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A hot grill, cold drinks and good company are all you need for the perfect summer party. And with our clever budget-friendly tips, you can make your backyard cookout an affordable (and delicious) success.

1. Shop Thriftily

Monitor sales in your weekly Sobeys flyer. That way you can create your menu based on ingredients that are on offer and ultimately reduce how much you spend. Also, buy items like paper towels, disposable cutlery and drinks in bulk, especially if you plan on entertaining often during the summer.

2. Buy Seasonal Ingredients

In-season produce not only tastes great, but it’s also well priced. Luckily, classic burger toppings like tomatoes, red onions and lettuce are at their peak this time of year. And sweet bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant are in-season veggies that can be grilled for simple summer sides. Dessert can also benefit from in-season produce – fresh fruits are great ice cream and cake toppers, but they’re also wonderful in pies, crisps, sauces and compotes.

3. Pick Affordable Proteins

Choose recipes that can be made to go further by being paired with other ingredients. Spicy Steak Tacos made with reasonably priced flank steak turn into hearty hand-held wraps with toppings like avocado and red pepper.

Alternatively, ask guests to BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat). As the host, you can provide sides, drinks and dessert while guests take care of the main protein. Not only does this save you money on the main meal, but it also satisfies individual guests’ preferences and cravings.

4. Choose Double Duty Recipes

Versatile recipes, like Grilled Maple-Apple Slaw, can double as a salad or burger topper. Our Sweet Corn Dip makes a natural pairing with tortilla chips, but is great as an alternative to relish on a hot dog as well. For something different, serve our Smokey Bacon & Tomato Bean Dip as a crostini topping.

5. Spread Around the Responsibility

A potluck is a smart way to delegate food responsibilities. Be in charge of the main course and ask your guests to bring something to round out the meal: appetizers, salads, sides and desserts. Remember to let them know how many people are attending and of any food allergies among guests. And if you’ve got a couple of non-cooks on your guest list, sign them up for items like ice, napkins, and plastic cutlery and cups.

6. Nominate a Grill Master/Mistress

Choose a guest who enjoys barbecuing (or who has barbecue experience) to help with the grilling duties. Proper grilling technique and knowledge will prevent food waste – goodbye burned and overcooked meat!

7. Be a Thrifty (and Considerate) Bartender

Instead of offering a whole bar’s worth of drinks, keep it simple. Serve a signature drink, like our Lemon & Ginger Fizz – it can be served as a mocktail with fun (and in-season) garnishes, or as a light summer cocktail when mixed with your choice of spirit. And a BYOB party is an easy and affordable way to ensure your guests are sipping on something they like.


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