In many parts of the U.S., Memorial Day weekend is the first good time all year to get outdoors and really enjoy the fresh air. And at Cook's Country our favorite outdoor activity is . . . you guessed it . . . eating. There's nothing better than gathering friends in the backyard, or spreading out a picnic blanket, and serving up tasty treats. If you're hosting a backyard party, organizing a picnic, or taking treats over to a friend's potluck, you'll need to outfit yourself with the right equipment. Here are a few of our favorites.
The Best Equipment for Picnics and Potlucks
Recipes to Bring to Your Next Picnic or PotluckOur top recipes include a contemporary makeover of a Southern favorite, backyard ribs to serve a crowd, creamy ice cream and more.
1. Ice Packs
Some foods need to stay chilled, and there's no better way to ensure low temperatures than the right ice packs. Our winner, the Arctic Ice Alaskan Series, is on the more expensive side of the bunch but it contains a large amount of liquid and a convenient handle for transporting. One of these packs is able to line a cooler and keep soda chilled for more than a day. View Review|Buy Winner
2. Large Coolers
We put these chests through the wringer to make sure they'd keep food and beer nice and cold. We even sliced them in half with a chain saw to check the insulation. Our favorite isn't cheap, but it's worth every penny. View Review|Buy Winner
3. Insulted Food Carriers
Just like some foods need to stay chilled, some need to stay warm. Rather than relying on re-heating your potluck dish at the host's house—or risk arriving at a picnic with cold food—our winning insulated carrier will help you keep food hot for hours (three to be exact). View Review|Buy Winner
4. Pie Carriers
If you bring a pie to a potluck, you're the hero of the potluck. Our winning carrier, Prepworks Collapsible Party Carrier, to make sure your pie arrives to the party just as beautiful as when you made it. Our favorite mode ensures that your handiwork stays intact right through to your destination. We've even taken them through TSA! View Review|Buy Winner
5. Salad Dressing Shaker
This sounds like a small deal but if you've ever had soggy lettuce, you know that dressing just before serving matters. Our favorite shaker, OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker, is built like a cocktail shaker making it easy for it to emulsify both small and large volumes of dressing. This shaker is also great because it keeps a tight seal, no leaks, so it's perfect for traveling with. View Review|Buy Winner
6. Portable Charcoal Grill
If you're camping this summer or have the option to grill outdoors, we recommend it. Grilling adds a lot of flavor to food that you just can't get from a short stint on the stovetop. We highly recommend the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill. Weber’s versatile, well-designed classic kettle is an expert griller and maintains heat well. View Review|Buy Winner