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How To Throw an Indoor Cookout

Growing up, my parents were always hosting things at our house, from book clubs and studies all the way to swim parties and cookouts. That being said, I’ve had years of experience in hosting large groups of people; how to properly set the perfect buffet, how to fan napkins…you know, the essentials.

I also learned how to improvise and make do when things don’t quite go as planned—like when you’re planning to throw a backyard barbecue on the same day your town ends up getting record rains. With the 4th of July right around the corner, I felt it my duty to give you some expert tips on how to throw an indoor cookout, just in case your patriotic bash has to move indoors this year. 

Shop Smart

This tip rings true whether your barbecue is indoors or outdoors. Shopping for a barbecue can get expensive, especially when you’re on a tight budget. I recommend buying in bulk from Sam’s Club to make sure you’re getting the best deal and the best quality—especially on your meat. While you’re there, you can grab utensils, items for sides, and pretty much everything in between.

Set Up Stations

Designate areas in your kitchen or around your main living space as stations—a drink station with cups and ice, an appetizer station with small plates and any bite-size snacks you have, a grilling station (i.e. your stovetop) where you’re making the magic happen, and so on. This will help keep any one spot of your house from becoming too crowded.

For an extra festive touch, try making these 9 kebab recipes in your oven! 

Get Galvanized

Repeat after me: galvanized tubs. A good galvanized metal tub is a must-have for any host. They’re perfect for holding lots of ice and drinks indoors or out! Just grab a bag of ice, fill up your tub, and put an assortment of drinks inside so people can just grab what they’d like! Just be sure to keep it on a surface that won’t succumb to water damage if it condensates, or put down towels beneath it to soak up any water.

Use That Cast Iron

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is key to giving your meat that fresh-off-the-grill, smoky taste! If you’re in a crunch for time, just char your meat on your cast iron then finish cooking it all the way through in the oven! Fair warning: Cooking with your cast iron can make things a little bit smoky, so be sure to crack a window or turn on your oven fan!

Don’t Skimp on Games

If you had big plans for people to enjoy bean bag toss or ladder toss, have no fear! You can still make it happen indoors. Just move some furniture aside and relocate any valuable or fragile items, because nothing would be worse than your neighbor taking out your grandmother’s vase with her beanbag.

If you don’t have enough space for games like these, never underestimate the power of a good board game.

S’mores Galore

Another cookout classic? The s’more. As a year-round s’more craver, I have found more than one way to make a s’more without an open flame. I love this easy oven s’mores recipe—just fill up a pan with s’mores for all of your guests, bake, and serve!

*My s’more pro-tip: Put out an assortment of chocolate bars with different flavor combinations for people to choose from. If you haven’t had a s’more using peanut butter chocolate or caramel chocolate, you’re seriously missing out.

A Perfect Playlist

Never underestimate the power of a good playlist! Put together a mix of your favorite songs-for-summer to help keep the vibe up and grab a wireless speaker that you can set up somewhere out of the way where it won’t be too loud or overpowering.

Lighting On Point

Can we all agree that using string lights beyond Christmas is the best thing ever? Grab some string lights at Sam’s Club and some lanterns that you can put in the main areas for a festive ambiance (and an artsy pic for your Insta-story). Plus, you can move them outside and use them there afterward!

Don’t let weather (or lack of a backyard) stop you from throwing an amazing barbecue…but maybe leave the tiki torches outside.