Grilled corn, asparagus and kabobs for barbecue

Memorial Day is just around the corner so it’s time to buckle down and put your plan in motion. Oh, you don’t have a plan yet? No worries! Ebates to the rescue! Our guide to cookout essentials will help you through your extended weekend plans, as well as all of your summer barbecue bashes.

The Prep

Preparation is key to ensure your cookout goes off without a hitch. Make sure you get all of the supplies you’ll need in advance so you’re not scrambling on the day of. If you need additional seating, ask guests to bring chairs. Grab plenty of disposable dishes and cutlery from Sam’s Club to accommodate your guests. You’ll also need a cookout tray or two to serve your dishes and all of the appropriate serving utensils. Decorate with red, white, and blue pops of color like these festive glitter stars!

Most importantly, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need for your grill. BBQ essentials include tongs, a grill spatula, a grilling fork, a basting brush and of course potholders. A digital meat thermometer from Bed Bath and Beyond will ensure your entrees are cooked to perfection. Make sure you have plenty of charcoal or propane for your grill because the last thing you want is to run out of fuel to keep the grill going!

Overhead shot of side dishes for barbecueThe Cookout Menu

Food and fun are the central themes so make sure there’s plenty for everyone. Hot dogs, burgers and bratwursts are common staples for the cookout menu, but don’t be afraid to offer more diverse alternatives as well. Kabobs, barbecue ribs and chicken wings venture away from the meat and bun standards but are fan favorites at any gathering.

Of course, the entrees aren’t all your guests will be talking about with the spectacular cookout side dishes you’ll prepare. You can’t go wrong with crowd pleasers like potato salad, mac and cheese, baked beans and coleslaw. While delicious, these well-loved dishes aren’t known to be particularly healthy so a fresh salad and grilled zucchini can help round out your menu so there are plenty of options.

No Memorial Day cookout is complete without an assortment of refreshments. Mix up a batch of punch for everyone to enjoy. Lemonade and fresh-brewed iced tea (thanks to your Mr. Coffee iced tea maker) are great options for gatherings or you can stick with standard carbonated beverages from the can. For the adults, beer and sangria are sure to be enjoyed by those who imbibe. Whatever you do, make sure there’s plenty of ice for all the drinks.

While the grill master is busy creating culinary perfection, set out appetizers for your guests to snack on. Veggies and dip or crackers and cheese will keep people occupied during the grilling process.

You’ll also want some dessert options for your attendees. A light and summery fruit salad is a great end to a cookout feast or you can aim for something on the sweeter side and get some dipped treats or cookies from Shari’s Berries. Gelatin, brownies, pies, rice crispy treats and s’mores are fun ways to round out the meal as well!

Badminton rackets and birdie on grassThe Entertainment

Naturally, the food isn’t the only reason to gather. Outdoor games like horseshoes, croquet, bean bag toss and badminton will keep adults and older kids entertained and enjoying each other’s company. If you have younger children in attendance, items such as chalk, bubbles, jump ropes and even water balloons will encourage plenty of giggles from your pint-sized guests. A Bluetooth speaker can fill the space with the perfect music for your crowd and help you earn additional Cash Back with Ebates. Just create a playlist then sit back and enjoy the ambiance.

Young friends having a pillow fight in the backyard at nightThe After Party

Just because everyone is well fed and the sun is setting, doesn’t mean the good times have to end. Light up a gorgeous fire pit and illuminate the area with mood-setting string lights or paper lanterns. With a promo code, you can get a great deal on citronella torches that can alleviate any pesky mosquitos while adding additional lighting. Walmart offers a variety of styles and options to meet the needs for your outdoor space.

The Bonuses

It’s best to be overly prepared for cookout essentials that your guests may forget. Items such as bug spray and sunscreen are vital for any outdoor gathering, but in the rush of things your guests may forget. If your space is particularly sunny, remember to provide shade to keep people cool. On especially hot days, misting fans will keep everyone cool, while providing additional entertainment for the kids.

When it’s all said and done, don’t be so frazzled with the details that you forget to enjoy yourself. You’ll be surrounded by loved ones with (hopefully) great weather and plenty to do and to eat. Whether it’s a small get together or a major event, gather your friends and family for what is sure to be a good time for all.



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Briana Hernandez
Briana is a shopaholic whose newest obsession is matching top-and-skirt sets (but she also can’t resist a good jumpsuit). She loves rock music, horror movies and is an all-around pop culture junkie. She is, without fail, always down for karaoke. Her blog, Mamafierce, is a chronicle of personal fashion, body positivity and the adventures of motherhood. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three-year-old son and tortoiseshell cat, Divvy.

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