Ideas for Outdoor Dinners

It’s been a strange spring in our area.

We had some beautiful weather in late March and then it just went crazy – cold, rain, wind, with the occasional, rare nice day. Now it’s hot.

I was in the cave getting a bottle of wine for dinner when a lightbulb went off: We could have a Spanish Rosado! A lovely bottle of deep pink, chilled wine is perfect on a hot summer day.

Then I realized it was summer! (well, almost…)

Normally by the middle of June we would have been having our dinners outdoors on the deck and enjoying the sunsets and moonrises. We haven’t done that yet. It was such a shock yesterday when I came back with the Rosado we didn’t even think about getting the table on the deck ready. And I have to find the chair cushions!

Tonight, I think…. It’s way past time.

If it’s time for you to start enjoying outdoor dining, read on for some ideas:

5 Ideas for Outdoor Dinners With Family and Friends This Summer

The summer months are the ideal time to gather with friends and family, eat delicious food, sip on a cocktail and relax. Summer is the season for all fresh food lovers to rejoice and enjoy fresh berries and veggies while dining alfresco. To make the most of the season, we’ve rounded up our top five ideas for outdoor dinners this summer.

#1. A Traditional Backyard BBQ

What says summer more than a classic backyard barbecue? Fire up the grill, toss on a bunch of burgers and hot dogs, and let the chillin’ and grillin’ begin. Add in some fresh tomatoes, watermelon and mint-garnished drinks for the perfect backyard BBQ. For a lighter option, stack some meats and fresh vegetables on skewers for easy kebabs. Light a bonfire and finish the night with the ultimate summer dessert: homemade s’mores.

#2. Go East Coast and Throw a Traditional Clambake

A traditional New England clambake will definitely wow your guests, and you don’t even need to make the trip to Cape Cod. A clambake is a traditional method of cooking seafood such as mussels, crabs and lobster. Try it at home as you:

  • Gather the biggest pot you have
  • Boil some water and wine until it simmers
  • Add potatoes
  • Add browned sausages and/or hot dogs
  • Add clams and/or mussels
  • Top with corn
  • Pop the lid on the pot and let it steam for 12-15 minutes

#3. Host a Spanish Fiesta

The Spaniards are notorious for not eating dinner until 9 p.m. at the earliest. And some dinners don’t start until midnight! What better time to host a late-night fiesta than in the warm summer months? Grab some fresh fruit and throw it in with some wine and sugar to create a delectable sangria. Spanish parties can go as late as 3 a.m. in the summer months and often end with a trip to the churro stand. The good news is you can make churros at home pretty easily — check out this recipe. Paella is another famous Spanish dish that is sure to knock the socks off of your guests.

#4. Spice Up Pizza Night With a Grilled Pizza Bar

Pizza is always a good idea. Did you know you can grill it? Simply dress your favorite dough with sauce and toppings, fire up the grill, and throw the pizza on for 30 to 35 minutes. Opt for as many fresh vegetables and herbs from your garden or the farmer’s market as possible. If you’re feeling extra motivated and inspired, you can even use fresh basil to create a homemade pesto sauce and/or fresh tomatoes to create a traditional pizza sauce.

Have little ones? Opt for individual pizzas that each guest can customize to their own liking. Whether you use charcoal or gas, the smoke from the grill will give your pizzas a unique and delicious flavor you won’t get from a normal oven. For the ultimate finishing touch, set out a variety of oils, sauces, herbs, seeds and salts so your guests can top their pizzas off with delicious and fresh finishes.

#5. Go Scandinavian With a Midsummer Party

Midsummer parties are an annual tradition to ring in summer in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. The most important part of a midsummer party is the flower crowns. Use fresh flowers from your yard or the local farmer’s market and create flower crowns for all your guests. Or you can set up a DIY flower crowns station and have guests make their own.

Dancing and music are other essential components of midsummer parties, so crank the tunes and encourage your guests to hit the dance floor. As far as the spread goes, light and fresh dishes should be the focus of your midsummer menu. A green salad or assorted veggie trays will pair perfectly with local fish and/or other grilled meat. For dessert, pair fresh berries with cream to create a light and delicious treat.

Traditionally, midsummer parties go into the wee hours of the morning. For a memorable transition, spark up a big bonfire and bring your guests together one last time before the party ends. Lanterns are also a great option to light up the evening and create ambiance.

Of course, no matter which outdoor dinner idea or ideas you choose to execute, if you’re going to entertain outdoors this summer, you’re going to need to find outdoor furniture. We’ve got you covered whether you’re looking for a long outdoor dining table or comfy chairs to keep your guests happy as they relax and enjoy the occasion.

6 thoughts on “Ideas for Outdoor Dinners”

  1. Definitely have tried the backyard BBQ and the clambake. but the other options you have suggested are also very interesting. would love to try these out soon enough.

  2. We sit on the deck in the evening, me with wine or Scotch and him with bourbon, and just enjoy the quiet. Eating outside? No. Bugs. No thanks. Bugs. We have neighbors, sort of since we’re on three acres and they’re on two, who spray for mosquitoes. I understand the premise behind it, but always have wondered who tells the mosquitoes next door not to cross the property line…we do not spray for mosquitoes.

    • We are only bothered by moths and figured out if we put a light high enough they stay away from the food.
      Mosquitoes are still rare here – thankfully. I grew up in an area where we could tell time by them – 15 minutes before sunset was the first onslaught.

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