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5 Fun Ways to Use Social Media for Your Summer Cookout

5 Fun Ways to Use Social Media for Your Summer Cookout


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Get everyone in on the fun with these cool new social media tricks

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Keep the hashtag fun but short. When hosting a summer cookout, you’re the disc jockey, the grillmaster, the mixologist, and the host. The hashtag will allow your friends to be the photographer and join the conversation.

Keep it Social!

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Keep the hashtag fun but short. The hashtag will allow your friends to be the photographer and join the conversation.

#TEASE

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There is a lot of hard work that goes along with planning a summer cookout, from trendy décor to your market trip. Tease your friends and upload a photo of your shopping basket from your trip to the local market.

#FASHION

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If you prefer to dress really stylish, set the tone by Instagramming a photo of your outfit inspirations.

#PREP

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The night before your cookout, create a Snapchat story. Get your guests excited by showing them how you prep their cocktails.

#DIY

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There’s an entire DIY community on social media. Make sure to capture any DIY task performed, whether it’s the floral arrangement you created or the table runner you made with textiles sourced from the local fabric store.

#Contests

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Food porn has become a huge trend. Why not create a contest around it? Award a bottle of rosé for the road to the guest who food styles their plate the best and shares photos using the hashtag.


18 Fun Social Media Marketing Ideas to Spice Up Your Social Media Campaigns

One of the hardest parts of managing your company’s social media campaigns is coming up with fresh social media marketing ideas.

Your audience looks to your brand to provide quality content, but it can certainly be challenging to come up with new and engaging social media content on a regular basis.

Luckily, you have us to help!

We’ve put together a huge list of our favorite social media marketing ideas that you can use to engage your fans and followers throughout the year.

From developing unique video content marketing to using more emojis .

These ideas will help you provide more diverse and appealing content, no matter what kind of business you run.


5 Tips for Your Summer Family Cookout

MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - Jul 5, 2016) - (Family Features) Are your backyard barbecues feeling humdrum? Spice up your summer cookout with fun-filled games, grilled treats and more. With these five ideas, you can turn your backyard into a summer bonanza for the entire family:

1. Add ambiance to your evening.
Take your cookout into the sunset and light it up to continue your gathering into the evening. String some whimsical lights around tree branches, place along the picnic tables or wrap along the back fence. With some summer jams playing and an added glow to your space, you'll make family memories throughout the night.

2. Cook out in style.
Grill your meat and veggies in style by piecing all your favorite items together to build scrumptious kabobs. Grab some pineapple chunks, veggies and meat, and have the kids help piece together their own kabobs for the cookout.

3. Take S'mores beyond the campfire.
What better way to celebrate summer than to combine smooth Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars, crunchy graham crackers and sweet marshmallows to create a delicious taste experience for the entire family? You can even make them right on the grill . Or, if you're in the mood to try something different, whip up S'mores Dip and share your creation using the hashtag #HelloHershey.

4. Make sweet table weights.
Fill mason jars with Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolate s for an easy DIY solution to hold down the corners on your tablecloths. You can even give them away as favors for your guests to take home.

5. Bring back childhood games.
Challenge the kids to an old favorite, like kickball, tag or even a water gun fight. Bring everyone outside by hosting a competition for the whole neighborhood. With all of the delicious food coming off the grill, a game is a great way to get everyone moving after dinner.

For more gooey, chocolatey recipes and fun summer ideas, visit Hersheys.com.

S'mores Dip
Prep time: 6 minutes
Makes: 1 cup

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars (1.55 ounces)

cup miniature marshmallows

graham crackers, for serving

Heat oven to 350 F. Remove wrappers from chocolate bars break into pieces.

Place chocolate pieces and heavy cream in microwave-safe and ovenproof ramekin or cassolette. Microwave 30 seconds on medium stir. If necessary, microwave 10 seconds more and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Cover surface of chocolate mixture with marshmallows. Heat in oven 10-12 minutes, or until marshmallows are puffed and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven cool 5 minutes. Serve with graham cracker pieces.

Note: Recipe amounts can be increased or decreased. Each chocolate bar used will require 1 tablespoon heavy cream.

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Get the Hardest Working Grill for All Your Meats

No matter how much fun your games are or how tasty your margarita mix is, the true key for a shindig’s success is a delicious meal and the grill that can make it. If it’s time to retire your rusted-out grill, invest in a cutting edge smoker that cooks your meat to perfection and seals in the flavor you love. You won’t just get your guests thanking you—your stomach will too!

2020 is set to be the perfect summer for warm and fun nights, and we want to help you bring all that fun to your backyard. Give the grillmasters at Cookshack a call today at ( 580) 765-3669 or visit us online to see our line of industry-leading smokers and grills.


70+ authentic recipes for your Juneteenth Cookout

Along with my favorite black bloggers, I’m participating in the 2020 Juneteenth Cookout Takeover.

Juneteenth (a merge of the words/date June Nineteenth) marks the June 19, 1865, the emancipation of the last enslaved people in Galveston, Texas.

And for over 150 years since, Black American families, home-cooks, chefs, and culinarians have commemorated the summer holiday with a wide range of food traditions that tell a story of the perseverance of a people.

This initiative was established to encourage the celebration of Juneteenth – a jubilee of freedom to commemorate the end of slavery – and to amplify the food traditions of black culinary creatives.

The foods in this list come from all over the African Diaspora. So many of the recipes are classic to our cultures. They range from appetizers to desserts.

For me, even growing up in Texas, I never celebrated Juneteenth much. We had the cookout at church, but it was honestly never a celebration that was taught to us in school, or highlighted in history books.

Knowing the significance helps me observe the holiday and hold the meaning of it much closer.

I hope you incorporate them into some of your cooking – not just on Juneteenth, but always.

Check out their recipes and what Juneteenth means each one of us.


12 Patriotic Virtual 4th of July Party Ideas for 2020

Just because you can't get together with the gang IRL on the 4th doesn't mean you can't have a blast with them.

If there ever has been a Independence Day to celebrate America and its citizens, it's this one. After all, 2020 hasn't been an easy year for our country, or just about anyone in it. Sure, we can still fire up the grill with the best 4th of July recipes and figure out where to watch fireworks from a distance, but most of us could really use a good shindig with our extended family and friends right about now. Of course, getting together IRL is still mostly a no-no. Luckily, thanks to some nifty technological advances and serious out-of-the-box thinking, we've come to the rescue with a dozen virtual 4th of July party ideas.

From ingenious ways to break bread together online, to cool tours of historical sites your can access from your laptop, we've got you covered with ways you can virtually honor America, and have a darn good time doing it, too. We've even put together game and contest suggestions that can help keep you connected to the gang&mdashas long as you remember to update scores on social media! While we still wish we could watch fireworks burst overhead hand in hand with loved ones, these virtual 4th of July party ideas will make our celebrations the next best thing to being there.

Whether you're spreading a checked blanket in a sunny park or feasting under a sky full of fireworks, no other holiday says "picnic" quite like Independence Day. Instead of abandoning tradition this year, why not plan a picnic basket swap? The idea is that each participating family, friend, or neighbor drops off a basket filled with classic 4th fare like ribs, potato salad, and cupcakes at a participant's house. Pick a time for the virtual picnic to begin, and then set up a Zoom conference so everyone can enjoy the goodies together.

While life under quarantine has become challenging in many ways, one thing that has improved for many of us is our access to museums. Institutions from sea to shining sea have thrown open their doors digitally, offering free online looks at their exhibits. This 4th, you can celebrate the holiday by delving deeper into the history of our country with virtual visits to NASA, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, George Washington's Mount Vernon, and the Statue of Liberty, among others.

Just because you're socially distancing doesn't mean you can't throw a 4th-themed movie watch party. Browser extensions like Netflix Party, twoseven, Scener, and Metastream enable you to synch videos on various streaming platforms, and&mdashdepending on the app&mdashadd group text or video chat features, too. Look for patriotic family-friendly flicks to share, from classics including Yankee Doodle Dandy, to newer hits, like Independence Day and An American Tale.

There is arguably no city more crucial to the creation of our country than Philadelphia. After all, it was the first capital of the United States, and it's where our founding fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Articles of Confederation. Build time into your virtual 4th party to check out iconic City of Brotherly Love historical sights like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Betsy Ross House with Visit Philadelphia's nifty online tour, which includes video, narration and 360-degree photos.

There's no word yet on whether Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, one of the nation's most celebrated (if tummy-churning) Independence Day events, will go on as planned. But even if it is cancelled, there's no use weeping over uneaten wieners. Instead, set up your own hot dog-dining challenge, and share it through Instagram stories. That way all the evidence of the event will disappear after 24 hours&mdashand, let's be honest, that's probably a good thing.

For creative family fun on the 4th, make stars-and-striped-themed crafts like blue and red sun catchers, popsicle stick flags, and patriotic wind socks. Broadcast the project on Facebook Live, so the gang can follow along.

It's never a bad idea to ponder the values this country was founded on, especially in demanding times like these. This 4th, ask your older kids to read the Declaration of Independence aloud, and consider Facetiming what's sure to be a touching event to friends and family. Or, invite a representative from each family to take a turn reading. By the document's end there might not be a dry eye in the house.

It wouldn't be Independence Day without sparklers, and this is the perfect year to light up the night&mdashand your loved ones' faces&mdashby writing their name in the air with a sparkler. Text a video of the event to them, or&mdasheven better&mdashuse a long exposure app for a photo that shows their name burning gold in the dark, as if by magic.

Whether it's a water balloon fight, or a corn hole match, the 4th of July is all about outdoor games. With baseball's opening day not yet announced, you might even want to set up a little sandlot so the kids can swing away. Be sure to Tweet updates as the score changes so friends and family can cheer on the teams.

There are a lot of us who would never consider using the words "run" and "fun" in the same sentence. But 5K 4th runs&mdashwhich can usually involve simply strolling&mdashhave been exploding in popularity. More recently, online groups have begun offering a wealth of virtual runs that anyone can join and do at their own pace, anywhere in the country. So why not grab the kids and get the party started with a dose of fresh air, sunshine and good, old-fashioned exercise?

A porch potluck is similar to a picnic basket swap, except everyone drops off their best Independence Day-themed dish at each participant's house. You'll still want to do a Zoom session when you sit down to eat, so you can share the experience&mdashand by meal's end you'll probably be really grateful if you fit that 5K into the holiday.

While many fireworks displays this year remain in limbo or outright cancelled, there are some cities, like Boston and Nashville, which have confirmed they are going forward with televised events that will include previously recorded material, as well as live performances. Arrange for the whole gang to tune in, and then set up a conference call so you can all "ooooh and "ahhhh" together.


Short Excursions to Bring on the Summer Fun

4 – Take your team out to lunch

Pick a restaurant within walking distance and take a short walk with your team to get there. Your walk is a great opportunity for team building.

  • Have a scavenger hunt on your way.
  • Pick some topics to get to know each other.
  • Mix up teams by sending different teams on different routes to your destination.

Our team likes to get together at a local brewery and spend some time just talking. We enjoy getting to know each other at a local brewery or restaurant. If you can’t take the team out to a restaurant, take your team out for a picnic lunch just outside the office at a local park or even on your office lawn. Check out some icebreakers that will make your picnic even more fun.

5 – Create a scavenger hunt (either inside or outside your office – preferably outside!)

I know we talked about scavenger hunts in the last item, but this is a dedicated scavenger hunt. The idea is that you will give your team competition that will involve traveling around the office, and hopefully, they will engage with one another in the spirit of playful competitive banter. Hide stations around the office that will have checkpoints or even other clues. Give them clue #1, then make them find the rest of the clues. If your team is anything like mine was when we did this, you will have a ball giving each other hints as to where to find other clues, talking about what stations you’ve found, or taking a break on the lawn. Take a look at teambonding.com’s list of tips to create your own office scavenger hunt.

6 – Mount a wellness challenge for your team

Summer is by far the best time to get in shape. Swimming, walking, biking, hiking, and even windsurfing are great activities that can be done in a ton of different locations. If you can afford it, give your team some flex time during the summer to provide them with the option to get outside and exercise. Better yet, offer them an incentive to do so. Find a cool prize that your team would enjoy. Maybe a gym membership for six months (for those horrific winter months), perhaps a fitness gift basket that includes a yoga mat, water bottle, hand weights, and resistance bands. Maybe you can even provide a leisure activity like movie tickets and dinner for the winner!

All you have to do is provide your team with a method to track their exercise. Have them email you a selfie after they’re done working out with the amount of time their workout lasted. Provide them with a log that they can fill out. You could even get your employees to show the world how they get out and exercise using social media – if you are so inclined. Use a hashtag and the person who posts the most exercise photos wins the challenge. Set a daily limit and let them go wild! Use Huffington Post’s list of 50 Summer Activities to Burn 50 Calories to put out some ideas for your employees.


Late Summer Cookout

OK, I’ll admit it, I am a clearance and thrift store hound. Who doesn’t love a great bargain? Especially a bargain on something you have never known you might want before! Such was the case as I found these really interesting little dishes on the clearance rack at one of my favorite haunts. They were 98 cents each. I bought all eight.

So, what are they? They are dipping sauce dishes, mostly used in Asian cooking, but I had another idea. I will probably use them in the future for something like egg rolls, but right now I am in cookout mode. Summer is winding down, and my favorite time of year is right around the corner. So, time for a cookout for two.

I set the outdoor veranda table with the fruit and leaf placemats with matching napkins. The wooden napkin rings were perfect for this setting. Basic white plates, with the cherry salad plates on top.

The colors went well with the placemats. Adding glasses, flatware and salt/pepper completed the settings.

The centerpiece was also a fruit themed planter, with the end of season Johnny Jump-Ups showing their last blooms of the season. I used my little ceramic board to announce the menu.

Boneless pork ribs were seasoned with garlic salt and lemon pepper.

DH grilled them, and later said that not having barbeque sauce dripping on the grill was nice. I filled the dipping sauce dishes and set them back on the table.

I planned to use barbeque sauce in one of the wells in the sauce dish, but discovered that I had run out. So our sauces were teriyaki, horseradish and worchestershire steak sauce.

It was fun to dip the individual bites of grilled pork into the different sauces while enjoying the meal and the view. I served the meat with sea-salt baked potatoes and a lovely salad with the last of my garden lettuce. We found that the little sauce dishes worked better sitting on the plate as the salad was set to the side.

It was a nicely cool evening, and we enjoyed a lovely sunset after our meal. The rain cleared off, so the clouds were beautifully lit by the waning light.

Have you ever used a dipping sauce for a meal at home? Do you have any little specialty dishes like these?


Baked German Potato Salad

Sabrina S. Baksh / Regarding BBQ, Inc.

Your guests will love this fresh take on German-style potato salad. You will roast fingerling potatoes and onions to caramelize and crisp them, then toss with bacon in an oil, vinegar, and honey dressing. You may never go back to potato salad made with boiled potatoes and mayo.


5 Outdoor Dinner Party Ideas

When the weather's great, the outdoors beckons. One of the great warm-weather rituals is the outdoor meal. Whether you're having a casual picnic or an elegant tented dinner, eating outside always seems like a special event.

Having an outdoor dinner party can be as simple as throwing some meat and veggies on the grill and calling the neighbors over, or, in the case of an elegant outdoor soiree, it can involve some planning. Before you get ready to entertain outdoors, it helps to prepare, so ask yourself these questions:

  • How formal will the party be?
  • Will it have a theme, and if so, what is it?
  • Will we cook inside, outside or hire a chef?
  • Will we have entertainment?

Deciding your party's level of formality will help guide your other decisions, but selecting a theme could be tough. Here are five ideas that will spark your imagination and set the stage for an incredible outdoor party.

Outdoor cocktail parties are a perfect way for a novice party-thrower to get her feet wet. With a cocktail party, you don't need to worry about preparing a full meal -- just set up a bar and have some snacks on hand.

An outdoor cocktail hour can also be a prelude to an indoor dinner party. This opening act is especially good on days when the weather is being a little temperamental, or when it's a bit cool.

When throwing an outdoor cocktail party, it's helpful to have the drinks and snacks on a table or cart. Don't forget a bucket of ice, and use a large container to keep wine chilled. Find a recipe for a special cocktail for the evening. Be sure to include drink tags for the glasses.

Create a place where your friends will want to linger. Seating with comfortable cushions, ambient music and twinkly outdoor lights can set the proper mood for a good time.

Are your closets and shelves stuffed with things you don't use any longer? Consider hosting a potluck swap meet party, and your guests can help provide the food and fun.

Ask everyone to bring a side dish or dessert, as well as one or two small items they'd like to trade, such as old housewares or books. Tag each item with the original owner's name.

In setting up your outdoor space, create four distinct areas:

Keep these areas separate to encourage mingling.

After everyone's eaten, hold your swap meet. Set parameters ahead of time:

  • Whether everyone must take home something
  • What happens if two people want the same item
  • Where unwanted items will be donated

Then stand back and share in the fun!

A warm day can make you hungry for barbecue, so get out there and light up the grill!

The great thing about grilling outside is that you can use the grill to prepare your entire meal. Meat, vegetables, fruit and even dessert taste great cooked over an open fire. Share your hamburger recipe. Make kabobs with meat and vegetables. Bake a cobbler on the grill.

Give the day a picnic feel by using strategies that will also keep cleanup simple. A butcher paper "tablecloth" can be a no-fuss way to set the table, and children can color on it while they wait for their food. Disposable plates and cutlery will also help you "cheat" when cleaning up.

Outdoor parties don't have to be casual affairs. Turn any outdoor space into an elegant setting for a special-occasion dinner. Place your table under a tent or canopy and cover it with a classic linen tablecloth. Use the fine china.

Pay special attention to lighting to make your dinner stand out. Try some of these lighting techniques:

  • Candles or candelabras on the table
  • Paper lanterns draped among the trees
  • Sparkling holiday lights draping around the canopy

Food for this type of dinner party should also be special. Bring out your best recipes or even consider hiring a personal chef to create an unforgettable menu.

If a fun day at the beach leaves you famished, stake out your own little slice of beachfront property and throw a clambake. Find a section of beach where you're able to dig a fire pit to cook your meal. Traditional New England clambakes involve cooking clams, lobster, corn, potatoes and sausage in the seaweed-lined pit using hot stones.

In setting your table, use environmental elements to maintain that feel of the beach. Use a natural colored tablecloth and scatter shells on the table for decoration. Gather large pieces of driftwood for makeshift seats. Also be sure to keep any additional sides or snacks covered so that sand doesn't blow on them.

If you don't live near the beach, you can recreate the clambake experience by using a stovetop or grill-top smoker to cook your seafood feast.

Personal chefs generally charge per person, per entree or per serving. Some may also charge for the price of groceries. You'll want to know the chef's culinary background. Talking with the chef and reviewing his menus will help you know whether his specialties match your needs. A personal chef should also have extensive food safety training and liability insurance. And be sure to check the chef's references. [Source: American Personal & Private Chef Association]