Summer is the best time of year to open your backyard and garden to friends and family and invite them to a midnight’s summer dream dinner party. The formula to create the ultimate outdoor summer dinner party is a combination of delectable recipes and fresh flavors and a welcoming décor that complement each other.
Summer meals range anywhere from sticky barbeque ribs to perfectly pink salmon, glazed lemon chicken to hot dogs and hamburgers, and citrusy shrimp to juicy steaks. Whatever your fancy, a summer menu can be elegant, casual, exciting, or eclectic—it’s all up to you.
Below are some recipe and décor combinations to consider when planning your next summer dinner party:
Entrée: Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe’s Backyard Championship Ribs”
What you’ll need:
- 3 Slabs of St. Louis-Style Ribs or Baby Back Ribs, cut in half, membrane off and washed
- 1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
- 1 cup Big Time Barbecue rub (recipe follows)
- 1 cup honey
- 1 1/2 cups apple juice
- 2 cups your favorite BBQ sauce
Side Ideas: Complementing sides include mini shredded pork sliders, blue cheese coleslaw, fresh mozzarella and tomato salad, and vinegar-based pasta salad.
The Décor: Because barbeques are smoky, dress and décor are often casual. But who says casual means bland? Make your Barbeque Bonanza a smash with rustic, decorative pieces such as luminous tree lanterns.
If you have trees in the backyard or dangling over the patio, place some soft-lit lanterns on sturdy branches for a rustic, yet romantic aura. We love the Allsop Soji Original Solar Lanterns in red and white for their lightweight and simplistic shape. Not to mention, these eco-friendly lanterns are solar powered and wireless.
The Citrus Canopy
Entrée: Paula Deen’s Lime Chicken and Shrimp Kabobs
What you’ll need:
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 limes, juiced
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 (16-ounce) can pineapple rings, drained, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound large fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Side Ideas: Keeping in line with the citrusy flavors of your main course, try grilled fruit (nectarines, red plums, peaches, and apricots), oriental chicken salad with a sweet lime dressing, and asparagus with a Thai citrus sauce.
The Décor: Bring out the citrusy flavors of your dinner party with bright colors that are an essential component to building the perfect citrus canopy in your backyard. The flavors combined with the visuals will send a jolt of joy through all your guests—just be prepared to dance through the night!
We suggest stringing the Allsop Soji Pod Solar Lanterns across your backyard trees for a colorful zing to your outdoor ambiance. The lemon, lime, and tangerine colors are sure to delight your guests.
Lowcountry Fried Feast
The Neelys’ Fried Green Tomatoes
What you’ll need:
- 4 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch rings
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Pinch paprika
- Buttermilk Dipping Sauce, recipe follows
Side Ideas: Provide bacon, lettuce, and bread so that guests can make fried green tomato BLTs. Also, not everything needs to be fried, but try frying some food items here and there such as chicken skewers, zucchini, and shrimp skewers. Make a salad to counter all the heavy food items!
The Décor: You don’t have to live in the Lowcountry to simulate the beauty of Spanish moss that dangles from the huge live oaks. You can create your own variation of this romantic appearance through decorative pieces such as Home Port Bud Vase Chimes. Dangle each string from a tree branch, and place a flourishing cluster of long grass or a bud into each vase for a stunning visual and audio appeal.
What was your best outdoor dinner party? Tell us about it in