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by Katie Tejada, Guest Writer

The kids might be back in school, the weather might be getting chilly, and the leaves might be slowly turning yellow, but that doesn’t mean that BBQ season is over. In fact, some would say that early fall is the perfect time to throw the ultimate outdoor party!

But what is it that makes a BBQ “the ultimate outdoor party”? Is it the food? The entertainment? The company? Yes, yes, and yes! Here are a few quick tips that will help you throw the kind of cookout the neighbors will rave about for years to come. 

4. Get Good Meat

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There’s a reason why we call cookouts “BBQs”: these parties live or die by the meat you serve. Make sure you purchase some quality meat ahead of time and make sure you’ve got someone nearby who knows how to cook it. Not only will the main course taste better, but you’ll also be able to avoid some major safety hazards!

Of course, you can’t just serve meat at your BBQ (although that does sound like heaven). Make sure you have a few tasty side dishes ready to go along with your cow, pig, or chicken. Even if you’re having a potluck, make sure to prepare at least one side yourself, as this will ensure you have enough for all your guests (and probably leftovers — yum!).

3. Keep That Pool Open

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A lot of folks seem to think that September first is “National Close the Pool Day.” They put on the winter cover, lock the pool fence, and wash their hands of it until May rolls around. But come on, y’all — you know just as well as I do that September can be just as hot as Mid-July.

If you keep the pool open just a little longer this year, you’ll be able to entertain your guests more easily at your cookout. Just make sure you have a designated adult watching the pool at all times; as Anna McCabe of All-Safe Pool says, “The greatest danger someone faces in the pool — whether it’s in-ground or above — is a lack of supervision.”

2. Dress up Your Yard

You usually clean up your house before having any company, right? Well, the same rule applies before having a cookout! Your yard needs to be dressed to impress a crowd. Trim any bushes, pull the weeds in your flower beds, and make sure your lawn is still looking fresh despite the coming autumn. 

If you plan to continue your BBQ well into the night, you’ll need to outfit your yard with appropriate lighting to help set the mood. Consider stringing up some LED fairy lights or adding solar lamps on your patio furniture. These will help your guests hang around even longer and keep the party going.

1. Invite Everyone!

Once you’ve taken all these steps, there’s really only one thing left to do: invite your friends, family, and neighbors to your incredible cookout! If your place looks great, your food is good (and there’s enough of it), and there’s plenty of entertainment, you’re just about guaranteed the perfect backyard BBQ.

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