It’s July and, in honor of the traditional summer break, Masiello Employment is playing hooky from covering work-related topics this week and adding another chapter to our Guide to Summer. In this edition, we share tips for a favorite warm-weather activity: the BBQ Party!

If you’re hosting a BBQ Party:

Think Fire Safety—Remember, a barbecue party is delicious fun, but it invites fire into your backyard or porch. Grills cause thousands of fires every year, resulting in injuries, deaths and property damage. Have a fire extinguisher close by, and ensure someone always keeps an eye on the flames.

Think Food Safety—It’s fun to cook outside, but food is often handled differently than it is in a kitchen. For instance, hamburger patties that would have gone directly from the fridge to the pan inside are sitting on a plate in the sun before it’s their turn on the grill. That’s prime breeding ground for bacteria! Keep perishables refrigerated or on ice until use—and put leftover items right into the fridge.

Make Your Own Sauce—Jarred BBQ sauce might be convenient, but you’re paying a price for efficiency with unwanted items like sky-high amounts of sodium and sugar, not to mention preservatives. Experiment with different recipes like this one to find a sauce you like best.

Stay Hydrated—Odds are, it’s a sweltering hot day and, if you’re the grill-master, you’re standing next to a sweltering hot grill, so remember to stay hydrated with lots of water. You might even want to keep a cooler of ice-cold bottled water near the grill, just for you. Remember to provide adequate refreshment for your guests as well.

Include Options—It’s probably safe to assume that at least one of your guests probably doesn’t eat meat or gluten, so plan ahead by having items like vegan burgers and gluten-free buns on hand. Keep an open mind—there are lots of delicious plant-based meat substitutes and gluten-free products on the market (we included links that review some of the best). Bonus points if you have a dedicated, veg-only part of the grill and a gluten-free prep area; and check all ingredients, like marinades, for lurking gluten and animal products. 

Stay Smoke-Free—If you’re the grill-master, try to avoid inhaling smoke from the flames. That might mean dancing around the grill in response to the wind’s direction, but it’s worth it to keep fresh air in your lungs. Consider setting up a small outdoor fan to blow the smoke away from you and your guests.

If you’re attending a BBQ party:

Bring a Gift—If you’ve been invited to a BBQ at someone’s house, be sure to thank them for their generosity with some type of gift, especially one that speaks to the occasion, like a new grill spatula.

Come Prepared—If you require a gluten-free hamburger bun or a veggie burger, don’t assume your host will have what you need. Instead, arrive with a stash of your essentials, and bring enough to share with others who may eat like you, or may be tempted to try something new.

Offer to Help—A BBQ party is seen as a casual, low-key event, but it takes a lot of effort to look that effortless. So ask your host if he or she needs any help, from chopping vegetables for a side salad to passing out perfectly cooked burgers, and continue to ask until the grill is turned off and the last paper plate is tossed into the recycle bin. 

Think “Sun”—BBQ food is usually made and served outside, so remember to wear sunscreen, and bring extra to reapply as often as is suggested on the packaging. To boost your sun safety, wear a brimmed hat and sit in a shaded spot whenever possible.

Stay Hydrated—Drink lots and lots of water, and shy away from the standard alcoholic beverages or caffeinated drinks, which can be dehydrating, a potential problem on a hot day.

If You Drink Alcohol, Drink Responsibly—When you drink alcohol on a hot day, you’ll feel the effects much quicker than you would otherwise (thanks to all that sweating), so be sure to designate a driver for the ride home. Also, drink several glasses of water in between each glass of wine, bottle of beer, or cocktail you consume.

Here’s one last (work-related) tip to keep in mind for hosts and guests alike:

Be Social-Media Savvy—Whether you’re employed or searching for a job, present yourself in your best light when posting online. Current and potential employers may review social media outlets, so hide or remove any photos or postings that show you in a less-than-flattering light, say with a hamburger in your mouth and a beer in each hand, standing on your head.

From all of us at Masiello Employment: Have a happy and safe summer!