Simon Vozick-Levinson
July 02, 2010 AT 04:00 AM EDT

1. Equipment
”If you can get your hands on a smoker, you can put ribs in there and they come out amazing. Or add mesquite chips to charcoal for your barbecue pit.”

2. Meat
”Anything with a bone is going to have more flavor. Even if you’re going to do chicken, do it with the bone in.”

3. Sides
”I love a basic summer salad. I made a 16-bean salad that was pretty amazing at a barbecue a few weeks ago. It had all these different kinds of beans: fava beans, kidney beans, lima beans, chickpeas…You can put a little fresh mint and a great balsamic vinegar and a rich olive oil. That comes out really nice.”

4. Tunes
”Make a good playlist. [Great idea! Check out summer playlist here.] It should be upbeat records everybody wants to sing along to. Put your iPod on speakers and just lay out and enjoy the summer.”

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