With a fondness for her family's outdoor gatherings (and vodka watermelons!), Evette Rios puts her playful spin on the classic cookout.

By Rachael Ray Every Day
November 01, 2005
Backyard BBQ

My Party Lines: My barbecues are light and informal. Dress casually and leave your shoes at home. I throw on a sundress because shorts are too restricting. Table decor should always be bright and easy. Some people like to use tablecloths, but I prefer craft paper pinned down with flat thumbtacks, with pens for drawing. Paper napkins create trash. Instead, I use colorful bandanas. One thing you'll never find at my barbecues? Plastic utensils. For extra flair, I string kites up in the trees. I never spend a lot on decor, but I always splurge on food and drinks. I love serving Grilled Corn-and-Red Potato Salad and a vodka-spiked watermelon -- it's a family tradition. This barbecue is all about eating with your hands, so wet wipes are a must. If you're heading to my backyard bash, don't forget containers for leftovers.



tips + how-tos

Backyard BBQ



One 10 lb. or larger, seeded whole watermelon that is very ripe and chilledOne bottle (750 ml) vodka


First, cut a little sliver off the bottom of the watermelon so it stands up straight.

Second, cut a hole in the top of the watermelon and put the bottle of vodka upside down in the top.

Third, insert a tap (you can rent them at liquor stores) by pushing it into the side of the watermelon. Voila! Turn the tap and fill up each glass.

Garnish with a mint sprig and you're done. Beware: It packs a punch!