I was so excited to be offered the opportunity to host a Grill Mates House Party through Crowdtap, that I decided to write a blog about my experience!
I think the key to any successful event is planning. Summertime to me is all about Grilling and eating outdoors. I was thrilled beyond words to start planning for this event!
As a member of Crowdtap when you get invited to participate in a Hosted Party they have a discussion about it an ask questions.Here is my answer to the question “Tell us about your party; what are you excited about doing that will make your party fun for your guests?” It explains my planning process:
I am so excited to be chosen as a Grill Mates Grill Ambassador. Ever since I found out about the opportunity to host a Grill Mates Party I have been planning how to make this party memorable for all my guests! My Party is this Saturday, June 2nd. The forecast is looking great. My Sister and her husband are returning home for the first time this year from being overseas doing mission work. This is a good occasion to get family & friends together to welcome them home.

Theme I couldn’t think of any better theme for my party than concentrating on McCormick’s Grill Mates. I am going to decorate with lots of red and white and utilize the McCormick’s Grill Mates “Flame” Logo. I have white hydrangeas in bloom and will use those for centerpieces. I also bought a small table top grill and am going to do a table scape using it, filled with McCormick’s Grill Mates Products. Lots of Red & White with a touch of blue, the signature colors of McCormick’s. I found folding red & white chairs at Wal-Mart!

Menu I have my Menu planned ~
Grilled Appetizers ( I experimented with these Memorial day) Guacamole & Chips (Compliments of my niece)
Boston Butt seasoned with Slow & Low Memphis Pit BBQ Rub, Spicy Brandy & Herb Chicken Breasts, Brown Sugar Bourbon Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Macaroni & Cheese, Corn Salad, Lebanese salad (My sister is bringing this) Deviled eggs, and hope full fresh slice tomatoes out of my garden, they should be ready in a few days. Dessert is going to be simple Watermelon & fresh strawberries!

Activities ~ Upbeat music, Treasure Hunt, Taste Test Contest (taste & pick which samples were seasoned with Molasses Bacon, Mesquite, Montreal Steak, Smokehouse Maple or Barbecue) Horseshoes & Lasso Golf, Separate Children’s Contests (make a grilled item from Bendaroos, Draw a grill, Build a better H-burger) Winners will get prizes!

Goodie Bags ~ I have been shopping and trying to come up with some great and affordable items for loot bags. (I wish we had been provided with some coupons to share with guests) It is not going to be feasible to give every guest a goodie bag, but I am planning for each family to take home one. These will include a printed Grill Mates Recipe Booklet, grill themed hand towel, Mitt &pot holder (I found these at the dollar store) and a packet of Grill Mates Seasoning. Presented in a bag with McCormick’s Grill Mates hand painted on it.

I know everyone will have a great time and I look forward to taking lots of photos & sharing with my guests how I was chosen to host by being a Crowdtap member! (I am hoping I can persuade my husband to take some video)

We had a terrific Party!! I made a “McCormick’s Grill mates Party” Album on Face book to showcase the party. 
I included 10 photos and tagged McCormick’s Grill Mates and Crowdtap in all of them. When I typed in Grill mates and Crowdtap to be tagged neither one showed up as a selection, but when I tried to tag them again I got this message: The specified user or page is already tagged in this photo. Hopefully, they tagged successfully. This is a description of the photos…
1. ~ The first photo shows the variety of meats that were grilled with Grill Mates Seasonings / Marinades. Spiced Brandy Chicken Breasts, Smokehouse Maple Chicken Breasts, Mesquite Boneless Pork Strips, Molasses Bacon Kebabs, Memphis Pit Pulled Pork, Montreal Steak Bone-in Chops.
2 ~ The Second photo shows a close up of the Smokehouse Maple Chicken Breast. They were one of my favorites not only to eat, but to grill. Smokehouse Maple is probably my favorite of all the seasoning. These were so easy to do. I just sprinkled the Grill Mates liberally all over the chicken breasts before grilling. Since no additional oil was added, there were no flare ups on the grill.
3 ~  This picture shows the Boston Butt seasoned with Memphis Pit and slow cooked for 6 hrs. I always sear my roasts on all sides over high heat and then bank the coals and cook low & slow. The meat turns out incredibly moist and flavorful.
4 ~ This photo shows not only the meat, but the side dishes: Potato Salad, Macaroni & Cheese, Deviled eggs, Lebanese Salad, Macaroni Salad, Corn Salad, Guacamole & Chips and a Fresh fruit tray. The only thing missing was the Baked beans because they were still in the oven.
5 ~ Spiced Brandy Chicken Breasts Very simple marinade to make, just add oil and cider vinegar to the seasoning pack and marinate for a couple of hours before grilling This does make the fire flare up, but it was well worth the extra effort.
6 ~ Mesquite Boneless Chops These were a big hit and grilled up quickly.
7 ~ Molasses Bacon Kebabs. These were excellent and this is my second choice after the Smokehouse Maple!
8 ~ This photo shows the seasonings I got in my Grill Ambassador Kit, along with the bottles of McCormick’s seasoning I already had on hand and use daily! Also included in the photo are Backyard Grill Charcoal, Hickory wood chips and a brand new mini grill bought for decoration (Family dollar had them on sale half price for $10 and I had $5 off $25 coupon!) and the meat before seasoning and grilling.
9 ~ One of the activities after we ate was making “Grill & Picnic” items out of Bendaroos. Everyone had a good time and their designs very creative!
10 ~ Getting Ready ~ This photo shows “GRILLERHOOD WELCOME” sign I made. The mini new grill used for a cake stand. The party supplies and loot bag supplies. I was fortunate to find kitchen towels, mitts and potholders with a “Grill” design. I also picked up extra packets of the Grill Mates Seasoning at Wal-Mart for less than a dollar!
Our Party was went really well. We had it June 2nd and could not have had a more beautiful day, if the weather had been custom ordered. It was in the mid 70’s which really made grilling & eating outside pleasant. It was the best weather we had had in weeks it had been unseasonable hot until that day and the next day the temperatures skyrocketed again. Weather is a key element to a successful outside party and we were blessed!
I had two round patio tables set up in the backyard one had with 4 chairs at it and the other had 6. We took 3 rockers off the back porch (to make room for the 3 folding tables for the food) and I had two more outdoor chairs with cushions, plus a wrought iron patio seating area where 6 could sit comfortably. I put small children’s chairs around the low center umbrella table. We also had two folding cedar rockers. We had over 20 guests and everyone had a good place to sit comfortably. I feel adequate seating is important to a successful party.
We set up the food and the beverages on the back porch. As soon as the food was set out, the flying insects started hovering round. I was about in a panic. My husband came to the rescue, he went to the shop and got out the Citronella Tike torches. With all the set up & food preparation, this detail completely slipped my mind. He told me he had intended to set them up earlier, but he forgot. getting ready is a lot of work, he was a huge help!
All the food turned out well and the Grill Mates Seasoning was the centerpiece of the party and the topic of much of the conversation. I had intended to have everything ready by 5, but the chicken breasts were HUGE and took longer too get done than I expected. By the time everything got on the tables and the photos were taken it was a little before 6. No one seemed to mind. I got so many compliments on the meat. I put signs in everything to identify which Grill Mates Seasoning was used. We had Spiced Brandy Chicken Breasts, Smokehouse Maple Chicken Breasts, Mesquite Boneless Chops, Molasses Bacon Kebabs, Montreal Steak bone-in chops and Memphis Pit pulled Pork. The sides were Baked Beans seasoned with the Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce (which were left out of the photo, because they were in the oven) Macaroni & cheese, Potato salad, corn salad, deviled eggs, macaroni salad, Guacamole & chips, Lebanese salad, bread stick and rolls, watermelon & fruit. Needless to say NO ONE went away hungry!
The Grillerhood Welcome sign turned was colorful! Grill Mates was my theme with Red & white as my color scheme. I bought red round straw placemats and had red, white & blue petunias for centerpieces. I had originally thought about using white hydrangeas and they were in bloom but decided on the pots since they had more color.
The kids had fun after we ate creating Grill / picnic items out of Bendaroos, and playing Lasso Golf. None of the adults wanted to do anything after eating but sit and visit, which was perfectly fine with me.

GRILLING & CHILLIN that is what it is all about. Nothing better than a full stomach relaxing with friends and listening to good music! I was busy with the children’s activities anyway and by that time pretty tired.
It was a great eperience to be involved in my first Crowdtap Hosted Party and I can’t think of any better one to have as my first than Grill mates
I know sending out the Kits to so many was not cheap and I appreciate what was included in mine!  I do wish they had included some manufactures coupons to give to guests and some signage. My sign turned out OK, but a printed one from Grill Mates would have looked more professional and would think could be printed up fairly reasonably?
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