Tips and Recipes for Hosting a Backyard Dinner Party

Fire up the grill and host a gathering full of bright colors and fresh, seasonal flavors

Setting up the grilling table

Nothing says summer more than grilling in the backyard with friends. Looking for some fresh meal ideas other than your standard burgers and dogs? We’re here to help. Put away those paper plates and vinyl tablecloths, because for this dinner party, you’re going to use the real thing.


Setting the Scene

As a dinner party is all about bringing together friends over a delicious meal and making sure they have a good time, don’t sweat the small stuff here. A few small touches here and there go far. Set up a table in the grass or on the deck/patio. Don’t worry if you don’t have a tablecloth. When it’s hot out, keep things cool by using brightly colored placemats (plus, they’re easier to clean if soiled) like these woven or striped mats. Accent each place with a patterned napkin in a similarly colored contrasting pattern for added visual appeal. Then add another layer of color by serving each course on differently colored plates that coordinate with your table linens — we love the four colors available in Oneida’s durable Culinaria collection, like this rich red and corn-colored yellow. While candles add a nice touch when dining outdoors at dusk, keeping them lit can be a challenge. Why not try these rechargeable candle-like lights, or opt for miniature lanterns that shield a tea light's flame from the wind? 

Click here to see the Tips and Recipes for Hosting a Backyard Dinner Party Slideshow.

The Menu

Now that you’ve figured out the table, it’s time to focus on the menu. Stick to simple dishes that are full of the freshest flavors of the season like fresh arugula, tender baby potatoes, and of course fresh berries. The star of our menu is a boneless leg of lamb, grilled on one of our favorite grilling gadgets of the season. Nope, it’s not high-end, and given that it is readily portable and can be operated sitting on a wooden picnic table, it’s so far from useless: It’s a Cobb Grill (and we'll show you how to use it, below). The reasonably-priced grill is virtually smokeless, as the fat and oil drain away from the fire (and don't seep into your food). Plus, it can barbecue, bake, grill, smoke, and more! (Don’t have a Cobb grill? Try your hand at winning one or visit their website.)

Of course, a dinner party isn’t complete without something to drink. To give you hand, we’ve got that covered, too, featuring a hand-picked selection of wines from Wente Vineyards to match each dinner course.

Click here to see the Tips and Recipes for Hosting a Backyard Dinner Party Slideshow.

Click here for a chance to win your own Cobb Grill!

See the Cobb in action:


We’ve recently teamed up with our friends at Oneida to bring you our favorites of the season. Every couple of months, we’ll be highlighting a couple of delicious recipes along with a selection of Oneida’s stylish yet durable dishware. Click here to see more.