Well, the party was a huge success. There were about 40 people, including kids and it went smoothly, although slightly chaotic with 13 kids running around!
The food turned out amazing. We got inspiration on the food from The Cuisinistas Club’s recent trip to the Memphis BBQ Fest in Memphis Tennessee. Click on the link or pic below to watch the video on our YouTube Channel.
My husband Chris did the Memphis dry rub recipe for the chicken and had homemade southern bbq sauce for people to use on the side. A friend of ours also smoked pulled pork the night before and brought it over. We ended up doing sausages and hot dogs on the grill too just due to the size of the party and so the kids could eat hot dogs. I was so happy with how everything turned out. My favorite recipe of the dishes we used was the creamed corn – it was a big hit! I’ll definitely make that my signature side dish at future cook-outs that I attend. Some folks brought side dishes as well. One of the most relevant side dish brought by someone was a tray of cheesy cheddar biscuits (totally went with the southern theme!). We had them the next day and they were even better as left overs.
We also coordinated the cook-out time with the start of the Florida Gator football game – the attire across the party was blue and orange to represent the gators! We used gator colors and theme for the decorations (table cloth, plates, napkins, trays, buckets, etc).
The guests also really liked the unique party favor – which was a bottle of Corky’s dry rub mix ordered straight from Memphis, placed in a cute red bag with a label that said “Memphis Rub; Thanks for Coming!; Your friends Chris and Tonya”.
The kids also got fun party favors to play with during the party (girls received tinkerbell notepads and crafts; boys received star wars note pads and yoda yo-yos). I just picked up the kid favors at Target in the $1 section.
Here are a few takeaways for next time~
- Make half of what you think you need (there are so many dishes and people bring stuff so you will end up with many left-overs).
- Ask guests to bring specific things (because they are anyway!). It will be easier to manage the sides/desserts, etc.
- After the main crowd leaves, offer the remaining guests plates of left-over snacks. Some guests stay longer and will politely turn away food if you ask them if they want more, however, if you make a few small plates of extras (like chips/dip) and pass them around, believe me, they will take them and enjoy.
- Assign a guest to take pictures for you. As the hostess, although you may have good intentions, you may miss good photo opportunities or forget certain shots because you are so busy being the hostess with the mostest. Believe me, I wish I could re-wind and take more pics!
- Throw a little strawberry in wine glasses and fill up with white wine and pass around to the ladies of the party – trust me, unless they are pregnant, they will gladly take the glass because it looks so pretty. I also made good ole southern sweet tea!