(Family Features) Americans love barbequing. There's something great about inviting friends and family over, firing up the grill, sitting back and eating a juicy burger with veggies in the backyard.
In fact, nearly six out of 10 Americans plan to grill more than 15 times this summer, according to a survey conducted by Bank of America. A large majority - 90 percent - equate barbequing with entertaining.
This summer, celebrity chef Michael Symon from the Food Network and ABC's "The Chew," is partnering with Bank of America to share tips for hosting a stress-free barbeque.
According to Symon, kitchen prep is the secret to a successful barbeque. A Bank of America survey found that seven out of 10 Americans will invite five to 15 guests to their summer gatherings so it's easy to get bogged down in hosting duties and miss out on the fun.
"Hosting a barbeque is about being outside with your friends and shouldn't be stressful, that's why it's important to do as much food and party prep in advance as possible. The more you can prepare before your guests arrive, the more you can enjoy your party."
For instance, Symon advises that hosts pre-mix a batch of their favorite cocktail so guests can serve themselves throughout the day and hosts can focus on getting food on the grill.
Symon also encourages hosts to plan ahead to find ways to make their budgets go further on groceries, such as using a rewards card to get cash back.
"To get rewarded for the purchases you make the most, consider using a credit card like the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card. Customers earn 2 percent back on grocery store purchases for barbeques," said Symon.
What's for dinner?
Hamburgers are the most popular barbeque entrée for Americans (45 percent), followed by steaks (26 percent). If you're looking to get more creative with these common entrees or want to branch out and try something new, check out the website SeriousEats.com that will send you in the right culinary direction. With a web community of more than 100 online contributors, SeriousEats caters to every level of foodie.
For instance, the site has an impressive catalog of recipes to spice up your grilling to create the ultimate Sriracha burger, master barbequed meatballs or try your hand at watermelon on the grill.
Once your guests are wowed, but before the plate is bare, show off your culinary masterpieces to Symon on SeriousEats by using the hashtag #123BBQ on your social media posts. Get inspired by viewing what other Americans have already cooked and visit http://www.SeriousEats.com/123BBQ.
Be a good guest
Every good guest knows to bring something to the party, whether it's a bottle of wine or dessert. However one out of 10 guests admits they are very likely to bring a store-bought dish to a barbeque and claim it's homemade. Instead of fibbing, find a simple recipe online or help out with refreshments instead.
Mastering the budget
Half of Americans think that the hardest part of planning a barbeque is staying within budget. That's why planning and prioritizing play an important role in keeping costs down.
Consider the following ways some people are trimming costs, without sacrificing quality and flavor:
- Buy in bulk (cited by 53 percent of respondents)
- Use coupons (cited by 45 percent of respondents)
- Ask guests to bring items (39 percent of respondents)
- Buying generic or sale brands (29 percent of respondents)
Other ways to manage costs include writing a grocery list before going to the store to avoid overbuying and creating your own rubs and sauces.
An insider's tip known to chefs and regular cooks is to befriend your butcher. This is the most effective way to learn about different cuts of meat and make savings as your butcher will let you know when your favorite cuts will be on sale.
Saving with the right rewards credit card
Half of those surveyed expect to spend $10 to $20 per guest. One of the easiest ways to help offset costs can be using a card that gives you cash back on your purchases. More than four out of 10 people surveyed say they use a reward credit card when paying for groceries.
Since the average family of four spends $12,400 a year on groceries, using a card like the BankAmericard Cash Rewards, which gives you 2 percent cash back on grocery story purchases, can have a considerable impact towards the budget for regular summer hosts. Plus you get 3 percent cash back on gas purchases and 1 percent on all other purchases. Grocery store and gas bonus rewards apply to the first $1,500 in combined purchases in these categories each quarter.
(caption for Michael Symon photo)
Celebrity Chef Michael Symon
(photo of people barbequing)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images