Now that school is over, cookout season has begun! Uncover that barbecue grill and head on over to the grocery store to stock up on some meat before you invite your friends over for an epic cookout. Just make sure that you don’t do any of the summer cookout mistakes listed below.

Drinks
One common mistake that cookout enthusiasts make is that they are so worried about the food that they forget about their drinks! It’s hot out there and both you and your guests will end up being thirsty. Make sure you have a cooler stocked with plenty of cold drinks nearby. In addition to sodas, waters and beer, include some unconventional choices like wine coolers and shandies.

Preparation
One of the most common mistakes that grill novices make is that they don’t heat up the grill until their guests arrive. If you plan on using a charcoal grill this can mean that you all will be eating very late. Instead, start the grill about 40-45 minutes before your guests are scheduled to be there so that the coals are nice and hot. This will keep you from having to wait so long that you just throw everything on the grill at once and nothing gets cooked the way it’s supposed too.

Food
Don’t make the rookie mistake of just having hamburgers and hot dogs at your cookout. In addition to the meat, grill up some vegetables and even fruits. Pears and peaches are pretty good choices as well as corn and zucchini. You can easily make a variety of kabobs that will not only taste great, but add a lot of color to your grill as well. Just keep in mind that your fruits and vegetables may require you to cook them at different temperatures than the meats. Also, make sure you have a dedicated space on your grill so that you aren’t mixing your produce with your raw meat.

Cooking
It may be tempting to want to leave the grill to go socialize with your guests, but this can just prove to be a disaster. You don’t want to leave expensive cuts of meat unattended on the grill and risk them getting too well done. If you don’t have the desire to stand in front of the grill all day, decide ahead of time who can man the grill for you if you want to walk away for a bit.