(Criquet Shirts cofounders Billy Nachman, left, and Hobson Brown with their kids. All photos courtesy of Criquet Shirts)Easily one of the best things about summer is the barbecue. But who says the fun has to stop after Labor Day? Billy Nachman and Hobson Brown, cofounders of Criquet Shirts, are the quintessential good-time guys (and savvy businessmen to boot). Their Austin, Texas–based brand of polo shirts and button-downs for men and boys prove they're not afraid to turn out classics with a twist. Here, the proud family men and consummate entertainers share their tips for throwing the perfect kid-friendly barbecue.
(The boys at the grill, beverages in hand)1. Think about why you're having the event in the first place: to entertain the adults.
If this were a true kid-centric party, it would be called a play date. So, parents, please don’t get too caught up in organizing a round of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, or an elaborate game of Clue Junior. Just keep it simple. Pack a change of clothes (which, of course, means a couple of Criquet shirts), and hand the kids some Super Soakers. You guard the grill from little fingers, keep the coolers filled, and let the conversation flow.
2. Expect some bumps.
It's inevitable that at some point during the barbecue someone's kid will take a digger and earn a new bruise, or throw a verbal dagger that will hurt someone else’s kid just as badly. When reason, bribery, and all else fails to resolve the conflict, it’s time to bring out your ace in the hole: popsicles. Experienced BBQ-goers always have more of these lifesaving treats than necessary in a variety of flavors. The same rule applies for the beers.
3. Stick with bluegrass or Americana for the soundtrack.
These genres promote responsible day-drinking and are sung with little to no profanity. This means that you’ll have none of those awkward moments of hearing the F-bomb on the radio while you get to know your kid’s new friend’s parents.
4. As far as the food goes, now is not the time to experiment or reinvent.
Just stick to the classics: hamburgers and hot dogs, sweet corn, and grilled veggies. You have your meat eaters and veggie lovers covered, as well as all of those picky kids.
5. Now, for the most important part: the dessert.
Done right, you become barbecue royalty in the eyes of friends, their kids, and sweet-toothed individuals worldwide. For the expert, an in-season, local fruit tart with a great crust and a scoop of vanilla is a guaranteed win. The non-bakers in the crowd may choose to go with vanilla or mint ice cream with chocolate-chip cookies—this way, everyone is happy. Do not, I repeat, do not serve peanut butter cookies. Nothing ruins a kid-friendly barbecue like a peanut allergy and a trip to to the ER.