Make Your Next Barbecue the Best Ever with These 36 Clever Hacks. Your Guests Will Wonder How You Did It.

We’re only a few weeks away from Memorial Day, and you know what that means— the start of summer! What are you looking forward to doing the most? While we of course love the warm weather, dips in the pool and family vacations, our favorite thing has to be getting together with friends and loved ones as often as possible for fun backyard barbecues! After all, what’s better than gathering everybody together for great food and fun? If you want to take those cook-outs to the next level, than you have come to the right place! After getting inspired by a list of summer tricks from AWM, we decided to gather up all the tips, tricks and hacks we knew to take a backyard gathering from basic to fabulous— all without too much extra work or money! Read on for our best ideas and make this summer the best one yet.

CoolerAirConditionerforListdesertsun02
    1. When those high temps hit, you need to cool off any way you can. Transform an old cooler into a DIY, energy-efficient air cooler that’ll leave your guests refreshed and grateful.

RusticCoolerforListJeff Patterson
    1. Don’t have a cooler for your beverages, much less one to turn into an A/C? Make your own out of old pallets for a rustic look that makes cooling off your drinks part of the décor.

floatingcooler1 Croppedmacgeek
    1. Throwing a pool party? Make it so your guests don’t even have to get out of the pool for a refill with this floating cooler that only costs a few dollars to make.

Simple Beer Cool BoxDaveHax
    1. A regular cooler too cumbersome for you? Try this lazy, easy-to-make “cool box” instead that’s also a clever recycling project.

WagonCoolerforListAWM
    1. Even easier? Throw drinks and ice in a wagon for a cooler you can easily move around to all your guests.

Holding a Spray BottleMarc Dietrich via Dollar Photo Club
    1. Your guests don’t have to choke on artificial fumes to keep insects from joining the party. This homemade spray is made from just boiling water, lemon, and rosemary.

mason_mosquito_jar_horizontal_cropRay @ TipHero
    1. Not so much a fan of spraying bug repellant on yourself and your clothes, no matter how natural? Use that lemon-rosemary combination in a mason jar for an atmospheric repellant your guests will love to smell.

candleAdventurely
    1. Citronella candles are the classic mosquito-repeller, and you can save your guests from stings by making some pretty ones yourself.

Nonstick Grill HackJohnsonInc999
    1. Nothing ruins a barbecue faster than food bits left behind on the grill when they should be on people’s plates. Luckily, it’s easy to turn your grill nonstick. You just need a potato!

OnionPrimingforListAWM
    1. Don’t have a potato handy? Grab an onion instead! Not only will it render your grill less-sticky, it’ll add some extra flavor to your burgers.

grill onion cleanThe Kitchn
    1. Forgot to nonstick your grill and now you’ve got a mess? No fear! Grab that onion again for fast, easy clean-up.

Dirty Barbecue Grilltwinschoice via Dollar Photo Club
    1. That onion didn’t do the trick? If your grill’s more of an intense mess, here’s how to get rid of it without wasting time scrubbing.

WoodPelletsforGasGrillAmerica’s Test Kitchen
    1. Your friends won’t believe you didn’t cook your food over a wood-fired grill when you use this full-proof trick.

lemon grillTesco Food and Wine
    1. Go beyond basic hot dogs and hamburgers, and add some fish to your feast! When you cook it with this lemon trick, you not only get incredible flavor, you also don’t have to deal with fish flaking off and sticking to the grill. And while you’re at it . . .

grill_avocadoFinger Fork Knife
    1. . . . try some more unexpected grilled foods! Sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, pound cake, quesadillas, watermelon, peaches, avocados, meatballs, French toast and more will take your party menu to the next level.

SpiralCutHotDogsChow
    1. Want to stick to more traditional fare? Give your hot dogs a flavor boost by spiral cutting them for even cooking . . .

FirecrackerHotDogsPOPSUGAR Food
    1. . . . or make them perfectly festive for the Fourth of July.

Bacon-WrappedHotDogsThe Backyard BBQ Show – BBQFOOD4U
    1. Of course, you also can’t go wrong by wrapping your hot dogs in bacon and stuffing them with cheese and spices.
burgerFood & Wine
    1. Everybody will be happy with – and impressed by – these perfectly-shaped burgers.

ripe4Waterfront Hy-Vee
    1. Don’t lug those watermelons home before using this trick to make sure they’re ripe.

SkinnedWatermelonMark Rober
    1. This trick will blow your guests’ minds!

watermelon_grillShe Knows
    1. How perfect is this edible centerpiece?! It’s pretty easy to make, too. Get the step-by-step instructions

here

    1. .

watermelonkegFlavCity With Bobby Parrish
    1. Whether you use it for a kid-friendly beverage or something spiked, your guests will get a kick out of this idea!

watermelon juiceJ. Pereira – Art Carving
    1. You might want to make this one in front of your guests; it’s that impressive. Grab a hand blender and turn it into a show.

WatermelonTeaforListFoodLifeHacks
    1. This fun trick uses every part of the watermelon. You can do it with other fruits, too!

WatermelonSmoothieforListMark Rober
    1. Another refreshing beverage that’s as fun to make as it is to serve and drink. You make this one with a hand drill and a coat hanger, of all things!

Watermelon Icerockvillephoto via Dollar Photo Club
    1. Don’t limit yourself to regular ice! Use watermelon for ice that’s even more refreshing, cooling and flavorful.

UltimateSummerWineCoolerThe Kitchn
    1. Prefer your ice to be a little more adult? Put the wine back in wine cooler for beverages you guests will adore.

tinDian Thomas
    1. Need more grilling space or just don’t have one at all? Hack a tin can to get in on the grilling action . . .

clay_grillHouseholdHacker
    1. . . . or transform a flower pot for a more decorative version.

grilled pineappleKris Larkin Dot Com
    1. Grilled fruit is the ultimate barbecue dessert. Want to make it even better? Use cinnamon sticks as skewers!

  • Serve condiments in a muffin tin.
MuffinTinCondimentsforListAWM
    1. You know we love a

multitasking muffin tin

    1. , and using one for condiments is one of the best ways to cut down on cook-out mess.

TinFoilBBQSauceAWM
    1. Not only does the tin foil bowl make this possible, you don’t have to clean it afterwards!

JarSaladAWM
    1. Serving salad can get unnecessarily messy AND attract bugs. Solve both problems and make things pretty by serving it in decorative jars.

CleanBBQForListAWM
    1. Make stations to corral dirty dishes and catch sticky fingers before both cause indoor havoc.

CoolerCornforListAWM
    You might also know this trick as “redneck cooler corn,” but whatever you call it, it’s a fast and efficient way to make a ton of corn-on-the-cob at once for hungry crowds.

We feel absolutely ready for any barbecue occasion now! This summer is going to be awesome. Which tips are your favorites? Are you feeling more prepared now? Then you’re ready for the next step— deciding on your menu! Be sure to check out THESE lists for all your summer cook-out needs: