10 Easy Ways to Elevate Your BBQ This Weekend

10 Easy Ways to Elevate Your BBQ This Weekend
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Whether you need some last-minute Memorial Day BBQ ideas, or just want some inspo for future outdoor shindigs now that summer’s officially kicked off, there are a few key ways that you can set your feast apart from the basic burgers-and-beer hangout.

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I consulted pro chef and Texas BBQ expert Jess Pryles, along with Chuck Prescott, VP of operations at the NYC-based catering and event company Sweet Hospitality Group, for their top tips on how to make a casual cookout just a touch classier.

From recipes that go a step above average to easy decor touches that make your BBQ a little more special, these 10 tips will help you host a fun, memorable, and highly Instagrammable cookout.

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"I love the idea of using a typical red-and-white gingham cloth and then mixing that with white ceramic plates and using red cotton napkins," says Prescott.

Photo: Apres Fete

"For the evening, add a few votive candles around the table or clear bottles filled with candles or wildflowers," Prescott suggests.

Photo: Style Me Pretty

"I like to use inexpensive, rustic linen dish towels for napkins. The linens add a bit of luxury but can still be used in a causal setting. Another nice touch is to add a sprig of rosemary or fresh flowers, or tying the napkin with a piece of twine," says Pryles.

Photo: Silk and Willow

"Use Campbell's soup cans or mason jars and fill them with flowers, having a few of these going down the center of the table," says Prescott.

Photo: Ashley Ann Photography

"Cocktails served in mini soda bottles with striped straws is fun and cute presentation. Watermelon and lemonade are just a few things that go well with most spirits for the summer BBQ," says Prescott.

Photo: Style Me Pretty

"I collect vintage cutting boards from antique stores and love to bring them out with hors d'oeuvres when I have guests over. They introduce fun texture and tons of character," says Pryles.

Photo: Hither and Thither

"For seafood lovers, offer up oysters by creating a raw bar," says Prescott. "Then shuck it up!"

Photo: Basil Genovese

"I recommend putting an elegant twist on deviled eggs by adding praline bacon and a sprinkle of BBQ rub. These are great because they are easy to prepare in advance!" says Pryles.

Recipe: Live Simply

"Grilled romaine halves also make an easy and delicious side dish," says Pryles.

Recipe: Dessert Now Dinner Later

"Forget about the burger and exchange it for a fresh piece of fish," suggests Prescott. "A fresh tuna avocado burger with scallions, soy, ginger, chili paste and seaweed salad on a black brioche is the perfect burger substitute, and the flavor is outrageous."

Recipe: Scaling Back Blog

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