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How to Host a Socially Distanced Father’s Day BBQ

There are ways to get together – safely – to celebrate dad

Tracy Block Staff Reporter
Published:
Updated:
6 min read
Stupid Dad Jokes + *NO LAUGH* CHALLENGE = Father’s Day Edition 2020 I You LAUGH You LOSE

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These have been a long and challenging few months, so create a moment that can be remembered for years to come.
- Jacqueline Vazquez, CEO of Lifetime Events by Jacqueline


As we head into Father’s Day celebrations this weekend, many families are craving some barbecue-themed fun – especially those who missed the opportunity to grill and chill this past Memorial Day weekend. According to a Statisa.com report published in 2018, Father’s Day ranks fourth as the most popular barbecue holiday in the US (behind the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, respectively). So, if you are itching for the opportunity to finally fire up the grill with company this weekend, there are extra precautions you should take – even when hosting an outdoor gathering.

Safe & Socially Distanced Planning

If you plan to extend invites to family and friends outside of your home’s designated “pod” this Father’s Day, it is critical to abide by social distancing recommendations, as COVID-19 numbers are on the rise again in several states. 

“The first thing to keep in mind are the safety protocols based on state mandates,” shares Jacqueline Vazquez, CEO of Lifetime Events by Jacqueline. “Every state has different requirements and mandates, so make sure to know what can be done before the planning is finalized. Stay informed – even as the event approaches.” For example, checking the CDC website for daily updates is a helpful tool leading up to the holiday.

When it comes to setting up your outdoor Father’s Day barbecue, Vazquez, who has 20 years of event production experience, recommends creating a checklist to follow, which will ensure you go the extra mile to keep the gathering safe. Vazquez suggests thinking about:

• Guest count: Determine the count and consider the options you can incorporate so that guests don’t feel overly separated from each other.

• Space: Do you have the right amount of space to accommodate your outside guests? If you have a big yard, that doesn’t mean you should invite more people; it means you have more space at your disposal.

• Setup: You can encourage guests to bring their own blankets (to sit picnic style). If you prefer to handle the setup, make sure you seat guests at least 6 feet apart (or more). For instance, a round, 60-inch table should only accommodate 2 people. And, assigned seating with place cards is safer than open seating this year.

• Beverages: Although barbecues are known for coolers brimming with beverages, this time around, it’s best not to encourage your guests to reach into one communal cooler, due to cross-contamination. And, even though a bartender is a fun touch, encouraging your guests to “BYO” is likely a safer bet this year.

• Restrooms: If your home has a restroom with outdoor access, and your party is of a smaller size, you may be able to designate one restroom for your guests, but you must enforce sanitization rules after each use. If you are hosting a large group, consider renting a portable restroom.

• Entertainment: With outside guests, make sure to remove contact sports from the equation. Additionally, a dip in the pool should still take social distancing into account. Cornhole with designated sets of beanbags, some relay races, charades, and even spaced-out line dancing are suitable activities.

Moreover, Vazquez recommends assembling “welcome bags” that include hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, disposable masks, and gloves. You can also include a welcome note with details on how to have a safe and memorable time. Place the welcome bags at each designated place setting to enforce minimal contact. 

To end the event, consider creating a moment where everyone can sit down together (while socially distanced) and reflect. “These have been a long and challenging few months, so create a moment that can be remembered for years to come,” Vazquez says.

How to Safely Cater Your Father’s Day BBQ

Undoubtedly, the most exciting part of any barbecue event is the grilling activity. However, due to the pandemic, some families may be less inclined to cook and share food, in an effort to nix the spread of germs. If the host insists upon helming the grill, make sure a mask and gloves are adorned, which will provide peace of mind for visiting guests.

If your guests would feel more secure bringing their own food options, altogether, encourage them to prepare their own proteins and sides. That way, each pod of guests can rest assured knowing food preparations are in their own hands. 

When planning the menu, keep in mind that warming food items (like burgers, ribs, and chicken wings) can help zap germs, while cooler accompaniments (like coleslaw and fruit salad) are more susceptible to contamination. Pro Tip: Keep cooler items chilled and covered as much as possible.

Semi-Homemade & Shipped BBQ Options

If you are uncomfortable cooking at all, fret not; there are plenty of options at your disposal. For example, Chicago-based The Goddess and Grocer is rolling out summer grill boxes, which offer a semi-homemade barbecue experience. “We created these grill boxes so people can have a relaxed day with family, without worrying about the hustle and bustle of a restaurant or having to cook,” says owner Debbie Sharpe. “Everything they need is right in the box.”

So, what’s in these grill boxes? Designed to feed 2 people, the $60 box features a spinach and artichoke dip appetizer, the choice of 2 sides (which range from chili-lime corn on the cob to Goddess potato salad), 2 marinated, ready-to-grill proteins (like jerked chicken thighs with pineapple salsa and Korean-style flank steak), and cookies for dessert. Still, customers can purchase bartender batched cocktails, like rum punch and strawberry vodka lemonade, as well as extra sides and desserts.

“We have been doing an assortment of prepared family meals and meal boxes, and our guests have responded positively to them all,” says Sharpe of the concept. “We've been inspired by Greek, Mexican, and Asian cuisines, and now BBQ and will continue our travels around the world as we launch different meals and boxes.”

However, if you are not lucky enough to reside in Chicago, the Goldbelly app has you covered. There are plenty of delicious carnivorous alternatives from this convenient foodie portal available for nationwide shipping. For Father’s Day 2020, you can order mouthwatering BBQ items from:

• Kings BBQ in Kinston, North Carolina.

• Peg Leg Porker in Nashville, Tennessee.

• Bludso’s BBQ from Los Angeles, California.

• Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q from Decatur, Alabama.

• Jack Stack BBQ from Kansas City, Missouri.

• Joe’s KC BBQ from Kansas City, Kansas.

• Old 300 BBQ from Blanco Texas.

No matter the catering option you choose, making your guests the top priority should be the main focus this year. “At the end of the day, you want to enjoy the event, but you also want to make sure everyone you invite is safe while at the event – and remains safe when they leave,” concludes Vazquez.

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How to Host a Socially Distanced Father’s Day BBQ

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