Hosting A GATHERING In Your Outdoor Kitchen
This summer, start a new Summertime tradition by hosting family gatherings and relaxing get-togethers in your outdoor kitchen. This is the perfect opportunity to design & install your outdoor dining space and set up your party calendar for the year. The Grillnetics blog has just the tips you need to carve out a perfect plan for your outdoor celebrations!
If you need another incentive to host on your patio this year, outdoor dining does make it easier to observe recommended practices to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Hosting outdoors will enhance your celebratory atmosphere thanks to the fresh air and colors, but don't forget about holiday decorations! You can use your usual holiday decor, though you may want to look for dinnerware and table settings that are heavy enough to stay put in case of windy weather. In addition to decorations, you'll want to put some thought into outdoor lighting — and in the fall, daylight savings time is in full effect, and the days will be getting shorter.
The days are getting longer, and the evenings are a little warmer, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying an evening outside. While many of our readers live in areas where the weather remains mild, for others, well, the weather isn't precisely patio weather — without a proper heating solution anyway. Patio heaters and fire pits are among our favorite subtle solutions, but chimneys and fireplaces are also great options!
While you are creating hosting & new holiday traditions by hosting outdoors this year, that doesn't mean every tradition has to go! Bring your favorite football TV out with you with an outdoor TV that suits your space. The operative word here is “outdoor” — these TVs are built specifically to handle the elements, which may be fairly harsh this time of year, depending on where you call home.
The need for proper seating is another thing that won't change about your parties this year. You’ll also need outdoor seating sets for the rest of the day, especially for dads and uncles dozing in front of the TV. For a more casual atmosphere, you may opt for bar stools, a party bar or cocktail station, or a firepit conversation set. Check out the Grillnetics blog for more information on heating your outdoor patio.
Just because the meal is over, doesn’t mean the night is. Carving out a plan for clean-up will make your job easier, and make sure you can spend your time enjoying an evening with your guests. Don’t leave visitors to fend for themselves while you’re busy tidying up. Set up a spot for guests to gather and relax over after-dinner drinks until you can join them.
Cooking LUNCH & DINNER In Your Outdoor Kitchen
Are you cooking your meals or the holiday turkey outdoors? Absolutely. You’ll get an excuse to be outside and add the unique smokey flavor that outdoor cooking is known for. Let’s start with the main course.
You can prepare your offerings and even a whole turkey using your grill or smoker, as long as it fits (and is thawed out). To grill a turkey, you’ll want to add oil to the grate and sear the top of the breast first. Then transfer the turkey to an aluminum roasting pan, add water and your favorite seasoning, cover with foil, and grill with the cover down for 3 to 4 hours.
- First, you’ll want to preheat your grill. You can prepare your grilled items while you wait, or do so beforehand.
- Next, it's grill time. Place your items on the grill based on the time it will take to cook. The chicken will take longer than salmon, for example.
What's a Grillnetics dinner without sides? You can easily incorporate your favorite sides into your outdoor grilling area. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Grilled corn on the cob w/ butter
- Grilled butternut squash
- Roasted sweet potatoes (either cooked in foil or grilled as wedges)
- Roasted white potatoes
And if you have a good quality cast-iron pan, you can even cook vegetables!
Bonus: 4 Tips for HOSTING during covid-19
Per the CDC, outdoor gatherings may help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, so if you needed another reason to host outdoors this year, there it is! Good thing you're already going down that path, or you wouldn't be reading this. That said, there is more you can do to keep your guests safe this year, which we've listed below:
How to safely host during COVID-19:
It's a good idea to look up local and state guidelines regarding the permitted size of gatherings in your area. Those recommended numbers, in addition to the size of your outdoor space, set the bar for how many people you should invite.
Basic sanitation will go a long way in keeping your guests safe. Offer guests their choice of sanitation products like hand sanitizer, gloves, tissues, disinfectant wipes, and no-touch trash cans.
No more cramming as many people as you can around the dining room table — save some room, both for guests and for seconds. Place chairs and tables at least 6 feet apart.
If nothing else, one of the benefits that have come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we've gotten a lot better at keeping in touch with loved ones over distance. If you live nearby, safely prepare and deliver a contactless dinner to your elderly or immunocompromised family members.
For those farther away, offer them a virtual seat at the table so it feels like they're really there. When they can finally attend your outdoor Thanksgiving dinners in person, they'll be able to enjoy the new tradition you've created this year.