Heating up the BBQ! Summer Entertaining Essentials

Although most people have probably already hosted at least one summer BBQ (I think we're on #10 or something!), I thought I would give a quick rundown of my summer BBQ serving essentials.  Most stores have all of their summer stuff on clearance, so now is a great time to stock up for the rest of this summer and many summers in the future.

All of my outdoor duty pieces are plastic of some sort for the durability.  I replaced most of my pieces this year after 7 or 8 years with the last set.  I bought more neutral pieces this time because I feel they'll have more longevity.  I found most of these pieces at HomeGoods fairly early in the season when everything was "full" price but they had a good selection. 

Here are some of my other favorite pieces.

Here's quick rundown of what's in the picture above - 
  1. Large white melamine tray - an absolute essential for carrying condiments, plates, silverware, etc. from inside the house to the screen porch, patio, or grill. (HomeGoods)
  2. Plastic plates (8) - much greener than disposable plates, more durable (holds a lot of corn on the cob) (Target)  -  Note:  I actually have 10 other plastic plates for larger parties.  I use recyclable disposable plates if we have more than 20 guests - my dishwasher isn't big enough!
  3. Large bowls (3) - great for 10 lbs of potato salad, green salads, or bags of chips. (HomeGoods)
  4. Small bowls (2) - perfect for dips, goldfish crackers for the kiddies, or condiments and sauces. (HomeGoods)
  5. Platters (2) - serve up burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, corn on the cob, or brownies. (Christmas Tree Shops - eons ago!)
  6. Ice bucket - critical for cold drinks on hot days! (Target)
  7. Other interesting pieces - the divided dish pictured above works really well for crackers, cheese, condiments, etc.; the elongated bowl platter holds chips, watermelon slices, or a huge pile of cookies! (HomeGoods)
  8. Serving utensils (pictured below) - Not a necessity for outside but really fun and I even use them inside sometimes.  

I also have an assortment of boring clear plastic cups, margarita glasses, and pitchers which are great to have on hand but not very fun to photograph!

What are your favorite outdoor serving pieces?