the centre of the action when entertaining outside on the deck or in the yard. Keep in mind how many people you intend to feed at any given time and if the barbecue will need to be stored inside or under cover during winter. There are three main types to choose from:
Nothing beats the char-grill flavour a charcoal barbecue delivers. Generally less expensive than its gas and electric counterparts, charcoal barbecues tend to take slightly longer to cook and require adequate ventilation to guard against unruly flames.
Electric barbeques are perfect for gentlemen with limited entertaining space, or anyone living in areas with fire restrictions in place. Some argue electric options are inferior to the competitors because they lack the genuine BBQ flavour.
With plenty of options and sizes available, gas barbeques are perfect for large gatherings and quick cooking. Keep a spare gas bottle handy and avoid the annoying last minute dash to the service station.
If conventional barbeques aren’t for you, or if you prefer a more rustic outdoor dining experience, a camp-style fire pits is the next best thing. Opt for a stone fire pit with grates for grilling and don’t forget to stock up on marshmallows.
If your outdoor entertaining area is covered, or semi-covered, consider outdoor sectional sofas that can be moved and arranged to suit the occasion. Invest in cushions of different shapes and sizes to add character and comfort to the setting.
A tall table (think bar-height) and some stools will encourage guests to chat with the man behind the grill and add an interactive element to proceedings.
From up high to down low, waterproof beanbags welcome a relaxed and intimate atmosphere for casual barbie vibes.
We also recommend bench seating around the main table to maximise the number of friends you can accommodate.
#4 Superior Surfaces
Much like conventional cooking, outdoor cooking comes with its own set of dangers to be mindful of, particularly when entertaining drunk friends, elderly family members, or small children. Design your outdoor kitchen with materials that promise safety and durability. Non-slip floor coatings are essential for uncovered areas, or barbecues located near pools.
A few of our favourite bench-top combinations include:
- Wood and Stone – great for a traditional outdoor setting.
- Steel and Stone – a sleek, modern duo that boasts durability and easy-cleaning properties. Stainless or galvanised steel bench-tops are particularly striking thanks to their industrial flair.
- Concrete – durable and aesthetically appealing, concrete will last a lifetime and require little maintenance.
#5 Appliances For All Seasons
Ceramic and stainless steel are the best performing appliances when faced with rugged weather conditions.
A bar fridge is the barbeque master’s best friend. Helping him avoid trips to the kitchen for more meat and ensuring his beer is never empty, a mini fridge is ideal for regular outdoor entertainers.
Create a sport’s bar in your backyard with the inclusion of a mounted TV, beer taps and a sink for preparing cocktails.
#6 Cover Up
Guard against the harsh Australian elements with a roof-like covering or shaded areas.
Oversized beach umbrellas are a festive way to keep cool and out of the sun during summer. More permanent roofing options (like polycarbonate) provide a refuge from wind and rain while keeping out glare.
Warning: Ensure proper ventilation and adequate space between barbecues and shade coverings or structured roofing.
So there you have it: all the outdoor entertaining tips you need to know to host your best barbecue. Happy grilling.