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Y’all know I love a good old fashion BBQ!  A barbecue is a great way to get everyone together in the summer, but hosting your own garden party can be pretty expensive. With lots of meat, drinks and extras to buy, it’s easy to be put off by the cost. Thankfully there are things you can do to keep this down, and enjoy food and drinks with friends without it costing the bank.  Here are my top tips for hosting an epic BBQ! 

Go potluck style

Asking everyone to bring something along that you can throw onto the grill can really help to keep costs down, plus you get a better selection of items and it can be fun to share everything around! There’s no major cost on you as the host and you could end up with a far more interesting spread than you would have otherwise. To avoid too many repeats, you could assign burgers, sausages, chicken, beef, pork and vegetables to different guests.

Marinate your own meat

If you head into the supermarket, at this time of year there’s always a ‘barbecue’ section. A range of tasty looking marinated meats that you can throw directly onto the grill. The trouble is, these can cost up to three times more than the ingredients to make them, assembling your own can be easy and just as tasty. Purchase some marinating kits– cajun powder, barbecue seasoning, chinese seasoning etc or mix up your own. Buy your meat plain and marinate it yourself. Things like big bags of frozen chicken drumsticks are really cheap, defrost them in the fridge overnight and then add some spice rub to them. By the afternoon they’ll be ready to go and you’ll have saved a fortune on similar products. You can make your own burgers using plain ground meat- add things like grated onion, herbs and spices or a chunk of cheese to the centre so they’re ‘melt in the middle’. You can marinate plain chicken breasts and bash them flat with a rolling pin so they cook easily on the barbecue for tasty chicken fillet burgers.

Citrus Marinated Flank Steak | Baked In The South

Citrus Marinated Flank Steak 

Bourbon BBQ Sauce | Baked In The South

Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ | Baked In The South

Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ

Big Bob Gibson's Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Big Bob Gibson’s Alabama White BBQ Sauce

big green egg wbig green egg whole-smoked-chicken_edited-1

Bulk it up with veggies and side dishes

The meat will always be the most expensive part of a barbecue, so bulk it out with different vegetables and side dishes. Create skewers where the meat is bulked out by chunks of peppers, mushrooms and onions. Make big batches of pasta salad, potato salad and homemade coleslaw, these cost hardly anything but fill up your guests plates. 

Caprese Salad | Baked In The South

Caprese Salad

Paula Deen Southern Style Pork & Beans| Baked In The South

Southern Style Baked Beans

Paula Deen | Summer Picnic Potato Salad | Baked In The South

Summer Picnic Potato Salad

Mix up some cocktails

In addition to the food, the drinks are important at a barbecue too. One cheap and easy option that suits most people is to mix up something like vodka cocktails. Add a bottle of vodka, some fruit juice and lemonade to a large drinks dispenser with some chopped strawberries and lemons to infuse it. Guests can then help themselves as it’s all pre- mixed. Have plenty of ice in the freezer which they can pop into their glass when they’re filling up, as drinks quickly go warm on a sunny day.  

Henry Clay Mint Julep

Henry Clay Mint Juleps

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