Why a quarantine bbq? Spring was early this year in 2020. It doesn’t seem that way with what feels like the world completely shutting down, but it did. Spring. A time of allergies, rain, and for some a muddy lawn from snow melt. But have faith! Spring also means, for all of us not fortunate to live in a warm climate, grilling season! (Those guys get to do it all year round. Not like we are jealous or anything.)
Grilling may just be the perfect way to soak in some Vitamin D. Escape the family…we mean get outside. Kidding aside grilling can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. If you aren’t with your family have your fellow quarantine-mates join in. This doesn’t have to be another meal. It can be an experience We have a few tips to help make an at home or quarantined BBQ.
Tip #1 Make A Quarantine BBQ a Big Deal
Unless you’re trying to prove your jeans still fit, when was the last time you put on pants? Not saying you must put on pants. However, an event to put on pants might be a welcome addition to the work-from-home chaos. Maybe it’s an evite, maybe it’s a cursive love letter to your spouse. Doesn’t have to be either extreme. But setting a time for dinner and preparation will make it feel less like just dinner.
Tip #2 Everyone Cooks
You’ll want to make sure everyone is invested in this quarantine bbq shebang. So, everyone must bring something to the table. Think of it as a family potluck. If you don’t have many people you are quarantine/self-isolating with, double up. Appetizers, sides, and desserts should ensure enough to go around. Some younger kids may get a free pass but have them cook with you. For older kids, there are many great resources and recipes for our younger chef friends.
Tip # 3 Try a Recipe You’ve Always Wanted To
They say this is the time to do all those things you’ve always wanted to! Why not try that appetizer you’ve always wanted to make? Want to try bread-making? How about a new dessert? Of course, this is all subject to what’s available at the grocery store. If your goal was to try a better steak or chop check out our store. Try something new. It will make it more memorable. Especially if it turns into “Remember when we made…”
Tip #4 Turn this into a Teaching Moment
Find parts of your meal that you can explain where food comes from to your kids. Whether that be a science lesson in how plants grow, or a business lesson in supply chain logistics. If you haven’t taught your age-appropriate kids how to grill, this may be a great time! For the younger ones, teach grill safety. Don’t make it complicated, but a little research and you may not have to get fired for drinking on the job. If you don’t have kids or someone else to teach, use this as a time to find responsibly sourced food or local options. Remember to take notes of your research so you can find them again. See you can even learn something with a quarantine bbq!
Tip #5 Eat Outside if You Can
Whether you have a table for eight outside or just an old blanket, try to eat outside. This creates a reason to sit in your backyard or at a socially responsible distance at a park (if it’s allowed by your state at this time). It may also be a good time to get lawn furniture out of storage. Create a game to see who can dust off the furniture the fastest. Get creative so it’s not another chore.
Tip #6 Set the Table
We aren’t saying paper plates aren’t allowed. However, create an experience. You may have eaten off the tray table in front of the TV one too many times this week. Making an intentional place for your family or fellow quarantine-mates will convey the importance. Get the kids involved and have them make a craft for the center piece. Or maybe crafting is your jam. Just another opportunity to show it off.
Tip #7 Play the Phone Game
Put all electronic devices away. The first one to reach for it does the dishes. You may have spent more time with your family then you have in a long time. Yet you have also spent more time with a screen too. Take a moment to be distraction free with them while having a great meal you all prepared together.
Tip #8 Have Some “Ice-Breakers” at the Ready
It would be easy to slip into a non-conducive conversation. “When is this pandemic going to end?” “My co-worker wouldn’t stop barking today.” “No one actually knows video-conferencing etiquette like poor Jen.” Not exactly the ambience we are going for. When you catch yourself or your fellow BBQers going down the rabbit hole, stop. Have a stockpile of questions. “What is a dream you’ve yet to accomplish?” “What’s a book you read that changed your perspective?” Some simple ones may be good to ask too. You may be surprised how long it’s been since you checked in. In our family, the “kids” are almost twenty-five and twenty-one. We’ve been able to “break the ice” with some games. Don’t judge, but Cards Against Humanity and If You Had To… brought up some interesting conversation and a lot of laughs. Both games, and many more, are available at stores like Target.
Tip #9 Yard Games Anyone?
There are a ton of things you could do in your backyard for games. It’s not necessary to do this. However, a lot of BBQs before this craziness consisted of corn hole. Or games like bocce where you could hold a drink while playing. All those people must have been on to something. If you’re not into that, perhaps try a new cocktail. We’ve also used our streaming device and hooked it up to a TV outside. Netflix viewing party anyone? If you have a fire pit and are legally able to have a fire in your city, another great option. Also, smore’s is pretty much always a great option. Even one of these activities will help this feel more like event than just dinner.
Tip #10 Have Fun
Yes. This is the cliché last tip of “have fun”. Perhaps this is the most important tip of all. This is a messed-up time for all of us. We aren’t above needing a distraction from time to time. As we’ve heard from many of you, there aren’t sports to distract us. We can’t go do much of anything in our normal lives. So, it really is up to us to make our own fun. Who knows, it may even become a tradition. Or you may just hope we stop living like this real soon and we would be with you there too.
We hope you found these tips helpful in creating an event to look forward to with your family. We’ve got your back with great meat for the grill too! Quarantine BBQ has never tasted this good.
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