1. Have a game plan
"For me, the most important thing is starting off with quality ingredients and then knowing what you want to do with them. You may be doing quick, simple grilling and you're firing up the grill for 20 minutes to cook hamburgers and hot dogs, or thin cuts of steak are going to cook quickly. But a New York Strip, Ribeye, Filet mignon will take a long time. Brisket, short rib, or ribs are all really going to need to be slow cooked and barbecued for a long period of time. You don't need a big smoker to make good BBQ, but you need the right equipment. You need to base your menu on what tools you have available."
2. Timing is key
"There can be a 24-hour lead time, which some people really don't think about. With traditional barbecue, which is low and slow with tougher cuts, allowing it to break down takes time. If there's any deviation in your time or temperature, and your guests end up there waiting, nothing's going to be served."
3. Know who you're feeding
"If you're going to make the effort, knowing the people you're going to feed is important. There are so many people on diets that want to be healthy. If you're doing hamburgers and hot dogs, which isn't the healthiest thing, also grill some chicken breasts, fish, or shrimp. That's good especially this time of year when it's so hot out. Just have alternatives for people who are not going to want to eat red meat."
4. Don't be afraid to seek help
"It's very time-consuming for people to do a barbecue. It's important for people to go out to their local BBQ joint (Hint: Bulldog Barbecue and Burger) and pick up a couple of pounds of pulled pork, buns, and some slaw. Mix and match. If you put everything on your shoulders, you're going to stress out. It's good to use the tools at your disposal, which in this day and age are barbecue joints. It'll be your own salads and your own burgers with a couple of other items you pick up, like cornbread."