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Top Barbecue Party Ideas | Food, Games, & Fun

Y’all know I love a good old fashion BBQ!  A barbecue party is a great way to get everyone together in the summer but hosting your own garden party can be pretty expensive.

I will share with you bbq party ideas about the food you should serve, the games you can play, and how you can maximize fun.

With lots of meat, drinks and extras to buy, it’s easy to be put off by the cost. Thankfully there are things you can do to keep this down and enjoy food and drinks with friends without it costing the bank.  Here are my top tips for hosting an epic BBQ! 

Go Potluck Style

Asking everyone to bring something along that you can throw onto the grill can really help to keep costs down, plus you get a better selection of items and it can be fun to share everything around!

There’s no major cost on you as the host and you could end up with a far more interesting spread than you would have otherwise. To avoid too many repeats, you could assign burgers, sausages, chicken, beef, pork and vegetables to different guests.

Charcoal BBQ Grill

Fire Sense 60508 Notebook Charcoal BBQ Grill 3.5mm Cooking Bars Instant Foldable & Easy Portability For Outdoor Barbecues
Fire Sense 60508 Notebook Charcoal BBQ Grill 3.5mm Cooking Bars Instant Foldable & Easy Portability For Outdoor Barbecues

Buy a Charcoal Grill that Works for a Life Time 

Kamado Joe KJ23NRHC Classic Joe II Stand Alone 18 inch Charcoal Grill, Blaze Red

Kamado Joe KJ23NRHC Classic Joe II Stand Alone 18 inch Charcoal Grill, Blaze Red
Kamado Joe KJ23NRHC Classic Joe II Stand Alone 18 inch Charcoal Grill, Blaze Red

Marinate your own meat

If you head into the supermarket, at this time of year there’s always a ‘barbecue’ section. A range of tasty looking marinated meats that you can throw directly onto the grill.

The trouble is, these can cost up to three times more than the ingredients to make them, assembling your own can be easy and just as tasty.

Purchase some marinating kits– cajun powder, barbecue seasoning, Chinese seasoning etc. or mix up your own. Buy your meat plain and marinate it yourself.

Things like big bags of frozen chicken drumsticks are really cheap, defrost them in the fridge overnight and then add some spice rub to them. By the afternoon they’ll be ready to go, and you’ll have saved a fortune on similar products.

You can make your own burgers using plain ground meat- add things like grated onion, herbs and spices or a chunk of cheese to the center so they’re ‘melt in the middle’.

You can marinate plain chicken breasts and bash them flat with a rolling pin so they cook easily on the barbecue for tasty chicken fillet burgers.




Citrus Marinated Flank Steak | Baked In The South

Citrus Marinated Flank Steak 

Bourbon BBQ Sauce | Baked In The South

Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ | Baked In The South

Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ

Big Bob Gibson's Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Big Bob Gibson’s Alabama White BBQ Sauce

big green egg wbig green egg whole-smoked-chicken_edited-1

Bulk it up with veggies and side dishes

The meat will always be the most expensive part of a barbecue, so bulk it out with different vegetables and side dishes.

Create skewers where the meat is bulked out by chunks of peppers, mushrooms and onions. Make big batches of pasta salad, potato salad and homemade coleslaw, these cost hardly anything but fill up your guests plates. 

Caprese Salad | Baked In The South

Caprese Salad

Paula Deen Southern Style Pork & Beans| Baked In The South

Southern Style Baked Beans

Paula Deen | Summer Picnic Potato Salad | Baked In The South

Summer Picnic Potato Salad

Mix up some cocktails

In addition to the food, the drinks are important at a barbecue too. One cheap and easy option that suits most people is to mix up something like vodka cocktails.

Add a bottle of vodka, some fruit juice and lemonade to a large drink dispenser with some chopped strawberries and lemons to infuse it.

Guests can then help themselves as it’s all pre- mixed. Have plenty of ice in the freezer which they can pop into their glass when they’re filling up, as drinks quickly go warm on a sunny day.  

Henry Clay Mint Julep

Henry Clay Mint Juleps

Thank You Note for BBQ Party

Thank You Note for Attending BBQ Party

You can use this simple template for thank you guests for coming to BBQ party.

Dear [Name],

Thank you so much for joining us at our barbecue party last weekend. We had a great time hosting and are grateful to have such wonderful friends like you to share it with. Your presence made the event all the more special and we are so glad you were able to come.

Thank you for your kind words and for bringing the delicious [dish/dessert]. It was such a hit and added to the overall enjoyment of the party.

We hope you had a wonderful time and hope to see you again soon.

[Your Name]

Thank You Note for Hosting BBQ Party

Try this message by adding the host name and your name to pay your gratitude to the BBQ party host.

Dear [Name],

Thank you so much for hosting such a fantastic barbecue party last weekend. The food was delicious, the company was enjoyable, and the atmosphere was perfect. We had such a great time and are so grateful to have been able to spend the evening with you.

Your thoughtfulness and hospitality are greatly appreciated. Your attention to detail and hard work in organizing and hosting the event did not go unnoticed. It was truly a memorable evening and we are so thankful to have been a part of it.

Thank you again for everything. We hope to have the opportunity to return the favor sometime soon.

Sincerely, [Your Name]


Essential BBQ Party Supplies you must buy for your BBQ Party 


Clear Plastic Cups Supply for BBQ Parties
Clear Plastic Cups Supply for BBQ Parties

Adults Party Games Outdoors & Adults Aarty Games Ideas for BBQ Parties

Here are some BBQ party game ideas you can try.

BBQ Party Menu Ideas

For your next BBQ party, these are some bbq party menu ideas you must try.

Inflatable Serving Bars Ice Buffet Salad Serving Trays

inflatable Serving Bars for BBQ Parties

Backyard BBQ Party Ideas

Planning to hold a backyard BBQ party, here are some ideas on how you should decor it, what food you should serve, and how you can make it as much fun as possible. 

Games to Play at Your Backyard BBQ Party 

Backyard BBQ Decor Ideas

Decorating your backyard for a perfect BBQ party is hard, you have to take care of different tastes and decorate it in a way that everyone likes it.

Check these backyard BBQ decor ideas that will lighten up your backyard and make your backyard BBQ party even more enjoyable.

  • Hang string lights or paper lanterns to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Set up a table with a tablecloth and some colorful placemats to give the space a festive feel.
  • Bring in some potted plants or flowers to add some greenery to the area.
  • Set up a few lawn games, like cornhole or bocce ball, to keep guests entertained.
  • Place some comfy cushions or throw pillows on the ground or on outdoor furniture for guests to relax on.
  • Create a designated bar area with a cooler filled with ice and drinks, as well as some bar tools and glasses.
  • Use outdoor rugs or mats to define different areas of the party, such as a dining area or a lounge area.
  • Add some outdoor throw blankets for guests to use if it gets chilly in the evening.

Backyard BBQ Party Drinks Ideas

Right drinks can blow a new zeal into you. They take away the fatigue and fill-up the lost energy quickly.

These are some backyard BBQ party drinks ideas you can try.

  • Iced tea or lemonade: These refreshing drinks are perfect for a hot summer day. You can make a large batch ahead of time and keep it in a pitcher or dispenser.
  • Watermelon or fruit punches: These fruity drinks are a hit with kids and adults alike. You can blend watermelon or other fruits and mix them with ice and a splash of lemon or lime juice.
  • Beer or wine: These classic BBQ drinks can be served chilled or at room temperature. You can also set up a DIY beer or wine bar with a variety of options for guests to choose from.
  • Spiked seltzer or cocktails: For a more adult-oriented drink option, consider offering spiked seltzers or cocktails made with vodka, gin, or tequila. Just be sure to provide non-alcoholic options as well.
  • Smoothies or milkshakes: For a sweet and creamy treat, you can blend up some smoothies or milkshakes with your favorite fruits and flavors.

Food Menu for Backyard BBQ Party

Choose meat of the party wisely, consider these dishes for your backyard BBQ party.

  • Grilled burgers or hot dogs: These classic BBQ staples are always a hit with guests. You can also offer a variety of toppings like cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and condiments for guests to customize their own.
  • Grilled chicken or steak: These protein-rich options are perfect for satisfying hunger at a BBQ. Marinate the meat ahead of time for extra flavor.
  • Grilled vegetables: Don’t forget to include some plant-based options for your vegetarian guests. Grilled vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant are delicious and easy to prepare.
  • Salad: A refreshing salad with a variety of greens and vegetables is a great side dish for a BBQ. You can also offer some protein options like grilled chicken or tofu to make it a more substantial meal.
  • Corn on the cob: This summertime favorite is easy to grill and adds a pop of color to the menu.
  • Baked beans: A classic BBQ side dish, baked beans are easy to make and can be made ahead of time.
  • Watermelon: This refreshing fruit is a perfect dessert for a summer BBQ. You can also serve it as a side dish or cut it into chunks and add it to a fruit salad.
  • S’mores: No backyard BBQ is complete without a campfire and some s’mores! Set up a fire pit or a portable fire pit and provide graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate for guests to make their own.

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This page was last updated on January 06, 2023.

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