Grill up a perfect summer party with these tips | AspenTimes.com
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Grill up a perfect summer party with these tips

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Do you dream of the smell of smoking charcoal briquettes on a hot summer evening? Do you fantasize all winter long about shiny new barbecue tools and the zesty taste of barbecue sauce? As the last of the snow on Aspen Mountain melts away, do you find yourself craving grilled steaks, ribs, burgers, chicken or hot dogs?

If so, what better way to enjoy the start of the summer season than by firing up the grill with a few good friends. There are a few essentials to hosting the perfect backyard barbecue; first and foremost is the grill itself. Each grill-master has their own preference, but the main choice is between gas and charcoal. Both options have their pros and cons, but in the end it is a matter of taste and convenience: Gas heats up quicker and more evenly, whereas charcoal adds smoky flavor. In our backyard, there are two added benefits to using a charcoal grill. First, it is small and fits better in our cramped backyard, allowing more room for friends. Second, and more important, after the meal, as the coals begin to cool, the grill makes for perfectly toasted s’mores.

The next step to creating the ideal backyard soiree is ambiance. The first thing you need is lights. Tiki torches add a nice touch but pose a minor fire hazard, so we’ve opted for electric lights covered by colored lanterns. Strung across our deck, they offer soft, colorful light as well as atmosphere. For additional lighting (we wouldn’t want anyone running into things or falling off the deck), we’ve strung several strands of white Christmas lights along the fence. And last, but not least, for additional seating and backyard barbecue enjoyment, we’ve hung a hammock across one side of the deck. All we need beyond that is good food and good friends, and we’ve got the perfect backyard barbecue.


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