The days are longer, the weather’s warmer, and it’s backyard cookout time! As you clean up the grill and clean off the patio table also make time to take inventory of your cooking tools to ensure you have everything your need before you next family cookout or backyard party.
To make taking inventory easier, break your list up into two sections: prepping tools and serving tools.
Prep and Cooking Tools
Before you enjoy your outdoor meal, you need to prepare it! Whether you’re cooking the whole thing or make a delicious side to take to the neighbor’s BBQ, there are a few must-have utensils you’ll need.
Pasta salad and potato salad are kings of the cookout sides – and you’ll want to make them in large batches. After you cook your pasta or cubed potatoes, you’ll need a large, sturdy colander to drain and blanch them.
Also keep a small colander on hand for rinsing fresh berries and grapes before tossing them into your summer fruit salad. If you’d rather just put out a beautiful display of fresh fruit, check out these colorful berry baskets from Crisp that can be used for both rinsing and serving.
Complete measuring cup set
We buy sets of measuring cups and spoons with every intention of keeping them clipped together and in one place. But over time, our dedication fades and we inevitably lose a piece or two. As you get ready to try out new warm-weather recipes, you’re going to need all possible sizes of measuring spoons and cups.
Check your current set and if you don’t know where all the pieces are, pick up another cheap measuring cup and spoon set.
The right spatula
When it’s time to flip the food on the grill, you’ll want the right tool for the job. For wide items like burgers or slices of eggplant, having an extra wide spatula makes flipping much easier and helps you turn the food in one fluid motion. For longer items like chicken breasts, tenders or long slices of summer squash and zucchini a longer spatula comes in handy.
Large cutting board
When you need to season a series of steaks or cut a large melon, having an extra-large cutting board is crucial. Choose one with a ridge or raised sides to keep juices from running all over your counter tops. A cutting board with a handle is an extra bonus for carrying your food outside to the grill.
Now that everything’s ready, you need a way to set it out so that it’s easy for everyone to serve themselves. Before you’re scrambling to find extra bowls or enough spoons on party day, stock up on these serving essentials.
When you’re hosting a cookout, you want to make sure all your guests have enough to eat. That typically means plenty of side dishes in large quantities. Since so many cook out sides are served in bowls (pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad, green salad, coleslaw, baked beans, chips, etc.) you need to make sure you have plenty of large serving bowls on hand.
You’ll also want a good number of small- and medium-sized bowls for dips, salsa, guacamole and other smaller sides. Opt for plastic bowls so your bare-footed guests are safe from potentially-broken glass or ceramic.
Plenty of serving utensils
Now that all your dishes have a bowl, you need to make sure you have enough large serving spoons. To accommodate your range of sides, you’ll want to be sure you have a mix of solid spoons, slotted spoons and even some pasta servers.
You’ll also want some flat spatulas or a meat fork so guests can help themselves to entrees and larger dishes. Finally, make sure you have a working pair of salad tongs or a salad fork for serving leafy, green salads.
Having the right prepping, cooking, and serving tools on-hand will make your summer cookout season run much smoother, allowing you to relax and enjoy the nice weather and good company.