Beginning around Mother’s Day and lasting all the way until Labor Day Weekend, barbecuing becomes the American pastime of choice enjoyed by everyone. When the weather is good, it provides a great excuse to get family and friends together. The idea of sitting outside, soaking up the sun and eating great food is always appealing. And there is something about barbecuing that makes everything taste better. In fact, it is no longer used for just grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, the fare has expanded to everything from pizza to fruit!

Fortunately or unfortunately, I have recently become intimate with our own outdoor barbecue while we are awaiting our kitchen construction to begin. Living without a stove has driven me to get creative with the barbecue and cook recipes from pasta to chili. Now I have pretty much grown accustomed to walking in and out of my house to cook a meal, but I have to say I will not miss it when the kitchen is complete in a couple of months.

In the meantime, all this barbecuing has got me thinking about Memorial Day and the thousands of BBQ parties that are going to take place this holiday weekend. So here are our top tips for making your next barbecue a success. Oh, and feel free to check out this short video above on the history of Texas BBQ. May make for a great conversation starter!

Be Prepared. There is nothing worse than being invited to a barbecue and arriving when your host is wiping away the cobwebs from the grill or has to run out to the market to purchase the food. If you are hosting a barbecue, plan your menu and purchase your food items a day or two before your event. Clean your barbecue well in advance of your guests arrival and make sure your barbecue tools are handy and in good working condition. You don’t want to be flipping burgers with your fingers!

The Hotter the Better. Preheat the grill and allow plenty of time for it to reach the appropriate temperature so that cooking time is efficient. Generally guests come hungry and they will not be very patient waiting an extra half hour for the grill to heat up.

No One Wants Don’t Want to Be Eaten Alive. Everyone knows that outdoor barbecuing means you have to put up with an assortment of bugs invading your space, especially pesky flies and bees. Arm your backyard with insect repellent such as citronella candles and an electric bug zapper. Purchasing food domes will also not only keep food warm, but will dissuade bugs from hanging around the table.

The Grill Master is King. Every household has their designated grill master who is king of their domain and not does want to be told what to do. He or she is confident they can grill anything to perfection. Show them respect by letting them do their job and be supportive by helping in anyway you can. No backseat grilling please!

Finger Lickin’ Good.The best tasting foods at a barbecue are the ones that happen to be super messy or difficult to eat. Think ribs smothered in sauce, buttery corn on the cob or watermelon juice running down the chin. Not only do these foods require a ton of napkins, but they also tempt us to want to suck the sauce off of our fingers at any given time. Provide cleansing wipes for sticky foods and toothpicks to remove kernels of corn from teeth.

If there are any grill masters who would like to share their own personal BBQ etiquette tips, we’d love to hear from you!