August is already here & before the kids go back to school, and the days become shorter now is the best time of the year for a beach BBQ in the sun! Barbequing is one of my favorite family pastimes, so I have gathered some ideas for where to go, nibbles to bring along and other tips to help make your day in the sun that much easier to plan.
There are many advantages in hosting a beach BBQ. There is no house cleaning required before or after the meal and neighbors can’t complain about the noise. It’s cheaper than a restaurant, you can choose the location, and there is plenty of space for large parties! You’ll never worry about kids being bored and most importantly, instead of just a meal, it becomes a special occasion!
To BBQ the Caruso way there has to be a theme. Having a theme is fun idea to spice up your BBQ. For example a Hawaiian luau them or 80s theme will make it an event that will be remembered for years to come!
There are plenty of beaches in Santa Barbara that provide BBQ pits and picnic benches. Try heading to Goleta Beach, Arroyo Burro, Shoreline Park and Ledbetter Beach or further north to El Capitan State Beach and Refugio State Beach. Downey State Beach in and Capistrano Beach in Dana Point are also BBQ pit locations. Further south in San Clemente you have North Beach & T-Street. Many locations require reservations, so make sure to call ahead of your planned day. Many of the campgrounds may be full throughout the summer but day use is usually available. Also, Refugio and El Capitan charge for parking or day use, so remember to bring cash. Most of other beaches in the region do not allow fires or BBQ pits, so make sure you are at a beach that is designated for this fun summer ritual.
If you are the first timer when it comes to BBQ’s don’t worry, it’s easy. The first mistake to avoid is starting the coals right when everyone is hungry. Instead, plan on lighting the coals at least 40 minutes before you want to serve your meal. There are three steps to preparing your coals. First, arrange coals in a pile in the pit and douse with lighter fluid. Second, light the charcoal and then let them sit for 30 minutes. Finally, when the coal has turned ashen color, level out the pile to an even layer in the pit, and you are ready to cool!
A more flavorful way to BBQ is to use mesquite wood instead of charcoal. Mesquite is ideal for barbequing, is just as easy to light and provides an exquisite smokey flavor. Remember to avoid starting a fire when it is windy. High winds can carry burning embers for miles throughout our fire prone area. Don’t forget to pour water over the coals when you have finished.
Managing the menu can be easy too. Try some of these tips to make your BBQ run a little smoother.
-Get a head start on the prep work by making some things the day before so that you have more time to enjoy the beach on the day of your BBQ. For example make potato salad the day before and refrigerate. Also, try marinating your meat overnight or a few hours before you BBQ, along with pre-made vegetable kebabs, which should be marinated separately and cook quickly.
-Make your BBQ an eco-friendly one by using re-usable plate’s, cups and utensils instead of disposable plastic or paper products. Also try using washable cloth napkins instead of paper napkins or towels.
-For a fun way to service lemonade, make it the day before and then use cleaned mason jars to transport. It’s a fun way to supply single serve beverages, it’s environmentally responsible and it has a cool vintage look!
-Use water bottles twice! First freeze water in them and use as ice packs in coolers. Then enjoy them later when thawed on a hot day at the beach.
-Short on time? Here’s a little trick; chop up three avocados, add 4 tablespoons of salsa, a few squeezes of lime, mix and voila! Instant guacamole!
Still feeling uneasy? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Suggest that some of your friends bring certain categories, like beverages or side dishes, potluck style. While you are cooking it is helpful to have someone else preparing things like salsa or laying out burger fixings, so appoint someone second-in-command for your beach BBQ.
Very Important; Do not forget to clean up after yourself! Pack all of your trash and dispose in appropriate receptacles (don’t forget to recycle). You and your friends appreciate when a picnic bench isn’t covered in sticky ketchup and attracting flies, so return the favor to the guests who come after you!
So get out there! Soak up the sun with friends and family while supplying great food and entertainment for all to enjoy! And that’s how your BBQ the Caruso way!
And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.
Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI
Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900