The weather is getting warmer, the grass is getting greener, and cool breezes are blowing across backyards across the country. All of this can only mean one thing: It’s grilling season! For most people, that means spending tons of time enjoying your patio or porch accompanied by the sweet smells of barbecued meats and vegetables. To help you make the most of this year’s grilling season, here are our top five must-haves.
Find a Reliable Grill
We’re not going to weigh in on the age-old debate of charcoal versus propane or wood pellet. Instead, here’s a quick rundown of the main benefits of each type of grill:
- Gas Grill – Ready to go fast with easy cleanup.
- Charcoal Grill – Great for a strong smoky flavor.
- Wood Pellet Grill – Combines the flavor benefits of charcoal and the precision of electric heat.
- Electric Grill – Perfect for portable grilling.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you have a reliable grill that can handle whatever you throw at it. That means picking the right size grill. If you often find yourself acting as the grill master for a group of neighbors, you’ll want a grill big enough to handle it. Whereas if you’re a weeknight griller for the family, you might not need such a large grill.
Get the Right Tools for the Job
Grilling outside can be a pain when you don’t have the right tools. You can’t use a plastic kitchen spatula to flip burgers on the grill, and you can’t use small tongs to pick up steaks or vegetables. You need to have the best tools for outdoor grilling use. Here are a few of our top picks:
- Spring-loaded grill tongs
- Stiff wire grill brush
- An instant-read infrared meat thermometer
- Stainless-steel kabob skewers
- Long-handled metal spatula
Here’s a pro tip: Keep all your grilling accessories in a small Rubbermaid container. If you keep it outside, make sure it has a tight-fitting lid. In the same container, stash some aluminum foil, salt, and pepper. This handy grill box makes for an easy spur-of-the-moment cookout.
Weather-Proof, Comfortable Patio Furniture
We’ve been focusing on the grilling itself, but what about after? Make sure you have a comfortable place outside to eat that meal! We recommend a sturdy table with enough chairs for the whole family – plus one or two extra for dinner guests. Keep in mind that any fabric – like seat cushions – should be kept indoors whenever possible. The last thing you want is for your furniture to get moldy after a summer rainstorm.
Make a Shady Spot
Speaking of creating a comfortable space to enjoy your grilling, don’t forget about the sun and heat! Make sure to build in some shade around your patio furniture to avoid melting in the hot sun during the summer. There are plenty of options, both permanent and temporary. Here are a few ways you can bring shade to your backyard:
- Patio umbrella
- Free-standing or home-attached pergola
- Gazebo (with or without netting)
- Canopy (perfect for large gatherings)
- Retractable awning
For the more permanent options, you can also dress them up with lighting or speaker systems to completely transform your outdoor space.
Outdoor Firepit or Fireplace
Grilling goes hand-in-hand with summer entertaining. Take your backyard parties up a notch with an outdoor firepit or fireplace. They’re beautiful, affordable, and can be used nearly year-round to create a cozy atmosphere. You can opt for a classic wood-burning fire pit or go for a smokeless propane firepit.
Building an outdoor fire pit is a great way to bring creativity and design to your backyard. You can construct a modern fire pit with clean-cut stones or vibrant mosaic patterns, or you can opt for brick and stone. There are endless options here, as well.
Gathering these must-haves before the season hits is sure to bring you months of backyard grilling enjoyment! Have fun entertaining friends and neighbors, or get cozy with your family around a firepit, and create happy memories outdoors.