Setting up a buffet is the most kid-friendly way to entertain, and is sure to please everyone. Even picky eaters will find something to like with a table full of tasty options. Food is self-serve, paper plates are totally acceptable, and the menu is usually made of up make-ahead items, or those that can be cooked quickly at the last minute.
I always host a small party to say farewell to summer, and while I begin the season with a Canada Day party, I like to end it with something simpler. Here’s my ideal buffet outdoor party menu for late summer, a make-ahead feast that can be prepped a day or so in advance, and warmed just before serving.
The Main Dish:
Pulled pork sandwiches are hit with almost everyone. Set up the items self-serve style and let your guests build their own sandwiches.
- Roasted pork shoulder
- Barbecue Sauce
- Crusty buns or sweet potato biscuits
- Pickled jalapenos
- Dill pickles
- Bread and butter pickles
Choose two or three of the following options, but be sure to pick at least one ‘fresh’ item to help offset the richness of the main dish.
- Potato salad
- Fresh cut garden veggies and dip
- Baked mac n’ cheese
- Big green salad
- Potato chips
- Corn on the cob
- Sweet potato fries
- Baked beans
To make things easy on yourself, serve pitchers instead of individual portions, except for beer, and be sure to offer at least a few non-alcoholic options.
Keep things simple and serve seasonal desserts like pie, crisps, crumbles or bars — store-bought is fine — topped with vanilla ice cream. Or make the easiest cake ever that’s sure to please the entire crowd.