Every year, millions of boat owners head out on the water for adventure and good times with friends and family members. One of the most common boating activities is preparing and eating food as it’s always delicious, and it’s the perfect excuse to get together.
But after so many barbecues on your boat, you might begin to grow disinterested – or at least aware that the activity has become tedious. How can you spice up your next boat barbecue and make things more exciting or interesting?
How to Improve Your Next Boat Barbecue
These are some of the best strategies you can use to improve your next boat barbecue:
1. Invest in better equipment. Boat grills and cookware come in practically unlimited varieties, allowing you to cook almost anything regardless of your budget. You probably already have a basic setup, but it could always use a few upgrades. Investing in a better grill might allow you to cook different foods or cook your favorite foods more reliably. Investing in better tools could lead to a much more comfortable and efficient experience. And no matter what, you’ll get to show off your new toys to the people who attend your barbecue.
2. Double down on the prep work. One of the best ways to make barbecuing easier is to double down on the prep work. Instead of trying to do everything in one day, divide your effort and spend some hours preparing your food the day before. This will save you time, lower your stress, and allow you to focus more on the fun aspects of barbecuing the day you head out on your boat. Additionally, it gives you a chance to marinate your meats, giving them even more flavor the next day.
3. Add appetizers and desserts. Hamburgers and hot dogs are great, but they don’t make for much of a meal on their own. That’s why it’s a good idea to add appetizers and desserts, so you can frame your meal with more interesting side dishes. Consider roasted vegetables, interesting salads, mini sliders, and various finger foods. If you can find appetizers and desserts that pair perfectly with your main dish, your guests will find them even more interesting.
4. Ask your guests to bring a dish. Speaking of guests, consider asking your guests to bring a dish. If you’re hosting a barbecue with other attendees, most of those attendees will be interested in contributing in some way. Having them bring other side dishes will reduce the amount of money and time you need to spend on the event and make them feel good about being an active contributor. On top of that, each guest is going to have different culinary skills and interests, so you should get a very diverse range of dishes to try.
5. Bring games and activities. Barbecuing itself is a rewarding activity, but it’s not exactly the most interesting on a moment-to-moment basis. Accordingly, you should bring games and activities to try with your guests. Keeping people interested and engaged with card games, guessing games, or water activities could be exactly what you need to bring the event together.
6. Experiment with a crazy new recipe. You probably have an assortment of recipes you love for preparing meat and side dishes. But if you eat them enough, eventually they’re going to become boring. Try to address this by experimenting with a crazy new recipe. Is there an ingredient you’ve never used before? Is there a different culinary style you can incorporate into your dishes? The dish doesn’t have to be perfect, so long as it’s different and interesting.
7. Organize around a theme. You can also spice up a barbeque by organizing the barbecue for a specific theme. For example, you can celebrate the release of a new movie, promote loyalty to your favorite sports team, or even do something more abstract, like hosting around the theme of a “forest adventure.”
8. Purchase better speakers. Barbecues get livelier and more interesting when you have awesome music playing in the background. Consider purchasing better speakers for your boat so you can hear the full range – and put together a playlist for the occasion.
9. Decorate with lights (and barbecue at night). Ever think about barbecuing at night? You can if you outfit your boat with soft, illuminating lights. They also add an interesting decorative touch.
10. Invite more folks. Finally, consider inviting more people. You can take this literally, cramming more people onto your boat if you have the space. But you can also use this as inspiration to invite different kinds of people. Invite fellow boaters you haven’t gotten to know yet, invite neighbors, and even consider inviting total strangers. You never know who you might meet this way.
The ideas in this list are just meant to be a starting point. They should help you come up with a plan to make your barbeque more exciting, or at least different than what you’ve done in the past. But it’s also important to experiment on your own. Talk to other boaters, get active on social media, and gather even more ideas for how you can play with the formula. Every new twist on this old and beloved tradition will add more depth and meaning to it.