By D’Antrese McNeil, Navy Spouse

Summer is here, and that means great weather (if you’re a heat lover, raises hand over here) and summer gatherings. If you are anything like my family, we love to throw food on the pit and/or have pounds of crawfish ready to boil. We invite a few or a lot (depending on the occasion) friends and family over and enjoy the food, company and the sun. So how does one successfully execute an amazing summer cookout? Let me break it down for you.

Set a date…kind of

We’ve honestly never actually just planned a date; all of our summer cookouts have been formed with the following convo:

Husband: Hey babe, wanna throw some food on the pit this weekend?
Me: Sure, is this a McNeil 6 thing or a Call some peeps to mack and hang thing?

Husband: …Let’s call some peeps.
Me: Ok.

Bam cookout planned!

What to eat??

We always supply the everything; meat and things going on the grill, paper items, condiments and sides. Sometimes, we ask our guests if they can to bring a side and/or drink, but it’s not mandatory.

Whose cooking?

We make sure the person on the pit, KNOWS HOW TO BARBECUE. Let me say this, grilling and barbecuing are TWO COMPLETELY different things. That is a non -debatable fact. Also, and this is important, not everyone can make a potato salad, and in my family, if it’s not made by at least one of the three specific people who we know can make it, we will kindly decline the offer. No offense, but no one should want to answer the room deafening question “who made the potato salad?” …especially if it’s bad.


If you’re having it at your home make sure you have it prepared for guests. We like to set up a kiddie pool for the kids, a few games and sometimes, depending on the umber of kids coming, a bounce house. If you live near a base, most MWRs have rentals for bounce houses available at really affordable rates. For the adults, we honestly turn up the volume on some good music, pull out some cards, board games and dominoes and have a good time.

Anything extra?

Have your tables and tents set up if you are outside. Make sure the food is covered. We all know how flies love the heat and love food. I just watched a video on Facebook the other day where people stored food in a cooler and closed it with flies in it at a cook out. I pray no one ended up sick.

Also…just do it. Look there’s no need to over complicate something that is easy. Just plan it, enjoy it and dread the cleanup later.

What are your tips fora summer cook out? Please share them below and go to to tell us all about your base housing or local neighborhood. Which ones have a great summer cookout?

Author: D’Antrese McNeil is a PCSgrades Blogger Affiliate and a proud Mil Spouse whose husband is currently in his 8th year of naval service. She is the 2017 NAS Patuxent River Military Spouse of the Year and a stay at home mom, as well as a photographer and vlogger/blogger. Her Facebook followers are often entertained with her tales from military life to life in general. D’Antrese is a proud Houston, Texas Native. She enjoys Hip Hop, R and B and country music and is a big Foodie! Check her out on YouTube: D’Antrese Le’Chelle and FaceBook: D’Antrese Le’Chelle.