May 18

5 ways to shake up your summer barbecue

5 ways to shake up your summer barbecue(NC) Every group has one: the friend that always hosts the best parties, the type of nights people talk about for years. This season that friend can be you.

“Most people think that good entertaining takes a lot of hard work and preparation,” says Frank Spadafina, the food product development manager with Walmart. “The reality is that a successful evening is made of up three things: amazing food, a great atmosphere, and good people.”

These five easy tips will shake up your traditional summer barbecue and ensure that every get-together you throw this summer is as memorable as the last:

Toppings bar: Take your guests beyond the customary ketchup and mustard and create a burger toppings bar. Include a selection of fresh ones like avocado, tomato, grilled pineapple, caramelized onions, mixed greens and even bacon. Add different kinds of salsa, and a variety of sauces including the Carolina Barbecue Sauce and the Yogurt Tzatziki Dressing in the Our Finest brand line. Encourage your guests to create their very own custom burgers.

Create a signature drink: Having a fun drink made just for your guests will add a sense of occasion to your get-together and a specialty daiquiri, mojito, or margarita with a rim of pop rocks is a fun option. Garnish with fresh fruit, add an umbrella or serve with special straws for extra brownie points.

Offer options: Don’t stop with burgers. Add an array of mouth-watering options like skewers, sausages, grilled chicken, portabella mushrooms or ribs.

Serve a variety of sides: Go beyond the traditional chopped salad and serve up grilled corn, fresh chickpea salad and pickles. Spadafina suggests a variety of favourite side salads from Walmart, like the Your Fresh Market Cranberry Quinoa Salad, Tuscan Style Bean Salad, and the 3 Cheese Pasta Salad.

Create an experience: Take your get-together to a new level by putting some thought into a great music playlist, grabbing some colourful plates and napkins, and even stringing up some lights. Pick a fun theme for your party and encourage your guests to dress accordingly.

More summer entertaining ideas and recipes can be found online at

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