How to have a barbecue without your neighbors hating you

Preparation is everything when you’re hosting a barbecue. Ensure that the barbecue is lit and ready before guests arrive, so that they’re not waiting around feeling famished while you try to locate the matches.

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Provide enough comfortable seats for all guests – they won’t be able to enjoy themselves as much if they’re having to juggle food and drink. Make sure there is plenty of shade; if you are fortunate enough to have good weather, the sun may be hazardous. Provide plenty of water; it will keep your guests hydrated, and may prolong the supply of chilled beer and wine. Similarly, have a wet-weather plan and indoor seating in case of showers.

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Be aware of your neighbours and try to position the barbecue so that smoke doesn’t drift into other people’s gardens. You can pre-empt the problem altogether by inviting them. 

Barbecuing can bring out a chef’s baser tendencies towards one-upmanship, but competition over marinade ingredients and grilling techniques should only ever be initiated with tongue firmly in cheek. Make sure you prepare a vegetarian option for those who don’t eat meat.

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