Howdy, there! In celebration of my vacation in Nashville, TN, I’m bringing you my idea of one hot southern cook-out.
1. Sweet Tea and Icy Lemonade. The cooler of Corona and Budweiser is a given, but these sweet refreshments will keep you hydrated and smiling. Keep drinks cool and easy to pour in a recycled glass jug with spout like this one from Pottery Barn. *Tulip Tip: make a tray of ice cubes with mint leaves frozen inside for that sweet tea. The leaves will look great floating around!
2. A nice crock-pot full of Spicy Pulled Pork like Pioneer Woman’s Recipe and a pretty pair of wooden tongs with which to pile it on your plate! These magnetic tongs are available at MoMA’s gift shop!
3. Home-made buttery bread. I will let this recipe say it all. Before clicking that link, you’ll need a tissue because you’ll definite drool a little.
4. Ribs are another given, but it’s the healthy stuff I’m going to advocate here. Some simple, sharp skewers for grilled veggies and a durable serving bowl to pass around the table (also looks pretty while it’s on the table) are a must to keep a balanced plate.
5. Extra seating. I love the idea of using hay bales for additional seating. Pick up a few rectangular bales from a local farm (a truck is essential if you mind hay in your trunk!). Drape festive, brightly-colored southwestern blankets on each bale. These lightweight blankets below are affordable and pretty. If you’re going for a more neutral setting, try these in a larger size so you’ll only need one to stretch across a few bales – then wash and use it on your bed.
6. An intriguing, hand-made invitation to your shindig! I love this Etsy shop’s version below. If you’re creative and resourceful, design your own using free downloadable fonts from http://www.dafont.com and a free image of wood or bark by doing a stock photo search on – you guessed it – Google! Even if you don’t have Photoshop, you can do this in MS Paint or even MS Word.
7. More finishing touches include a groovin’ country, southern rock, and bluegrass playlist. Make sure the dancin’ tunes aren’t scheduled to play during dinner. If you’re lucky to have a ‘Pick Your Own’ wildflower shop/garden in your neck of the woods, collect colorful flowers and place them in mason jars to brighten the table(s). Spice those up with some of those snarly branches I mentioned in my Desirable Dozen post. Hang up some exposed bulb string lights for a summer-y touch. Bring out red, white, and blue pop-sicles for an icy dessert. Place handfuls of sparklers in more mason jars for after the sun goes down. Last, but not least – invite someone who plays the guitar. No singing required, but it’s a nice backdrop to late night conversations. And heck, if those beers are running low, the vocals might make an appearance.