Graphic by Michelle Nelson
Graphic by Michelle Nelson

Getting together with family and friends for a barbecue will allow you to enjoy the outdoors without heating up the house. Here are few tips, tricks and recipes to make your cook-out spectacular and cheap.

So, you’ve picked the day and invited all the guests, now what? Let’s take care of the basics. Break out the grill, get it all cleaned up and head to Wal-Mart for the best prices on charcoal or propane, all your paper goods and eating utensils.

Next, decide what to cook. Many of the grocery stores in the area have weekly ads available in person and online, along with various coupons to maximize your party and minimize your costs.

A trick here is to see what main dish items, like meats, are on sale and plan your barbecue around them.

Currently, the Smith’s Food and Drug weekly ad has boneless pork loin roasts on sale for $1.99 per pound. It’s time to fire up that grill with a honey-grilled pork loin recipe.

Using ingredients found in most pantries, like honey, brown sugar and soy sauce, this recipe is sure to leave all of your guests salivating for more without breaking the bank.

Now that you have your main dish figured out, you can tackle all the sides, appetizers and desserts. Fruit is an easy and convenient appetizer or just something light to snack on while the real food is cooking.

A variety of fresh fruit is on sale weekly at all the local grocery stores. For example, Smith’s also has cantaloupe on sale for $.39 per pound and 16 ounce blueberries or strawberries for $2.99.

A classic staple in every barbecue is your salad. Not your mom’s typical green salad but that heavenly, carb-filled pasta or potato salad—pasta and potatoes are always cheap and tasty.

Basic ingredients for potato salads are also commonly found in most refrigerators: mayonnaise, mustard and pickles/pickle juice.

Before we get to desserts, something to drink would be great. Lemonades offer a classic taste that can be enjoyed virgin or alcoholic by everyone. The trick with creating a lemonade for your barbecue is using some of the sweeter fruit you cut up earlier to flavor your lemonade.

Any easy-to-make and delicious-to-eat dessert recipe will always be a keeper. For example, a poke-cake has all the right ingredients to top off the barbecue. A poke-cake is basically a regular white or box cake mix that is baked, poked with holes and then filled with Jell-O topped off with a light whipped cream or cool whip with fresh fruit optional.

Now you have all the tips and information you need to lay the ground work for your barbecue bash.

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