From fantastic fresh cocktails to sensational seasonal dishes, there’s an art to throwing a beautiful summer BBQ in the OC. Boasting about 278 sunny days each year, Orange County’s weather provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy summery weather year-round. So, no matter what kind of celebration is on this season’s calendar, here are a few tips to help make your next fête unforgettable. 

Summer is Served - Celebrate SoCal’s bountiful summer harvest by serving up dishes that highlight the season’s brightest flavors. This grilled salmon with lime and avocado-mango salsa and coconut rice has the perfect amount of tropical zest, and this grilled flank steak pairs beautifully with summer veggies like corn, zucchini and tomatoes. 

Game Time - Beat the heat (and get competitive) with a refreshing game of water balloon dodgeball—all you need is good aim and a swatch of flat lawn. If you prefer beach over grass, check out 35105 Beach Road, which opens onto a game-friendly stretch of sand. For a slightly more tame contest, set up a giant open air Pictionary match using a DIY chalkboard, which can come in handy for future backyard games throughout the summer. 

On-Demand Delicious - Grilling all day can be fun, but when the moment calls for complete relaxation, call in the pros and host a meal in a spacious outdoor room, like the central patio at Laguna Beach’s Ed Lohrbach-designed estate at 4 Emerald Bay—it’s perfectly peaceful and offers a refreshing ocean breeze. San Juan Capistrano’s Bad to the Bone BBQ can deliver pulled pork (or grill it on-site) along with a side of chocolate pecan pie, while Richard Jones Pit BBQ in Santa Ana can serve up chopped brisket on fresh rolls and homemade macaroni salad (among other things).  

Sips of Summer - A sunny summer day is the perfect time to grab a lounger and a cocktail and put your feet up—the oceanview back patio of the 6,500 square-foot 2001 Tahuna Terrace in Irvine is made for this moment. Embrace the season by sipping a sweet pineapple-sake sangria with jalapeño or a bright, freshly shaken cucumber margarita with salt. We’ll cheers to that.