Everyone loves a backyard BBQ, but being the hostess with the mostess can put a serious dent in your monthly budget. That doesn’t mean that you have to hang up those BBQ tongs entirely though. Here are some ideas on how to
The meat question
There is nothing quite as tasty as a good steak or burger fresh off the grill, but you can easily go through your budget on the meat all by itself.
Who says meat has to be the main dish? Consider fish, or if you must have meat, select less pricey cuts like flank steak which is quite lovely when marinated. Chicken legs are cheaper than chicken breasts as well. Rely on the tried and true hot dogs and burgers, but offer some interesting condiments (like artisan cheese or homemade fruit salsas) to make them special.
Be pot lucky
People are more than happy to supply whatever you ask when you’re hosting an event. Take people up on their kind offer by assigning dishes and sharing the cost and the work.
Alternatively, take on all the sides, and have guests bring whatever they’d like to grill.
Besides the meat, the greatest cost at any party? The booze. Have guests BYOB and offer a selection of non-alcoholic bevvies for the teetotallers and the designated drivers.
Plan your party
Just like you plan your weekly meals to keep costs down through thrifty menu planning, so should you do the same when it comes to planning a BBQ.
Keep your guest list small and make sure that you ask guests to RSVP well in advance. This helps you to adequately prepare (not over prepare), which means less waste (which of course helps you keep on budget).
DIY Marinades and Rubs
Don’t go to the grocery store and spend oodles of money on marinades and rubs. They take the sum total of about 30 seconds to make, are usually lower in sodium when you make your own and are way cheaper than those in a flashy bottle.
Try this marinade. Mix 1 cup olive oil with 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar. Add a tablespoon of freshly chopped thyme and a generous amount of chopped garlic. Coat meat in a plastic bag and marinate for a few hours, or overnight.