(StatePoint) If you’re like many folks, your backyard will become the heart of the home throughout the summer, as you play host to barbecues, picnics, parties and more.
To punch up your next celebration, give these tips a try.
Set the Scene
Make the task of DJ-ing simple by creating a playlist in advance, and getting your outdoor sound system set up before guests arrive. For evening parties, add ambiance to the scene by hanging string lights above your patio, pergola or wherever you want guests to dine and congregate. Tiki lights can add even more illumination to your party, while helping to keep biting bugs at bay.
Try a New Recipe
If you’ve served burgers and hot dogs at your last few gatherings, your guests have come to know what to expect. This time, surprise friends and family with new flavors using this delicious recipe for Sweet Tea Wings:
• 3 cups Milo’s Sweet Tea
• 2.5 pounds chicken wings
• 2 teaspoons garlic salt, divided
• 1.5 - 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, depending on heat preference
• 2 teaspoons garlic powder
• 2 teaspoons chili powder
• 2 teaspoons paprika
• 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
• In a medium bowl, whisk together Milo’s Sweet Tea and 2 teaspoons garlic salt; set aside. Place chicken wings in a large shallow dish. Pour Milo’s mixture over chicken; cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
• Preheat grill to medium or oven to 400 F.
• In a large bowl, combine remaining garlic salt, cayenne, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and lemon pepper. Toss chicken and spices in large ziplock bag or bowl until evenly coated.
• For grill, place wings over heat turning frequently. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees and skin is crispy.
• For oven, arrange wings on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, turning halfway through, until skin is browned and tips are crispy. Serve warm. For extra crisp, toss wings on the grill over medium-high heat for three minutes per side before serving.
Serve alongside backyard classics like macaroni salad, cole slaw, grilled veggies and iced tea or lemonade.
Iced Tea Bar
Refresh guests with a summer classic -- iced tea, but go above and beyond by creating a full-scale iced tea bar. Keep in mind that tastes vary, so be sure to include a variety of flavors -- sweet tea, no calorie tea, tea mixed with lemonade and peach tea, to name a few. As a mainstay of any outdoor gathering, be sure you are serving beverages with high-quality, fresh, natural ingredients, such as the teas offered by Milo’s, which have no added colors, acids or preservatives. Label each variety so guests can pick their favorite.
With a few twists on your standard hosting habits, you can throw the ultimate backyard gathering this season.