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These 30 Items Make Any BBQ Party Sizzle

These 30 Items Make Any BBQ Party Sizzle

By R.P. Hogan
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It’s peak barbecue season and backyards are filling up with friends and relatives. Now, we’re not going to tell you what you should be grilling or how you should be grilling it — we know you have your own ideas about that. But what we do have are some suggestions that should help set the tone — letting everyone know you’re ready to cook and ready to party.

The Ultimate Grill Supply Set

Cuisinart Deluxe Grill Set

Yes, this is nearly as obvious as suggesting to make sure you have a grill. But you need to know about Cuisinart’s Deluxe Grill Set. The 20-piece set comes with a large spatula, tongs, silicone basting brush, multiple kebab skewers, corn holders — plus a digital temperature fork to make sure your meat is perfectly cooked. It all stores neatly in its own aluminum case.

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"The material is solid and not flimsy at all," one reviewer says of the equipment. "The pieces clean well and keep their shine and look polished because of the stainless steel." You bring this out to the backyard and everyone will know you came ready to cook today.

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Hardcore Barbecue Gloves

RAPICCA BBQ Gloves

Rapicca’s BBQ gloves can handle a lot. "I got a turkey out of the smoker using these and never felt any heat," reported one happy reviewer.

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The gloves are made from kevlar and cotton and extend 14 inches up your arms, so you can grab a piece of meat right off the grill. Neoprene coating on the palms allows you to easily take hold of greasy or wet items. You can even stick your hand into a pot of boiling water to snag some corn on the cob. (Not that we're encouraging you to make a habit of doing that!)

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Gather Around the Picnic Table

Lifetime Folding Picnic Table

This six-foot folding picnic table from Lifetime Products is tough enough to leave out in the backyard all year long, some reviewers claim. Just take a high-pressure hose to it at the beginning of summer and it’ll be ready for guests to sit comfortably on the sturdy polyethylene benches.

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If you do want to hide it away between get togethers, the steel frame is easily collapsible. Fold it up and store it in your garage until you’re ready to use it again!

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Make Sure Your Tablecloth Stays in Place

Prodyne Tablecloth Weights

"After years of frustrations of plastic or metal clips that break due to cheapness or different sizes of tables, I'm so happy I purchased 2 sets of these," one reviewer says of Prodyne’s metal tablecloth weights. They come in assorted motifs, from bunches of grapes to winged insects to a medley of BBQ-themed objects.

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Just hook the weights onto the edges of your tablecloth as it dangles over the table and don’t give them another thought. Users say these weights can stand up to some powerful winds: "One storm shot the ten-inch umbrella up and over the deck, so it was strong!"

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Portable Speaker and Table Lamp

DIKAOU LED Flame Table Lamp

DIKAOU’s LED flame table lamp is a perfect centerpiece for tiki-themed barbecues, and not just because it can mimic the flicker of candlelight with 96 LED diodes. This elegantly designed piece of equipment also includes portable stereo speakers, which can be connected to your laptop or smartphone via Bluetooth. You can even sync up two or more speakers, bringing music to every corner of your yard.

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One reviewer says the small speakers deliver "the perfect volume for party ambience... not so loud they'll overpower conversation and not so soft that you can't hear them."

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Environmentally Friendly Dinner Plates

Melange 6-Piece Dinner Plate Set

This reusable six-piece dinner plate set, designed by Melange, provides an earth-friendly alternative to throwing away a bunch of flimsy paper or plastic plates. "They don’t look or behave like plastic," one reviewer says of the colorful plates, which are made out of an organic compound called melamine. "They seem to be indestructible."

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Not only are the plates light, but their raised edges also make it easy to load up a plate and carry it across a yard or patio without dropping any food. After everyone has gone home, just throw the plates in the dishwasher, and they’re ready for your next party.

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Sturdy and Elegant Wine Glasses

Stemless Stainless Steel Wine Glasses

When it comes to drinking wine at an outdoor party, plain plastic cups get the job done, but they don’t feel very fancy. If you want to use real wine glasses, though, you’ll always be worrying about how many of them might accidentally break before the day’s through.

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That’s not a problem with Real Deal Steel’s stemless stainless steel wine glasses. Each set comes with four sleek, virtually unbreakable glasses that can hold up to 18 ounces of wine, soft drinks or maybe a batch of sangria!

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Keep Your Food Bug-Free

Pop-Up Mesh Food Covers

These pop-up mesh food covers from DealGenius are perfect for keeping flies, bees and other insects off your food while your friends are making their way to the serving table. They have a wide base — 17 square inches — so you can fit several small plates or bowls under a single tent.

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One set of six will probably cover most small- or medium-sized parties, and everyone can still see how great the food looks. And if anyone happens to spill some sauce on one of the tents, no worries: The mesh easily wipes clean.

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Serving with Style

Avilla Napkin and Flatware Storage Caddy

It doesn’t take much to add fancy touches to your barbecue. Something as simple as this steel storage caddy, part of Mikasa’s Gourmet Basics line, lets you provide your guests with plates, napkins and flatware elegantly and efficiently.

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It even comes with an extension for a roll of paper towels, because someone is likely to have a spill! When the party’s over, you can fold the paper towel spindle up, remove the center handle and put the entire unit away in a kitchen cabinet.

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Earth-Friendly Wooden Flatware

Wooden Disposable Cutlery Sets

Plastic cutlery was created as a cheap, disposable alternative to having to clean "real" silverware after every use. But over the decades, our nonchalant approach to consumption has taken its toll on the Earth’s environment. Perfect Stix provides a green-friendly option with their disposable cutlery sets, which includes an assortment of wooden forks, knives and spoons.

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The six-inch pieces of flatware are made of biodegradable birchwood and are totally compostable. "The forks handled salads and fried chunks of venison," one Amazon reviewer notes. "The knives cut right through asparagus bundles and jalapeño poppers with ease." Some folks say the knives don’t do so well on grilled steaks — then again, neither do plastic knives!

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Condiments and Garnishes, Chilled to Perfection

Ice Chilled Condiment Server Caddy

You could just leave bottles of ketchup and mustard out on the table, maybe slide a couple pickles on to a plate and let them sit in the sun. Or you could break out this ice-chilled condiment caddy from VEBO, which lets you serve up to five different condiments and garnishes in separate containers.

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The ice sits in the bottom of the tray, and though you might have to break it down into small bits to keep the containers from poking over the rim, users generally find the caddy "easy to set up and easy to clean." It even comes with spoons and tongs, so guests can add whatever you’re putting in the containers to their plates with no fuss.

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Keep Your Drinks Cool

Buddeez Party Beverage Dispenser

Buddeez’s 1.75-gallon beverage dispenser has a base that can be loaded up with ice. Plus, another section up top where you can add more ice cubes, ensuring that your second or third cup will be just as cold as your first. You can load it with water or get creative — try mixing a giant batch of Arnold Palmer or fruit punch. (You can let folks know what’s inside with the miniature chalkboard that’s included.)

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"When the beverage gets low," one reviewer warns, "you’ll need to tilt the dispenser to get the last of the drink," but most owners think it’s worth the effort. The lid also doubles as a cup holder and potential fruit tray to hold lemon slices or other cut up fruit slices. Great for iced teas or sangrias!

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A Convenient Cooler

Igloo Insulated Party Bucket

Coolers are great, but if more than one or two people are searching the ice trying to find their favorite can or bottle, it can bring the party to a standstill. Igloo’s 20-quart party bucket solves that problem, because it’s approachable from all sides. "You couldn’t ask for more from a tub cooler," says one happy owner.

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One bucket should hold enough drinks to get a small party through an afternoon, and the elevated base means the ice won’t melt if you have to put it out on a hot patio. When the ice has melted, though, it’s quick and easy to drain with the closable spout located near the bottom of the cooler.

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Who’s Up for Bocce?

Bocce Ball Set

"I bought this for a family reunion that included my 94-year-old mother-in-law," says one reviewer of the Hey! Play! bocce ball set. "She’s the one who's the bocce pro in the group! She said this was a great set ... much better than anything she was used to." It’s a basic kit — two sets of four balls, plus the smaller pallino that establishes the target for each round.

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Some users note that the balls can get scuffed up if they collide, but do you want this game to look at or to play with? ( Some folks do warn that the carrying case is a bit flimsy and suggest inserting some cardboard slats to separate the balls inside to avoid scuffing.)

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Our Next Event: Cornhole!

GoSports Wood Cornhole Sets

Cornhole traces its roots back to the late 19th-century, when a man named Heyliger de Windt filed a patent for an indoor alternative to horseshoes that involved throwing bean bags at a slanted board with a small hole cut in it. Over the decades, the game migrated back outside and is now a popular summer pastime.

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GoSports makes a flag-themed cornhole set with options for American, Canadian and Mexican fans (plus several state-themed options). This is premium equipment and the price reflects that, and one reviewer confirms the quality saying: "It was worth the extra money for the stability and durability."

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Yes, It’s Basically Giant Jenga

GoSports Giant Wooden Toppling Tower

If this giant wooden toppling tower from GoSports reminds you of a much smaller game, you’re not imagining things. But this is no flimsy knockoff! The wooden blocks are made of solid pine, and the tower can rise several feet in the air.

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There’s also an innovative twist — several blocks have numbers printed on them, and you can make up new rules for the player who pulls them out. Be careful when playing around small children, though, because you wouldn’t want them to get hit when someone picks the wrong piece and the entire structure comes toppling down.

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Let’s Check the Scoreboard

Tandem Sport Deluxe Score Keeper

The Deluxe Score Keeper from Tandem Sport may seem like a weird accessory for a barbecue party, but if you have this along with your bocce kit, cornhole boards or badminton net, you can settle a lot of arguments before they even get started.

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Amazon reviewers have great praise for the "big display" and "crisp numbers" and report that it’s "sturdy enough to last for a while"—so if the price tag has you wondering whether you should bother, remember it’s meant to be a long-term investment.

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Spice Things Up With a Slow Cooker

Presto Nomad Traveling Slow Cooker

Everybody loves burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings and all that. But what about the side dishes — the chili, the baked beans, and the mac and cheese? That’s where Presto’s Nomad 6-Quart Traveling Slow Cooker comes in.

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You can use it outside if you have an electrical outlet handy. Or you can cook something up in the kitchen, tuck the cord inside the cooker, and bring it out to the table when it’s ready. There’s even a dry erase label on the front so people can see what you’ve made without opening the lid. If you’ve been asked to bring something to someone else’s party, this slow cooker can make you a hero.

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A Whiteboard that Doubles as a Menu

Tabletop Magnetic Easel & Whiteboard

The tabletop magnetic easel and whiteboard from DasKid might seem like another counterintuitive must-have for an outdoor barbecue. Think about it, though — how many times have you had to field questions from antsy kids (or adults) who want to know what’s cooking, or how long it’s going to take?

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Set a whiteboard up near the grill and you can fill everyone in on the menu all at once. It can also be an easy way to settle who called dibs on which cuts. (Or, if you didn’t feel like splurging on a scoreboard, this is an inexpensive alternative.)

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Shade Included

ALPHA Camp Chairs with Canopy

"The best lawn chair I have ever had," raves one reviewer about the ALPHA CAMP

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camp chair with shade canopy. The steel frame might make it a little heavier than other folding chairs, but it’s sturdy and comfortable, and that canopy means you and your friends can spend that much more time sitting outside, without worrying so much about the sun.

Both armrests have drink holders — one for standard-sized cups, another for 32-ounce containers. If you’re not using it, the chair folds up into a compact carrying case, so you could even bring your own chair to other parties if you want.

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Portable Cupholders

Decko Outdoor Beverage Holder Stakes

Decko’s heavy duty outdoor beverage/drink holder stakes are a great solution when you have no-frills lawn chairs and you don’t want your friends to be stuck holding a half-empty can or bottle all the time. Just push the stake into the ground, and the two-prong base provides a sturdy foothold so you can set your drink aside without worrying it’ll fall or get knocked over.

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"I do wish they made them a little taller," one reviewer admits, because if you’re standing up — like, say, in the middle of a cornhole match — you have to do a little extra bending and reaching. Seems like a small price to pay, though!

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Get Serious About Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen

Some of you are probably thinking, "I don’t need to be reminded to wear sunscreen at an outdoor barbecue." If so, good for you! But some of you weren’t thinking that, so we’re going to remind everyone anyway, because it’s important to do everything you can to shield yourself — and your family — from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

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There are many brands of sunscreen, of course, but Blue Lizard’s kid-friendly SPF 30+ lotion comes highly recommended. The fact that it’s a physical sunscreen and not a chemical one makes it versatile enough that even those with sensitive skin can use it without fearing a reaction. "It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it," says one reviewer. "It lasts a long time and you never burn if you use it." Keep a bottle handy and share with anyone who needs it!

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Turn Your Backyard into a Water Park

Rocky Mountain River Race Inflatable Slide Bouncer

How do you keep a bunch of small children entertained until their burgers and hot dogs are ready? The Little Tikes Rocky Mountain River Race Inflatable Slide Bouncer rises to the challenge, providing what one reviewer calls "perfect summer fun."

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Start with your basic splash pool, then add two inflatable water slides with a climbing wall between them, and you’ve got the perfect distraction for up to four toddlers or pre-teens. "I was worried about the amount of water it would take to keep it going," another reviewer concedes, "but it’s very minimal and didn't put our water bill through the roof."

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Backyard Relaxation

Vivere Double Cotton Hammock

With Vivere’s freestanding hammock, you don’t need a pair of trees in your backyard to enjoy a relaxing nap. The steel stand lets you set up just about anywhere, and the cotton hammock holds up to 450 pounds — enough to accommodate a romantic couple or a small family. You can also sit up straight in the middle, turning the hammock into a very fancy lawn chair.

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Satisfied users report that it can be left out in the rain without getting ruined, and the hammock part is easily hand washable. (Some reviewers even brought it into the house and used it as a bed!)

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The Perfect Cooler

Coleman Wheeled Cooler

If you’ve got a whole bunch of people coming over, you’re probably going to want a 50-quart wheeled cooler from Coleman. As one delighted owner says, "Weekend after weekend, this cooler keeps everything cold the entire time."

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It can hold up to 84 cans — or keep an awful lot of meat cool until you’re ready to slap it on the grill. Here’s a helpful tip from another reviewer: Load your cooler up with ice the day before for at least 12 hours to get it nice and cold, then add fresh ice just before the party.

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A Wine Cooler That Doubles as a Table

Outdoor Patio Pool Cooler Table

Display4Top’s rattan-style cooler table is an ingenious piece of backyard furniture. Closed, it looks like an ordinary end table with a rattan base. If you pull up the lid, though, you’ll find a bucket inside that’s perfect for keeping a few bottles of wine on ice.

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Once raised, the table top easily locks into place above, creating a sturdy table for your glasses and small plates. At the end of the day, just unplug the drain at the bottom of the bucket, and then it can be wiped clean and dry in preparation for the next party.

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A Sturdy and Versatile Trash Can

Camco Collapsible Utility Container

Even if you’re just having a few friends or relatives over, a good BBQ party can quickly generate a significant amount of rubbish. Camco makes a collapsible utility container that makes dealing with garbage quick and easy. Fully open, it’s the perfect size for a 30-gallon bag, which you can then take out, tie up and set aside until trash day comes. Or set one out to collect bottles and cans for recycling!

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There’s hoops on the side, so you can stake it down to keep the wind from blowing it away, and it even zips closed, which makes many reviewers love it for camping trips.

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Outdoor Mood Lighting

Lemontec String Lights

If you want to keep the party going past sundown and you havet electrical outlets on the outside of your house, Lemontec’s string lights are "perfect for patio lighting," says one reviewer. The strings are 25 feet long, with bulbs spaced a foot apart, and an additional six feet of cord at either end. (You can string up to three sets together to cover more ground.)

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"The bulbs are thin, so be gentle when hanging them," warns one reviewer, "but I didn’t have any trouble, and they come with extra bulbs."

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Keep Mosquitoes Away in Style

Molded Glass Table Torch

Sure, you’re going to spray yourself and your kids with insect repellent. But you also want to keep the bugs away from your table — which is where TIKI’s molded glass table torches come in. The tabletop torches are a cute addition to your party’s decor, coming in an assortment of red, green and blue glass.

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"They do a good job at keeping the bugs away while adding a nice ambience," reports one pleased reviewer. You can load them up with TIKI’s torch fuels or use your own citronella and other essential oils—the glass containers make it easy to see when they need reloading.

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The Perfect Fire Pit

Roman Fire Pit

String lights are great, but they won’t keep you warm if the temperature drops at night. That’s when you need Fire Sense’s Roman Fire Pit.

This small, portable fire pit sits close to the ground, perfectly designed for bringing a small group together, whether you’re enjoying a few drinks or breaking out marshmallows for toasting. There’s also a screen to keep embers from the fire from flying up and landing on you or your lawn. And, once the fire dies down and the ashes cool, it’s easy to clean and store away until you need it again.

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