Park cookouts are blessings — you can eat food that’s bad for you, get compliments from passersby on how your food smells and then go play pickup basketball with your friends or take a walk when you’re finished. That being said, having a good park cookout can be difficult! There are plenty of opportunities for stress (how the hell did you forget the hot dog buns, Karen) but, ultimately, it’s worth it when you get a plate full of delicious food that you get to enjoy at a picnic table under the shade of a giant-ass tree.
1) Remember those buns
Only children eat hot dogs and burgers without buns, so it’s really important to remember these. I know it seems like something you wouldn’t forget, but please just make sure you remember them
2) You’re gonna need some aluminum foil
Unless you feel like lugging around your own grill, you’re gonna have to use one of the permanent ones at whatever park you go to. Put down some foil on the grill before getting started so that whatever has been on those grills doesn’t also get onto your hamburgers. Bring charcoal, too, because you gotta cook somehow, right?
3) Your cooler can never be too full
Whether you’re going to a local park in the neighborhood or driving 45 minutes for a cool park you saw on Twitter, you cannot have too many drinks in your cooler. Pack pop (or soda, whatever), juice, beer, bottled water, cheese, condiments and salad stuff (i.e. potato or macaroni salad) into your cooler to make sure it stays cool until you eat it.
4) You’re at a park. Do park stuff
The whole point of going to a park for a cookout rather than your backyard is either (a) you want to have a bunch of friends that your backyard doesn’t accommodate or (b) you really want to be at the park. If you want to be at the park, it’s probably because there is a basketball court, some tennis courts, a walking path, etc. so be sure to use those! After you’ve properly stuffed yourself, going on a walk can be super relaxing.
5) Eat way too much
This might go without saying, but eat until you’re really full. I know it’s summer and you all are working on those bikini bods and stuff, but this is your time to cheat. It’s a cookout! No cookout is complete without eating entirely too much food. So, when you’re making your plate, don’t be afraid to grab a hamburger, three hot dogs, potato salad, chips and a few cookies.