Take the Party Outside

by Carter Worrell - July/August 2008

A few ideas for a summer soiree

Lowcountry Cookers P.D.Q. Condo Cooker

The Original P.D.Q. Cooker has basically stayed the same since it was first made in 1972, yet this classic patio piece is still the undefeated, ultimate grilling champion. This midsize model is ideal for family meals or smaller backyard cookouts. The name P.D.Q.—Pretty Darn Quick—pays homage to only one of the cooker’s powers: In addition to drastically cutting cooking time, the cooker’s design channels indirect reflective heat so efficiently that everything from porterhouse to portobello cooks evenly without so much as a quick flip. The cooker’s state-of-the-art technology is hidden within gleaming stainless steel, and the hand-forged construction should keep you—and your children— from ever buying another grill again. $1,950; lowcountrycookers.com

Louisiana Crawfish Boil

1. Bayou Classic 100-quart aluminum stockpot

The extra-large Bayou Classic is handy for boiling crawfish for a large group. The pot’s added thickness helps prevent burning the goods. $156; cajunwholesale.com

2. Perlis Crawfish Polo

NOLA Casual? With its crawfish logo, this classic shirt from New Orleans–based Perlis combines comfort and style for a laid-back boil. $45; perlis.com

3. Williams-Sonoma Rub-away Odor Remover

Whether you are preparing a feast for guests or chowing down yourself, neutralize the smell of garlic, onion, and fish on your hands with this stainless steel “soap.” $8; select Williams-Sonoma locations

4. Louisiana Crawfish Company

This company ships the freshest crawfish overnight and includes its signature seasoning for an easy-to-prepare boil. $3–$6/lb.; lacrawfish.com

5. Abita Strawberry Harves

Ripe strawberries are a favorite summer fruit, so pair your seafood with a strawberry-infused local brew. Hurry, though: This seasonal ale is only available in summer! Prices vary; abita.com

The Texas Barbeque

1. Cooper’s Mail Order BBQ

Bring the true taste of Texas to your table—wherever you are—with Cooper’s famous ribs, brisket, pork chops, smoked sausage, or a tempting combo like the Texas Spread or the Pit Stop. Prices vary; coopersbbq.com

2. Lowcountry cookers P.D.Q Condo Cooker

See above for information and pricing.

3. Clark’s Outpost BBQ Sauce

Real Texans know that Clark’s Outpost is the secret to finger-lickin’ BBQ. The Texas Twin Pack includes two pints of sauce and a shaker of rub. $18; clarksoutpost.com

4. Stetson Cowboy Hat

Take shade and look the part under an authentic handcrafted cowboy hat. $38; stetsonhat.com

5. Le Creuset BBQ Set

Between the washable oven mitt and removable basting brush head, this is the perfect duo for easy cleanup after messy barbecue. $25; lecreuset.com

6. Meri Meri Invitation

Clue your guests into the party’s theme with this miniature grill invitation. $140/25; finestationery.com

The Virginia Garden Party

1. Mango Cilantro Candle By Paddywax

Add ambience and aroma to your party while decorating with these colorful hand-poured candles. $20; paddywax.com

2. Kluge Estate 2004 SP Blanc de Blancs

Bubbles are de rigueur for a playful afternoon in the garden, and this medium-bodied, clean-tasting Virginia sparkling wine has the right amount of zest to spice up the affair. $27; klugeestateonline.com

3. Le Creuset Cake Stand

The rubber grip lining the bottom of this cake stand helps keep pastries or petits fours balanced on unstable outdoor surfaces. $60; lecreuset.com

4. Parlor Chair in Carleton V Rhodedendron Espresso

Embrace the whimsy of cocktails under the stars by taking a parlor chair outdoors. This one has a fun floral pattern, so even Dorothy Draper would approve. Price upon request; 212-355-4525

5. Are Naturals Garden-in-a-Pail

Ditch the predictable potted flower and give your hostess something she can really use. From a tomato garden to an organic mixed herb garden, these gifts in a pot easily go from patio to kitchen and come equipped with seeds, galvanized pot, and gardening gloves. $34; arenaturals.com