Summer is here, and with the change in seasons comes the opportunity to spend more time outdoors. Perhaps nothing is more relaxing than a lazy summer day barbecuing with friends or family outside.

If you’ve just finished your in-ground pool construction, you may be looking for even more reasons to get outside. What better excuse to barbecue than because you’re spending a day at your brand new swimming pool? Here are five tips to keep in mind when you’re barbecuing around the pool this summer.

Go beyond traditional fare

Of course, barbecuing is primarily about the meats, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to just hot dogs and burgers. While those may be what the kids are interested in, consider barbecuing things like chicken, pork chops, and even grilled pizzas to make your barbecue a bit more robust.

You can even grill out for the vegetarians in attendance by barbecuing some vegetable kebabs or watermelon with olive oil, which can then be used in a salad or enjoyed by itself. Going the extra mile with your menu will show your guests that this isn’t just any old barbecue.

Get creative with rubs and seasonings

Another way to go above and beyond as you plan your barbecue’s menu is to get creative with how you’re seasoning your food. While salt and pepper are certainly important, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take inspiration from other sources when it comes to spicing up your dishes.

Consider taking a page from a Cajun seafood dining menu and adding more cayenne, garlic, and paprika to your chicken to give it some New Orleans flare. Vegetables are also a prime target for getting spiced up, so think about a Moroccan-inspired spice blend of turmeric, ginger, white pepper, and coriander to give your veggies an extra kick.

Offer side dishes

What’s a good barbecue without sides? Traditional barbecue sides typically include things like fruit salads, potato salad, and coleslaw, but that doesn’t mean you should stop there.

Remember the grilled watermelon from an earlier tip? Use that as a component of a salad and find other ways to infuse grilled, smoky flavors into other side dishes too. Corn on the cob is a classic side dish that can be kicked up a notch by being prepared on your grill. You can even grill your potatoes before you use them in a potato salad or mash.

Be safe

While it’s fun to talk about all of the different dishes you can prepare at your barbecue, safety should always be your number one priority when grilling. Only use charcoal or propane as instructed by the manufacturer of your grill, and never squirt lighter fluid onto an open flame.

If you’re grilling by the pool, make sure to follow smart pool safety, and always have adults monitoring children as they swim. It may be tempting just to focus on the grill when you’re barbecuing, but if an open pool is present, you need to remember the dangers that bodies of water pose to both children and adults.

Share the fun

Barbecuing doesn’t just have to be for the family. By inviting friends over, you can transform your barbecue from a meal to a party. In addition to swimming, consider what other kinds of activities your guests might enjoy.

Classic outdoor games like cornhole, bocce ball, croquet, and badminton are all fair game when it comes to throwing a barbecue. You could even buy a volleyball net for your pool for a little pool volleyball too, if you have enough guests to form teams.

Barbecuing is what summer is all about, and if you’ve got an outdoor pool, you’ll probably be looking for even more reasons to get outside. Follow the five tips above, and you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable barbecue.

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