One of the best parts of the summer is getting together with friends and family for a backyard barbecue. But how do you get your party when inflation is raising food prices above the summer heat?
You don’t have to give up cooking. You have to plan carefully to stay on budget. Here are some tips for having the best summer soy for 20 people while keeping it under $ 100 or under $ 50.
Let’s start with the appetizers. Deviled Eggs are a time-honored picnic favorite that can feed your group for around $ 3. Pop your own popcorn and flavor it with your favorites for just a few dollars. The price of carrots and celery is just a buck or two and can easily be cut for a quick crudit with a homemade dip for a total of $ 5.
The most expensive part of the barbecue, surprisingly, is the meat. Calculate those proteins to start your menu. This will tell you how much money you have to fill the rest of the table.
Fortunately, some good, delicious grilling options are quite affordable. Chicken leg quarters are routinely under a dollar. Some grocery stores have 69 cents a pound in 10-pound bags – allowing you to feed your 20-person group for $ 14. The issue right now is availability.
Hot dog is another cheap option for that perennial cookout staple. They are more affordable than hamburgers, more kid friendly and easier to grill than ribs. Hey, some people like them a little burnt. Buy your francs – and buns – on sale and you can spend $ 14. Condiments can raise it a few bucks.
Side dishes can be expensive if you buy them in a deli or snack aisle, but some classic picnic sides are cheaper and easier than ever.
Shredding an over-affordable cabbage and tossing it with a vinegar dressing can make a slaw abundant for as little as $ 3. Potatoes, especially russets, are cheap. Egg prices are high, but they are still affordable. Toss them with a little mayo and you have a filling potato salad for about $ 6.
Then there are the beans. Start with dried beans and you can spend less than $ 2 for a group-sized vegan grilled bean dish. Add a small bag of sausage or real bacon chunks, and you can melt it for a total price of about $ 6. Or maybe a three-bean salad is your thing. This is an easy salad to make – just a couple cans of green beans, kidney beans and chickpeas and some Italian dressing bowls for less than $ 5.
Depending on availability and sales, fresh corn is the best way to go, but corn salad can still be cheap. A large bag of frozen corn can be served with fresh onions, peppers and tomatoes to give it a delicious flavor or a jar of salsa already blended. Let it sit overnight, and you can ask people to eat their vegetables for just $ 7.
Then there’s the dessert. The easiest, most audiences-pleasing option is screaming summer. Buy a watermelon, cool it to icy perfection and wedge it. Melons are on sale now for $ 4 per piece. Kids can be happy with the plastic-tube freezer pops available at dollar store prices.
If you want something a little fancier, go for cupcakes. Easier to decorate than a large cake, they have a built-in portion control. With cake mix and canned frosting, you’re looking at about $ 5. To begin with, it could be even less, leaving space to be fancy than just vanilla.
And that brings us to bargain drinks. The perfect choice for all ages is lemonade. Do this first with lemon and sugar or shortcut with the mixture. It is affordable in any way. Each lemon and sugar bag hydrates your group for just $ 5; Use a can of sugar-free beverage mix, and it is less than $ 2 for 3 gallons.
Maybe you want to indulge in some adult-only drinks. Stick with a large batch of alcohol punch to save while you play. Mix fruit punch and lemon-lime soda with vodka – definitely not a good thing – and you can have a fun option for less than $ 10.
Tip: Use a dark colored beverage in a different shade than your kid-friendly drink so that young children don’t get anything accidental and teens can’t sneak some redness into their lemonade.
All in all, your party can come in at $ 96. If you stream it with just one or two options for appetizers, main dishes, sides and desserts, you can drop the total to $ 47 – a great option if your 20-person group has more young children.
But the best way to save money on a back party is to spread the cost with Potluck. Hosts can do weightlifting with main dishes and drinks for a total of $ 48 and ask other guests to fill the sides and desserts.
Whatever the options are, the most important thing is not just to save money but to find a way to have fun.
Lori Falls is the Tribune-Review Community Engagement Editor. You can contact Lori at [email protected]