Entertaining : Our Last Minute Summer Cookout + Recipes

last minute summer cookout

If you sometimes end up being a last minute hostess, then you’re going to love this summer cookout with recipes. It will show you that you really CAN pull together a stylish and delicious gathering with minimal notice!

Over the years I’ve hosted a lot of parties – casual, formal, themed – and they usually take weeks or months to pull together. The thing I’ve noticed though, is that some of the most fun parties have been the ones we pulled together at the last minute with a few close friends. Everyone has a free schedule, everyone pitches in and brings food, and everyone is in a relaxed ‘have a good time’ mood.

Over Memorial day weekend we had a last minute casual cookout to welcome summer, and I think it turned out pretty fabulous on 24 hours notice – and I know it was fun! We provided the meats, potato salad, and a dessert, while friends filled in with other side sishes and sweets. Here are the pics I snapped before everyone arrived, along with details of the day.

Summer cookout table1 Summer 13 042 (2) Summer cookout detailsstamped bamboo forksSummer cookout table setting

Summer Cookout Seated Table

  • Setting up a table for 6 was pretty easy. I recently purchased this pretty red fabric from Hobby Lobby and layered it onto the table. I used square melamine plates I got last year at Target, and red napkins.
  • I did do a little bit of “crafting” on Sunday morning to perk things up a bit. I used a stamp and red ink to dress up some bamboo forks I had, and spray painted 3 ‘up-cycled’ cans white, to hold some flowers for a centerpiece.
  • I went through my scrapbook paper collection and found a modern red and white print that I cut out circles from, and used them as toppers for my canning jars. I punched a hole in the top and pushed a straw through for the perfectly sized drinking glasses.
  • A big bunch of flowers in red and white {from the grocery store trip} is all that was needed to finish the table.

Come see how I hosted a last minute summer cookout with recipes to help make it delicious!For your summer cookout, grill mini burgers and small sausage links so guests can have both without getting too full.See how I hosted a last minute summer cookout with style!See how I hosted a last minute summer cookout with style!Put hamburger and hot dog condiments in glass votives and use Popsicle stick to spread. See how I hosted a last minute summer cookout with style!Come see how I hosted a last minute summer cookout with recipes to help make it delicious!Serve this sherbet fizz for dessert at a summer cookout.Come see how I hosted a last minute summer cookout with recipes to help make it delicious!

Summer Cookout Food & Recipes

  • I ran to the store Saturday night for groceries and picked up meat to make my favorite juicy burger recipe. Instead of the usual hot dogs, I chose sausages so we could have mini versions of sausage, peppers, and onions. I made the burgers smaller too, so people could have a burger and a sausage dog without getting too full.
  • I recently bought some gourmet mustard {chipotle and dill flavored} and set those out with ketchup and mayonnaise. I put them inside my good old glass votive containers and lined them up on a wooden paddle I had picked up from Target’s $1 aisle.
  • I got a little crafty again, by stamping condiment labels. I used Popsicle sticks from the craft store, and the sticks doubled as spreaders!
  • I also made my potato salad Sunday morning and let it sit and marinate all day.
  • Mini berry cobblers were easy to make, and the crumble topping MADE them.  Get the recipe below.
  • Iced Tea was served from milk bottles, and wedges of watermelon were a must.
  • The kids enjoyed some yummy sherbet fizzy sodas {raspberry sherbet + ginger ale}, while we grown ups made an adult version of the same.

Here’s the recipe for my all purpose topping for any fruit crumble/cobbler dessert:

Make this all purpose dessert crumble topping and you can make a variety of cobblers or other fruity desserts.

All Purpose Dessert Crumble Topping

  • 1/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 Tablespoons quick cooking /old fashioned oats
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Mix all dry ingredients together, and combine well. Add melted butter and mix until moistened through.

Sprinkle topping over cobbler and bake until filling is bubbly and topping is browned.

Makes six mini desserts, or 1 9×9 pan. Double recipe as needed.

This was a lot of fun and we stayed up laughing and sipping until past midnight.  I guess the big tip here is to have things on hand that you can pull out at a moments notice.  Stamping sets, spray paint, clean up-cycled cans, fabric, etc.


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  1. says

    You are so amazingly talented, Chris! I agree with you on last minute get togethers – sometimes they are the best (also because the host/hostess doesn’t stress so much in advance :-) I adore the sandwich display and the condiment set! I have the same Target beer paddles and can’t wait to host a beer tasting to use them :-) We’re finally moving to the new house in 2 weeks!!

    • Chris says

      Thank you Flavia. Congrats on the move. I know you’ll be so happy to get in and get settled. All the best on the move!

  2. says

    Awesome party look! I literally salivated 😛 I love how everything is put together, the red is ideal for a summer party, and maybe you could use the same theme for the party invitations too. Thanks for the crumble recipe, will give it a go one of these weekends!

  3. says

    I love a last minute get-together. No pressure to have the house look perfect. Just some easy to make food and fun beverages. Great ideas for quick decor, too. It’s amazing what a little spray paint can do. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  4. Shelly Andresen says

    Love this! Wondering where to buy the bamboo forks or some sort of wood flatware…ever since my first visit to Sprinkles Cupcakes, I’m dying to use the cute wood flatware instead of plastic at parties. Help! Please? Thank you!

    • Chris says

      Shelly these are available at Party City. They have an “eco friendly” section of bamboo plates with these utensils, etc.

  5. Melinda says

    Soo cute!! Did you make the mini burger/ hotdog rolls or buy them? Thinking about doing this for a baby bbq shower next month and would like to be able to buy them possibly? Thanks!

    • Chris says

      Thanks Melinda. I bought the rolls in the bakery section. Not traditional “hot dog” or “hamburger” rolls but work just the same, and even tastier!

  6. says

    Love last minute parties as sometimes those are the ones that turn out best! You did a great job on this one and lobe the colors you used. Loving the flowers and the little details like the stamps on the utensils.