There are a lot of reasons why we love Florida so much – and one of the biggest reasons is our weather. No matter the season, we can go outside all year long. That’s why we make the outdoor spaces we do – we want you to have a place to entertain family and friends.
You can’t host Thanksgiving outside from anywhere, but you can in Florida! We pulled together our best tips for how to host an amazing Thanksgiving in your outdoor kitchen. Show off your space and make this year’s Thanksgiving the best one yet!
For Your Pets…
If you have pets that spend a lot of time in your backyard, you need to make a plan. You can’t just keep them inside during your party.
Your guests will likely need to move in and out of the house to get to the backyard and use the restroom. If you have a room where your pets can be comfortable and spend time, that might be the best solution. It’s important to keep your pets safe, comfortable, and calm while entertaining and during the holidays. They are part of the family too, right?!
‘Can They Eat’…?
You never know who might be vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, or any other kind of food-sensitive. Ask guests in advance what is needed and plan for dietary restrictions as best as you can. Make any menu adjustments, and ask your guests to bring side dishes that can be enjoyed by everyone that you’re hosting.
Outdoor-Friendly Side Dishes…
If you want to be the host with the most – it can be really difficult to do that if you’re inside, chained to your indoor kitchen while the rest of the party is happening outside.
Choose outside-friendly side dishes, maybe some you can cook on the grill so you can prepare them outside and be closer to your guests.
Salads are a good starting point as they are made easily with some counter space and kitchen tools. You can even put them in separate dishes for an easy, grab-and-go snack to start the meal. You can also plan for cooking some dishes in your outdoor kitchen while you’re entertaining (the Evo grill is perfect for cooking and entertaining at the same time).
Some of our favorite grilled side dishes are:
- Corn on the cob (check out our dining al fresco menu for 3 can’t miss seasoned butters)
- Garlic bread
- Grilled vegetables
- Stuffed mushrooms
Consider some non-traditional side dishes to make things fresher and healthier by adding grilled salads and more vegetables to your table.
If your outdoor kitchen also has a stovetop, some other side options are:
- Quinoa or Rice with sauteed vegetables
Making New Traditions…
While you’re planning your menu – maybe consider going non-traditional. You’re already eating outdoors, so why not make this an occasion to remember by trying out something different and switching up the menu. Perhaps a new tradition of making your meal potluck style and have all your guests bring something different. This is great for friend groups who are getting together as chosen family on the holiday.
If you’re going to have an early wake-up call to cook, you might as well up the flavor profile and skip simply oven-roasting turkey. You can grill turkey, ham, lamb, a roast, the options are endless on the grill! You can even grill your dessert. If you’re cooking outside – plan in advance what tools you’ll need and how much time you’ll need to prepare everything. Think about what is being cooked inside or outside and prepare what you can a day in advance so you can reheat the day of your gathering.
Consider a Cocktail Hour…
If you’re having your meal later in the day, consider a cocktail hour for your guests. Everyone can arrive a little bit early and enjoy the outdoor space. They’ll enjoy the extra mingling time together and it gives you more time to host and visit with your guests.
You can serve appetizers and small bites while waiting for the meal to finish up. It gives you extra time to finish everything up and set the dining table.
Turn Up the Heat…
This is the perfect time to use your outdoor firepit. People love to be gathered around a fire, and this is the best time to show off the pride and joy of your yard. Turn it up and let your guests get cozy as the night cools down.
After the Party…
Just because your holiday meal is over, doesn’t mean the night has to be! Plan your cleanup in case you’re cleaning up after dark; make sure that you have proper lighting around and garbage close by. Ask guests to take to-go bags then get any leftovers ready to be loaded into the refrigerator. To make cleanup quick, try to load your dishes at each stage of the meal.
When Thanksgiving winds down, be thankful and enjoy the company that you have left in your outdoor living space. Relax – you deserve it after all that hard work hosting!
Thankful for Great Outdoor Kitchens
Here at Synergy Outdoor Living, we believe that taking your Thanksgiving outdoors will take it to the next level. We build custom outdoor spaces that can be used to entertain year-round. Dining al fresco for Thanksgiving is a beautiful way to enjoy it with family & friends.
If you’re looking to build out your patio so you can host your friends and family outdoors – give us a call today. Our designers would love to give you a consultation and estimate for however you want to build your beautiful new space.