Augment of winter reasonably decipher to a season of barbecue or camping or both in the UAE and we’d be soon bidding an adieu to this climate sooner than we’d wish to. Well, we didn’t really had a winter per se, a little below 22C is abundant for outdoor activities and to ignore the fact that hot sun will forever shine on the country.  Before summer begin to heat things up and reduce our open excursions to nil, next few weeks are excellent to pull out our barbecue grills. After all, what could be more fun than gathering your loved ones for a sunny alfresco meal under the blue skies? Ofcourse, mall visits NOT.

We live in a cozy family size apartment where it is impossible to have a backyard picnic. However, parks in UAE are uber friendly when you want to plan a picnic party in any of the city’s park which also sets the mood for a rustic and carefree informal gathering with minimal costs that goes into the preparation of food, arranging the cutleries and a nominal park entrance fees starting from AED 5. However, if you are using the public space in UAE, remember that pork and alcohol should be strictly avoided. Everyone is a different kind of a host but a right planning is all it takes to turn a nice meal into an absolutely unforgettable event.

Here are some great planning tips and simple ideas {also some great organisational cues} to help you get your creative juices flowing for your next barbecue picnic.

Plan ahead:
To start with, decide a date few days in advance so you have enough time to shop for grocery and grilling accessories and scheme a menu. Spread a word or invite your friends over as it is fun that way and also make sure to get the number of people attending – it is much easier to have a count for food to avoid any wastage or shortage. And to ease the early morning anxiety, prepare as much as possible the night before – marinate the meats, chop up veggies and fruits, arrange cutlery, plates, napkins, tissues, accessories in a bag to pick up and go.

Keep it simple:
There is really no need to over-do a menu or shame in asking for help. If you really want to enjoy the company of those who are accompanying you, limit your menu to key recipes that are BBQ classics and in our experience, most people would love to contribute some dishes or drinks to share. We most often stick to tandoori chicken and grilled fish (both marinated in hung curd and homemade spices), corn on the cob (with a blend of cayenne, black salt and lime), paneer tikkas and no-mayo labneh coleslaw with addition of grilled fruits (think of spicy grilled pineapple slices) and veggies and hummus. For drinks, it is either lemon and mint mojito or ice tea.

Secure a spot:
Parks can get understandably crowded as “good” weather only last for a few months, so get there early if you can and try to get a safe shaded area to put your chairs, tables and mats on.  Most will have designated barbecue areas that always look very cluttered – we tend to avoid those. Al Mamzar beach park is one of our favorite spots in Dubai to set up our grills as they have a really spacious barbecue space in the woods which is perfectly family-friendly we have ever been, plus a children play ground that is easily accessible.

Save those cloth bags:
While we don’t believe in spending huge on picnic baskets (although it may look more classy) that we may not use for more than a couple times a year, we also prohibit plastic bags as it not only pose serious hazards to environment but also look super tacky. We save up on every cloth bag that we receive complimentary on shopping trips to utilize them for purposes like these. Also, they are sturdy enough to easily carry your picnic things around.

Don’t forget to make it fun for the kids:
While adults want to sit and eat, children want to run around. Set up some games that adults and kids alike will be equally thrilled about. Our favorites are badminton, treasure hunt, four pillars (with trees), football, dog and the bone or board games like monopoly for entertainment.

Clean-up after the act:
Always remember to clean up not only your grills to prevent it from becoming a rusty nightmare but also the outdoor space that you have used like a responsible citizen and leave it as tidy as possible for the next person.

Before summer begin to reduce our open excursions to nil, here are six simple steps to rock your next BBQ picnic, without a backyard, in UAE's open parks.

12 thoughts on “Six Steps to Rock that BBQ Picnic”

  1. Such a great topic for a blog post, it really is amazing weather to be outside at the moment. Especially loved the ‘eco’ notes and the alternative suggestions to using plastic bags. Simple changes we can all make which have a positive impact. ?

  2. This is a great list Tasneem. We love to light up the grill outdoors too. I’m surprised I haven’t taken the family out to the park this season yet and it’s already almost over. time is flying.

  3. Great tips! Planning ahead is so important and we love having BBQ parties in the park, though more and more Dubai Parks are banning BBqs which is a shame, though understandable for safety reasons. Looks like you had a great and delicious time at yours!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *