Everyone loves the idea of the beer can chicken—it's so funny to think about. The truth is, it really does make a juicy chicken on the grill. So fire up the coals (or gas), set up a big table in the backyard, and enjoy time with the kids and guests with this easy menu. The day of the party all you need to do is reheat the do-ahead dishes.

By Fraya Berg

For a fun and easy outdoor dinner with family or friends, try this simple menu. Our tips for prepping will make your party planning a breeze, giving you more time to relax and enjoy the company of your guests.


Main Course



Key Lime Tart

Party-Planning Timeline

This timeline shows you how far in advance food preparation for the menu can take place. Following these tips allows maximum time with your guests and minimum fuss.

Up to 1 week before dinner:

  • Prepare cranberry dressing for fruit salad. Cover and refrigerate.

Up to 2 days before dinner:

  • Prepare Scalloped Corn. Cool, cover and refrigerate.
  • Prepare Calico Beans. Cool, cover and refrigerate.

Up to 1 day before dinner:

  • Prepare Key Lime Tart. Cover and refrigerate.

Up to 6 hours before dinner

Up to 6 hours before dinner:

  • Prepare fruit for salad. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Whip cream for Key Lime Tart if using.

3 hours before dinner:

  • Bring Scalloped Corn to room temperature.
  • Bring Calico Beans to room temperature.

2 1/2 hours before dinner:

  • Prep Beer Can Chicken.
  • Start grill.

1 1/2 hours before dinner:

  • Grill chicken.

1 hour before dinner:

  • Prepare guacamole. Cover and refrigerate.

40 minutes before dinner:

  • Reheat Scalloped Corn covered in 300-degree oven.
  • Reheat Calico Beans covered in 300-degree oven.

10 minutes before dinner:

  • Arrange salad in one large bowl or in individual bowls.


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