Tapas Food | Garden Parties & Texas BBQ

Texas BBQ Party

Texas Backyards Events

Tapas Food – Garden Parties & Texas BBQ, and even beer garden parties are Texas’ most popular outdoor backyard events. You cannot go wrong with Texas foods or its people. For some areas of Texas, you will have most of the year for outdoor entertaining as a lot of Texas has milder winters. It does get hot in the summer though so plan accordingly when creating your next outdoor get-together. (For colder areas set up your outdoor fire pit to keep the chill off.)

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In fact, the number of 100+ degree days has more than doubled in the last fifty years in the state of Texas. Check your hourly forecast to try and determine when the evening will begin to cool down for your get-together.  And of course, we do have inclement weather so utilizing your 7-to-10-day weather forecast would be helpful.

However, as we know the weather is subject to change at any time so always have an alternate plan for your get-together. If you are spending time in the sun, then make sure you have adequate shade for your family and guests. Also, certain weather conditions are conducive to insects so be sure to take measures to make your space insect free.

tapas food garden parties Texas bbq
Garden Party in the Summer

Backyards and even front yards are often underutilized but make great entertainment areas. So when the weather is cooperating in Texas, then what better way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family than hosting a backyard event. The most common type of Texas backyard get-together by far is a barbecue. BBQ is a highly popular food in Texas and with it comes a certain protocol when making it at home.

For one thing, and take my word for this, your neighbors will notice, and some may even be offended they were not invited. What is Texas if not friendly? Hey, you might even want to extend an open invitation to your favorite neighbors. Also, you want to be a good neighbor so make sure you have a designated parking area that doesn’t infringe on others.

On the flip side of that just be prepared for that one uniformed neighbor to stick their nose into your business. So, plan for extra’s, usually 2-3 servings, and additional seating spots will be adequate, in addition to who you know will come.

The most common backyard get-togethers in Texas other than barbecues would be Tapas Parties, Garden Parties, and Beer Garden Parties. Many of the same protocol exists for each backyard event. Tailgating, even though not a backyard event, is as American as Apple Pie, so we have included a section on that as well.

American Gardens

To understand the garden party you need to recognize the significance of gardens in our American Heritage. From our inception, many settlements in our country brought plants with them.

American Backyard Garden
American Backyard Garden

In 1665 the Spaniards who first settled in St. Augustine, Florida arrived with plants from Spain and other novelties from the West Indies. Our first European settlers in Jamestown, Virginia brought seeds from England as well as, cultivated crops known to be grown by Native Americans such as corn, beans, and squash.

The colonist of that period, as well as the pilgrims, grew crops of beans, squash, wheat, barley, and oats. They also grew a variety of herbs in the fields and garden areas of their home. The land was a prize possession and they both guarded it and nurtured it.

The subsequent plantation era saw the area in the back of the big house (plantation) transformed into gardens by the African American slaves. In the mid-1600s the US saw an expansion in New England gardens and the Dutch cultivated orchards and farms. In 1639 Jamestown passed laws requiring settlers to plant orchards and gardens as well as requiring them to be fenced in.

Evening in the garden 
tapas food garden parties Texas bbq
Evening in the Garden

In the 1800s it became convenient for people to commute from urban areas. Families began to relocate to the outskirts of the towns having a renewed interest in cultivating garden areas. The remainder of that decade and the following decades brought about organized garden clubs and landscape architecture.

The wars in the 1900s started a campaign ‘food will win the war’ and with it, individuals took up war gardening to do their part at home on US soil while many husbands, sons, and friends went into the armed services. In 1922 the American Horticultural Society was established. Again in 1942 victory gardens were planted throughout the US to aid in the war effort, where millions of tons of fruits and vegetables were grown. [SOURCE]

backyard garden
Backyard with Garden

In the 1950s people began to move from the cities to the suburbs where gardens were being planted in backyards, and patios were created for a more leisure outdoor area of relaxation and entertainment. People also felt more comfortable with their neighbors than they did in the inner cities and began to have more informal get-togethers.

Two of our country’s most important contributions to the history of landscaping were front lawns and wilderness areas. In 1922 the US Forest Service created its first protected wilderness area consisting of 500,000 acres of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.

Texans are generally more informal than some parts of the country so rather than cocktail parties or other more formal events, they are quite likely to throw a backyard event such as a backyard BBQ, garden party, tapas party, or a full-blown beer garden party with all of the above.

Texans love casual entertaining
Texans Love Casual Entertaining

More…..Tapas Food | Garden Parties & Texas BBQ

Texas Backyard BBQ

Texas has plenty of land and cattle so it is no wonder that one of our most popular get-togethers is backyard BBQs. Born out of the 1800s, were our westward-bound American settlers driving covered wagons who cooked outside, although they rarely had beef. Texas trail herders of the same period stopped on the trail to cook over a fire, setting the bar for regular outdoor cooking which consisted of beef, beans, and sourdough biscuits.

tapas food garden parties Texas bbq
Smoked Beef Brisket

When we say a Texas Backyard BBQ, we are not talking about hamburgers and hot dogs but real down-home, Texas-style barbecue. You can include those items of course, for the youngsters; however, the mainstay of any Texas BBQ is steaks, briskets, ribs, and sausage. Most Texas backyard events will include beer so you can either go on tap or provide plenty of large containers to ice down the beer.

You can add all the garden party suggestions to your BBQ as well if you are feeling really festive. A nice addition to BBQ is a crudity ‘snack’ board with, pickles, olives, and an assortment of cheeses to keep the hunger at bay.

Texas Garden Parties

Gardens are an integral part of our American lifestyle and Texans love to hang out in the backyard with friends and family. Garden parties were a tradition in both France as well as Britain. The decade of the fifties with its inception of backyard patios and gardens was a welcome platform for entertaining.

tapas food garden parties Texas bbq
Big Family Garden Party Celebration

A garden party is simply a venue for family and friends to gather outdoors. A typical garden party provides food and drink with comfortable, conversational seating. In addition, you may also want buffet seating with soft lighting, perhaps decorations, and possibly games such as horseshoes, cornhole set, or croquet.

A separate area can be designated if needed for younger children with appropriate games, soft drinks, and seating. Depending on how festive you want your event you might include a theme and music. Garden parties are great just to get together with friends and family but can also provide a great venue for other types of events.

children's garden tea party
Children’s Tea Party Theme

Outdoor garden parties are great for celebrating birthdays, holidays, and other special events such as wedding receptions as well as others. Even bachelorette, bachelor parties, gender reveals, retirements, and children’s theme parties for play dates are doable and perhaps even preferable, in the backyard. We love the idea of a garden tea party for the little ones!

Texas Tapas Party

Most of you already know what tapas are. Tapas are thought to have originated in Spain and in our modern world have been adopted around the globe by both restauranteurs, as well as hosts and hostesses of special events, and home gatherings. Tapas consists of small plates of food that were originally served to customers when ordering a drink.

Tapas are similar to appetizers, however, the portions are smaller and the variety is foods is much larger. Tapas are meant to be shared so what better venue than a backyard event? And of course, they are meant to be served with drinks.

tapas food garden parties Texas bbq
Spanish Tapas & Paella

Tapas can be cured meats, pickles, olives, a variety of cheese slices, chorizo, crackers, crostinis, Bruschetta, and other easy-to-prepare foods similar to a charcuterie board. Various cut-up fruits and vegetables make a nice addition to your tapas spread. Asian chicken wings, petite kabobs, and tiny tacos are some great ideas for tapa food.

Tapas can also include cooked foods such as fried potatoes, meatballs, fried fish, small sample omelets, and toasted pieces of bread among others. In fact, in theory, any food can be a tapa. A popular trend today is regional tapas or various cuisine-theme tapas parties. And hey, you might even include some Texas Toast tapas!

For instance, you might want a Tex-Mex theme, French theme, German theme, Mexican theme, or Asian theme tapas party, just to mention a few. Or you can go big and include them all, the sky is the limit with tapas. Of course, tapas are meant to go with drinks which can be alcoholic drinks or virgin drinks – but make them festive!

Summer tapas, southern tapas, dessert tapas, Mediterranean tapas, and kids tapas are just a few ideas. You could have a tapas party based on holiday foods such as Christmas, July the 4th, cinco de mayo, New Years Eve as well as many others. A tapas party is a celebration of both a variety of food and a variety of people.

Wine tastings and craft beers might go quite well with your tapas depending on your overall theme. Of course, you always have the option of including an open bar or large premixed containers of cocktail-style drinks. If children are attending make it fun for them with themed non-alcoholic drinks as well.

Texas Beer Garden Parties (Biergarten)

Beer Gardens are of German descent, originating in Bavaria in the early 19th century, after brewers discovered that beer was better when stored at a cooler temperature. Brewers began planting gardens above their beverage cellars to keep their brews cool enough to ferment underground. The workers would sometimes take breaks in the garden area above the cellar which often times consisted of having a beer and sausage.

German Food for Beer Garden Party
German Food

Beer gardens still exist today throughout Germany and have become more and more popular in modern-day America. A Biergarten in simple terms is an outdoor area where food and beer are served in a community setting. Of course, Texas is no stranger to beer gardens, as the first official German ‘Biergartens’, was located in Austin. As of this writing, it is the longest continually running bar in Texas and the first Biergarten in the nation.

Scholz Garten established in 1866, on San Jacinto Street in Austin, set the standard for saloons and beer gardens. They have received many accolades through the years with a historical marker, and were honored in a state legislature, House Resolution No. 68, which describes it as: “a gathering place for Texans of discernment, taste, culture [and] erudition” and also stated that Scholz Garten represented the “finest traditions of magnificent German heritage in our state.”

Well, you can always take your friends and family out to one of the many beer gardens in our state, particularly the Texas Hill Country, however, if that is not a practical option for you, how about a beer garden party? In recent years this has become a popular trend for backyard get-togethers.

Old World German Beers
Old World Dark and Light German Beers

Of course, alcohol is protocol at this type of event, so old-world beer varieties and maybe even a selection of craft beers would be ideal along with whatever food or snacks fit the event. German sausages, a variety of cheeses, sauerkraut with hot dogs, and pretzels; maybe even grill some brats while you are at it, with a side of german potato salad.

Be sure to have plenty of condiments such as grainy mustards, appropriate music, and maybe even a little polka playing in the background. Offer some German wines for your less robust non-beer drinking guests, perhaps a Reisling or a Silvaner. Germans are also big on desserts so include some german fruit flans, german rum balls, or Linzer cookies to top off the event!

Fun decor ideas start with the bar area which could be a tabletop supported by large wooden barrels. Quaint blue and white chintz tablecloths for a couple of communal picnic tables would be ideal. Glassware of mugs and steins for drinking and empty beer bottles for vases with some fresh-cut vegetation and flowers sets the tone.

Texas Backyard Oktoberfest
Backyard Oktoberfest

I know I am already planning my backyard Oktoberfest which will be just perfect for October when it is finally starting to cool off a little in Texas. Of course, a beer garden party is perfect any time of the year (in Texas anyway) and would make a great theme for your favorite holidays, celebrations, or other events.

Texas Tailgating

Texas Tailgating

Although not a backyard event tailgating is as American as Apple Pie, it is outdoors, it includes food and drink, it can include family and friends, and is, of course, loads of fun. One thing that sets tailgating in Texas apart is that it may (probably does), involve a grill. Don’t forget the other essentials, koozies, lawn chairs, and a cooler full of your favorite beers. Did you know there are actually dedicated tailgate establishments that will provide tailgate packages delivered right to your location?

Approximately 18 % of sports fans enjoy tailgating. There is even a National Tailgating Day which is celebrated on the first Saturday in September. This year it will be on September 3, 2022.

Happy Tailgating Y’all!

Of course, do it yourself is my motto, and don’t forget that grill! So let’s DIY, and party on in the great outdoors of Texas (or where ever you may be 😊).

In Conclusion, Tapas Food | Garden Parties & Texas BBQ

tapas food garden parties Texas bbq
Have a Good Time, Designate a Few Co-Hosts

Remember to have a good time and rely on a few designated friends and family to serve as co-hosts. Consider sending an invitation that shows the details, for time, place – address, type of dress, and other important details for your guests.

So let’s recap the basics for any outdoor and or/backyard event.

Basic Items List

Your basic items are:

  • Food and Drinks
  • Seating, folding chairs, picnic table(s), etc
  • Plates, cups, napkins, utensils (preferably disposable)
  • Warming trays and coolers
  • Trash containers
  • Inclement weather alternative backup plan
  • Music, including portable speakers
  • Plenty of Ice for beverages as determined
  • Shade if possible
  • Bug spray and/or bug wipe towelettes
  • First aid kit (mostly for kiddos 😊)
  • Theme items and decorations as determined
  • A grill is a must for most events, don’t you think? 🤔
  • Fans and/or misting bottles, and/or a few blanket throws just in case it turns chilly
  • Sunscreen, glasses, a hat if exposure will be a problem, and maybe a headband
  • Can openers and other implements as needed
tapas food garden parties Texas bbq

Just in Case, Extra’s

  • When tailgating or at a more remote outdoor location – a generator to power up with
  • In a windy location, don’t forget to carry table cloth weights
  • String lights, solar lights and/or lanterns
  • Package of towelettes for sticky fingers and/or baby wipes
  • Some hot day activities for the kids such as slip n slides or water guns
  • Extra large trash bags to double as rain jackets, just in case

Read more about Texas cooking here.

Check out this awesome Texas Extra-Large Charcuterie Board and Cheese Plate with Engraved Artwork!

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What are tapas?

Tapas are a variety of snack-sized food on small dishes served buffet style to a gathering of people. Tapas can be served hot or cold. In theory, any food can be a tapa, it is the serving style using many small dishes of a variety of food offerings that defines it.

What is a tapas party?

A tapas party is a celebration of both a variety of foods and a variety of people. A tapas party features food served tapa style, on small dishes served buffet style, to a gathering of friends, family and other acquaintances. A tapas party can be hosted at home or other venues.

Kay Keeton, Ed.

Editor in Chief, Kay Keeton - Texas Lifestyle Expert. Kay is a designer turned author, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth-generation Texan, Kay is both an authority as well as being passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle. Kay is a content writer and editor of content for various local and national online publications.

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