The Ultimate Labor Day Cookout Checklist!

The Oper Door Blog

Labor Day is just around the corner, which for many signifies the end of summer, the end of wearing white and of course those big retail blowout sales. But this momentous holiday which celebrates our nation’s workers also provides the perfect excuse for one last summer hurrah!

To ensure your Labor Day cookout is the talk of the town until next year rolls around, we’ve put together a checklist that covers everything. So, get your invites and meat ready, round up your friends and family and end the summer with a bang!

Red, white and blue décor

You might not have to look very far to find yourself some patriotic décor with Memorial Day and the Fourth of July not too far behind us. But if you need to start from scratch, here are a few ideas:

  • First impressions are everything, so make sure there’s an eye-catching décor item at the front of your home, such as this patriotic door wreath that’s surprisingly easy to make and lets everyone know where the party is.
  • Create simple yet elegant centerpieces for your tables. Collect all the mason jars in your home and fill them up with a variety of things, from colorful flowers, flags, cake pops and so on. If you want to up your game, consider this DIY candle comprised of red, white and blue rice and a candle. It’s casual yet elegant and the kids can help make them, too!  
  • For tablecloths, consider creating one out of red, white and blue bandanas, like this one. It’s inexpensive, festive, you can use it year-round and best of all, you don’t need to be a talented seamstress to make it.
  • Additionally, your cookout food can contribute to the décor! For example, this patriotic parfait and Americana Punch recipe ideas will help put the red, white and blue at your cookout.  

Fire up the grill

  • A cookout’s success starts and ends at the grill. Be sure you’ve got a great range of meats for varying tastes: brisket, chicken, ribs, hot dogs, steaks, patties, as well as fish, plenty of vegetables and other options for non-meat eaters.
  • For cleanliness and to avoid food from sticking together, keep the grill clean. Simply scrub a halved onion facing downward on the heated grates to remove the grime and grit.
  • Maintain the grill’s temperature throughout the night and remember – caramelization is key! It’s one of the main reasons why Americans love grilled food. As a general rule for grilling, turn the food just once.
  • Stand out with something special, like a grilled dessert. Delectable fruits such as nectarines and peaches grill beautifully. Plus, you can add a scoop of ice cream or drizzle honey over them and add a dollop of yogurt.

Keep the kids entertained

  • If you can, consider renting a bouncy house for the kids. It’s a great place for the kids to burn off that excess energy after they’ve consumed all the sugary drinks and treats and it keeps them all together and under an easy watch.  
  • Take advantage of the great weather! Roll out the slip-n-slide for the kids to use – just be sure to specify on the invitation for them to bring their trunks and swimsuits!
  • At night, consider setting up a projector in your backyard or retiring the kids to a media room where they can relax.
  • Set up a crafts table where the kids can create stuff. They can even help you out with some of your red, white and blue décor!

Keep everyone cool & comfortable

  • Make room for everyone! Utilize every available space in and outside your home. For example, you can use the lawn for extra seating – layout blankets, pillows and set the scene. It’ll be like picnicking outside your home.
  • Be a good host and have essentials outside of food and beverages, such as sunscreen, extra sunglasses, and party props so they can commemorate your incredible party.
  • Have plenty of ice ready! If you have a kids pool, fill it with ice and put the drinks in there. It’s practical and adds to the vibrant atmosphere.

Follow this checklist and you’ll be on your way to having one of the best cookouts in your neighborhood’s history. Just remember to enjoy it – you’ve put in the work, too! 

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