In this post, we refer to Goals, Simple’s in-app budgeting tool. If you’re a Simple user, you can click on the Goals to set them in your account. If you’re not a Simple user, take a second to read more about Goals.
There’s a certain type of cinematic summer weather that feels like magic. It’s that perfect combination of a cool breeze with the sun twinkling through the trees in the backyard. It feels like anything is possible and adventure is just around the corner.
Harness that feeling and channel it into an epic afternoon BBQ party. Invite a couple of friends over, char some delicious food, and catch up with one another. Here are some Goals to get you started so that you never have to worry about missing out on those fleeting windows of summertime enchantment.
A little grill
For afternoons in the backyard with a couple of your closest friends, a little charcoal grill will do just fine. BBQing your food in several smaller batches rather than in one big batch encourages your favorite people to linger, course after course.
The best grilling conditions are a pyramid of smoldering embers with a gently glowing red core, and that takes time. Budget 25-30 minutes for the coals to light. That’s a good time to start pouring the punch and talk about the glory days over a game of cornhole.
As you shake lighter fluid out onto your briquettes, take a second to silently thank the Grecian hero who, defying Zeus and all of Mount Olympus, risked it all to bring mankind fire. As you light your match and watch the fire swallow your briquettes in a pillar of heat, know that the flame is what makes your food taste so good.
Thanks, Prometheus. Sorry you are chained to the side of a mountain where an eagle eats your liver every day for all eternity.
A signature punch
Most of your friends will likely bring you beer despite your half-hearted protesting, but it can also be nice to have something a little stronger to kickstart the party. And there’s nothing quite like punch to get the job done.
A slightly sweet, cooling punch is a multifaceted wonder-beverage. Serve it up as a post-bocce-ball refresher, like an adult sports drink, and watch people gravitate toward the punch bowl for liquid dessert when they’ve had all the delicious grilled food they can handle.
Whether you’re a meat-eater or prefer seitan to steak, the quality of your raw ingredients is crucial when grilling. Because the radiant heat from the briquettes locks in and enhances the taste of whatever it is you’re making, you’ll want to make sure you’re starting with food that actually has flavor to begin with.
If you splurge anywhere on this list, here’s the place to do it. Go to a butcher shop for your meat, and a local farmer’s market for your veggies. Freshness is key here, because freshness equals flavor.
As an aside for the omnivores, if you’re serious about making the best meats possible, you’ll want to invest in a meat thermometer. It gets up close and personal with your meats, delivering insights into how done they are without any slicing or prodding on your part.
A really nice meat thermometer will run you about $95, which is worth it if you’re cooking meat a lot. For occasional backyard BBQing, you can buy a decent cheap thermometer for around $20. We’ve set the Goal price somewhere in the middle. Adjust to your preference.
At this point in the party, depending on how much punch your friends have had, someone might dare you to flip the meat with your hands. Don’t use your hands.
Instead, use a spatula. It can be tempting to use the spatula a lot, but agitating or flipping the food too frequently can result in poorly cooked food, especially meat.
So flip once, and let it chill. Flip it again, and take it off the grill.
Before you pick up your phone to invite over your friends, please know that all the prices we mention in this post are estimates. Only a select group of people, namely retailers and manufacturers, have control over what things actually cost.