Late Summer Cookout Essentials

How this season's gear can make al fresco events easier

At the beach, as the sun sets on the horizon, it can seem that the world goes on quietly forever. Those summer nightswhen the sand has cooled down, the coolers are full of beers and cocktail accoutrement, and the grill is a colorful display of seasonal producefeel incredibly fleeting. Of course, summer doesn’t cease to exist when its final day arrivesjust for another 272 days. During that time, grills, beach umbrellas, and shorts will be packed away, only to return next season.

To bid the season proper farewellas the end approacheswe suggest heading to the nearest beach with your best pals and best gear, to cook and drink until the sun sets. And maybe even stick around well beyond then.

Building any sort of fire on the beachespecially if you’re, as most people prefer to be, near the wateris illegal and difficult. Leaving the task of regulating a fire up to a system designed to be efficient, solar-powered, and smokeless is a wise and environmentally-friendly decision. The new BioLite FirePit ($200) is an innovative and portable alternative to other more unruly fire sources. The pit is controllable via its own iOS appa fan on the end of the pit pulls oxygen in and directs it to the fire’s innermost burn to create a more efficient, and smokeless, flame. Mesh lining lets the party watch the flame while, and when youre done, cooking. An attachable grill rackwith raised bumpers to prevent losing anything to wind or unstable sandturns the pit into a hibachi grill. It packs tightly into an accompanying bag with a solar panel on top for charging the fan.

The pit is an easy start. Forgetting a piece in the beachside-BBQ puzzle could leave the party unhappy or, in the worst case, unfed. It’s best to bring some sort of seating; even if the sand is an ample resting place, some guests may prefer a spot out of the pesky particle’s reach. Alites four-legged, Mantis Chair is an ample, collapsable alternative for those folks. The brand is known for its personality-filled patterns and this one is no exceptionand, their upcoming line is full of even more of them.

For the down-for-the-ground crowd, a Rumpl Zendigo Blanket ($129) is an ideal option. With a shell made from odor-, stain- and weather-resistant 20D ripstop nylon, it’s durable and can take a few wine spills. Plus it’s insulated (similarly to a sleeping bag) so makes for a comfier picnic.

Doing any sort of food preparation on plates in the sand is probably not the best idea. It’s best to keep meats or produce sand-freeat least with concerted effort. Snowpeak makes a collapsible wooden table ($330) in two sizes. There is more than enough space on top to accommodate a service or prep stationand it is sturdy enough to do so, too.

Prepping, or moving food from grill to table and vice versa, requires the necessary tools. Dont just dig for your least-coveted kitchen tools to take with. Invest in a couple of sets of beach-ready, BBQ-friendly ones. Ones like Snowpeak’s Three-Piece Titanium Set ($90) which includes a poker, shovel, and tongs. Or, the collapsible Wakubi Chopsticksa brilliant reminder of the brand’s Japanese roots.

No matter the simplicity of your evening’s menu, post-meal clean-up ideally won’t require ocean water or a dish bag. Remembering to bring your biodegradable plates and utensils will make tidying up easyand the inevitable losing of a few items in the sand guilt-free. Verterra has a vast collection of environmentally-friendly options. Their Party Pack ($195) includes plenty of serving trays, plates, bowls, forks, knives and more.

If you’re hosting the evening and want to arrive early enough to prepare your preferred plot of sand, carrying all of this requires bringing a bag big enough, but not one that’s burdensome. Tuck all of the evening’s odds and ends into one of Mystery Ranch’s Bindle totes ($65). With 19L of storage, two interior zippered pockets, and a durable poly-canvas exterior, its an excellent way to carry a lot without carrying a lot.

During set-up, the rest can stay in the car: for example, those two coolers that transported the beverages and the foodat food-safety compliant temperatures, of course. Two fit for that job (both in size and quality) are the Tundra 65 and 35 from Yeti. The 65, at max capacity, fits 42 cans of beeror the evenings meal and then some. But, to stay food-safety compliant, there should be no mixing of raw or uncooked items and pre-prepared things. So, the Yeti 35with a capacity of 21 beersshould be reserved for these; whether they may be pre-dinner snacks, condiments, or the ingredients of a select cocktailmaybe a gin one.

It’s a beach party, once the guests arrive, but there should be time for plenty of pre- and post-dinner swims or surfs. Once in party-mode though, fancy-up your beach look with a pair of all-black Malibu Zuma Sandals ($110) for a functional and stylish final touch.

Images courtesy of respective brands