BBQ Party Ideas for The Ultimate Summer Bash

What better way to celebrate the warm weather than throwing a BBQ backyard bash? With outdoor parties and activities in full swing, it’s time to fire up that grill!

While tons of tips are available online, it can be overwhelming to browse through them all. Lucky for you, we’ve curated the best BBQ party ideas from the web in one post to help you save time.

From planning to food and fun outdoor activities, we’ve got you covered!

1. Pick a theme

The right theme can set your party in motion. This also helps you decide what kind of decorations to put out and, of course, the menu.

Go for a traditional country or a camping theme, for example. For a kid’s party, a by-the-sea theme is a great idea!

Birthday BBQ themed party
Image Credit: Flickr, Elena Roussakis

2. Make a guest list

Suppose your chosen theme is a simple dinner get-together. You’d most likely invite adults and friends and no kids.

But your guest list depends on your party’s mood. Writing one can also help you to stay within the budget.

A person writing on a notebook
Image Credit: Pexels

3. Pay attention to details on tablecloths

Table linens also convey the theme of your BBQ party. One of the most used tablecloths is the game is classic gingham fabric.

Layering gingham linen with a whimsical floral on top can add an unexpected twist.

Red Gingham patterned tablecloth
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

4. Light up the fire pit

Keep the party going after the sun goes down with a fire pit. Gather everyone around the open campfire and make the most of a balmy summer evening.

BillyOh Alaska Metal Campfire Fire Pit Ring
BillyOh Alaska Metal Campfire Fire Pit Ring

5. Set the mood with outdoor lighting

If dining alfresco in the evening is the plan, hang string or globe lights on a pole and around. Trees and fences also make a great place to hang outdoor lighting, creating ambience.

Garden pathway with lights
Image Credit: Flickr, Nan Palmero

6. Deck out the bar cart

Drinks and barbecues go hand in hand, so consider adding a bar at the corner. Stock it with a variety of beverages, such as beer, wine, and soda.

A bar cart full of whiskeys
Image Credit: Flickr, Krista

7. Get creative with your cooler

Fill a clean wheelbarrow with ice and beer for a clever and rustic style of serving drinks. An excellent alternative to an ordinary cooler, plus it fits the theme of a country BBQ party. Or make use of your old stock tank like this!

A stock tank filled with ice and bottled water
Image Credit: Pixabay

8. Serve Popsicle

Nothing beats homemade popsicle sticks in the summer. Be it an apple or orange-flavoured ice pop, both kids and adults will be hooked! Consider adding keto-friendly flavours to the menu.

A variety of summer Popsicle sticks in different colours/flavours
Image Credit: Pixabay

9. Pull out the floats

In most cases, a BBQ summer party wouldn’t be complete without a pool party. So, if you own a backyard pool, above-ground pool, hot tub or paddling pool, pull out the floats for extra fun in the sun!

A unicorn swimming pool float
Image Credit: Pexels

10. Set up an outdoor cinema

Extend the party until night and have an outdoor movie night session. With popcorn, s’mores and cold drinks, you and your guests can cosy up on the lawn in front of a big screen!

A movie project set in the garden
Image Credit: Trusted Reviews

11. Have a soda buffet

Soda is an essential part of outdoor parties, especially for a movie night. Go the extra mile by setting up an outdoor sofa float station for your guests to serve themselves.

A crate full of glass Cola-cola drinks
Image Credit: Pixabay

12. Line up the condiments and sauces

Create a designated area for the condiments and sauces on the table. That way, your guests can experiment with their own sauces and touch up their BBQ, tacos, and hot dogs.

Condiments and sauces buffet
Image Credit: Flickr, Catherine Ling

13. Add a table centrepiece

Spruce up the look of each table with a centrepiece. For one, mason jars that act as flower vases with wood rises make a lovely table display.

Mason jar vase with baby's breath
Image Credit: Pxhere

14. Don’t forget the summer goodies

Preparing a small token for the guests will be highly appreciated, that’s for sure! Offer them take-home desserts like caramel popcorn, chocolate-covered strawberries, or chocolate pretzels.

And give the kids a small bucket full of candy!

A candy bag with different candies and chocolate goods
Image Credit: Flickr, Jennifer Boyer

15. Invest in a popcorn machine

Popcorn is a tasty and versatile snack, so why not add a popcorn bar to add a nostalgic touch to your BBQ party? You may rent one from your local party store or invest in one. Alternatively, you can use a large bucket.

Popcorn machine
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

16. Level up with a sundae bar

Make things more interesting and flavourful with a sundae bar! Perfect for the summer weather, serve ice cream at the end of a sweltering party.

Set up a topping bar and let the guests customise their sundae with scrumptious toppings.

Mini sundae bar
Image Credit: Flickr, Mark H. Anbinder

17. Prepare a killer playlist

Unleash your inner DJ and set up a playlist with upbeat music that’s loud or soothing enough to set the mood. But ensure it’s not too loud that your guests have to shout to talk, or worse, disturb the neighbourhood.

A DJ playing a music
Image Credit: Pexels

18. Build a tent

Summertime is a lovely season for a BBQ party, but it can get way too hot. Setting up a tent can save the day! Tents also make a romantic addition to intimate garden celebrations like weddings.

Garden BBQ setup with a gazebo
Image Credit: Pixabay

19. Show off your barista skills

Show off your bar and barista skills with a signature drink and get everyone in the party spirit! Summer cocktails, along with refreshing mocktails, sound brilliant.

A person pouring a cocktail in a wine glass
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

20. Keep the bugs away

Bugs are something that can’t be prevented at every outdoor party. Protect your guests against the enemy by providing them with bug sprays.

For a natural approach, use citronella candles and food nets to keep pests at bay and away from food.

Outdoor bug spray bottle
Image Credit: Flickr, Tony Webster

21. Have enough charcoal or propane

You don’t want to run out of charcoal or propane in the middle of your grilling session, do you? You’ll want to make sure you have enough spare fuel sources to heat your grill. 

Charcoal, firelighters and briquettes for charcoal BBQ, a butone or propane tank for gas BBQ.

Charcoal burning in the grill
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

22. Ensure your grilling equipment is complete

The grill is the heart of a great barbecue, but without the right BBQ accessories, it’d be pointless. Besides the spatula, tongs, and basting brush, you may also want a thermometer and gloves.

Vegetables being grilled
Image Credit: Peels

23. Have fun with lawn games

If you don’t own a pool, no problem! There are lots of alternatives to keep the kids and adults occupied, and lawn party games are a great plan.

Play croquet, giant Jenga, corn hole boards, or slide and toss – your call!

Children playing lawn games
Image Credit: Flickr, Cape May MAC (Museums+Arts+Culture)

24. Practise safety

Don’t overlook the safety of everyone over fun. For instance, burgers have a lot of fats and can spit, so keep the kids away from the grill. Also, ensure you have a spray bottle or fire extinguisher ready in case of a fire breakout.

A cupcake with a birthday candle and a woman holding a fire extinguisher behind
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

25. Consider your grilling apparel

If you’re the assigned chef, wear proper clothing suitable for grilling. Wear mitts and an apron, and avoid wearing long sleeves, as it can be a fire hazard.

Take this as an excuse to bust out that Hawaiian shirt!

A man grilling sausages on the grill
Image Credit: Pixabay

26. Do pre-BBQ food prep

Marinade the meat and fish the night before the party to save you time the next day. Chop the onions and peppers for the kebabs and pre-cut the buns for the burgers and hot dogs.

Marinated meat in a bowl
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

27. Scent your charcoal

If you’re using a charcoal grill, scent the charcoal with herbs and spices. Pick some fresh rosemary, thyme, or other herbs, and place the sprigs along the coal.

These aroma greens can add a deliciously smokey spin to a traditional marinade.

Burning coals on the grill
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

28. Serve a snack mix in a bowl

If you have an already opened bag of chips, pretzels, or candies in your pantry, don’t waste them. They’re likely still good to eat, so serve them in a bowl. Add chips that work great with dips, salsa, and more.

A bowl of potato chips
Image Credit: Pixnio

29. Go potluck

Potlucks are a great way to save you time and money. This also gives your guests a chance to share a lovely dish! Ask your family members or close friends to bring their special platter to share.

BBQ party table with potlucks
Image Credit: OSLC

30. Or have a dinner BBQ buffet

If you haven’t done a dinner buffet BBQ party before, it’s time to do so. Spread everything you’re serving on the table, and let your guests help themselves.

Trust us; people love to do this as it feels more casual and fun!

BBQ buffet
Image Credit: MBC Foods

31. Include kebabs in the menu

The good thing about kebabs is that they can please any type of eater, including vegetarians. Alternate the chunks of marinated meat or fish with vegetables. This includes white onions, bell peppers, and whole-button mushrooms.

Grilled kebabs
Image Credit: Pexels

32. Grill fish too

Grilled fish on the menu sounds magical. For one, grilled salmon provides a visually stunning delight, and it’s easy to cook. Oil the grates before grilling, and use a fish basket for cooking more delicate fillets.

Salmon being grilled on a charcoal grill
Image Credit: Pexels

33. Serve roasted potato salad

Another staple of BBQ parties is potato salad. To spruce up your version of this favourite barbecue side, try a new recipe like this roasted potato bowl!

Potato salad bowl
Image Credit: Pixabay

34. S’mores station for the win

A s’mores station can act as a dessert stand for the guests to have a go at when they crave something sweet. At the same time, it doubles as a decoration, especially when you set the station right.

S'mores ingredients
Image Credit: Pexels

35. A taco bar

A DIY taco bar is an excellent way to feed the crowd with snacks and desserts. Once all the toppings have been chopped, and the table has been set, let your guests do the rest!

Mini taco bar
Image Credit: Pexels

36. Add tiki torches for extra lighting

Fuel-lit torches provide fantastic ambient lighting. At the same time, the flickering flame can set the mood for a nighttime party.

When used with citronella, they can fend off mosquitoes and other pesky bugs.

A tiki torch
Image Credit: Pexels

37. A punch of rainbow sangria

Want a  taste of Spain right in your backyard? A rainbow sangria is a perfect drink to serve for adults at a summer BBQ party. A punch made of strong, sweet and colourless flavoured liqueur, fruit, wine, and juice.

Sangria in a pitcher
Image Credit: Pexels

38. Set up a lemonade stand

If kids are part of your BBQ party crowd, consider setting up a lemonade stand for them. Fill the station that houses jars of flavoured lemonade.

A lemonade glass with sliced tangerines
Image Credit: Pexels

39. Stock tank pool conversion

No pool? No problem! Turn a galvanised stock tank into your backyard swimming pool instead! Let your guests, at least the kids, have the best summer party experience with a splash party.

Stock tank pool
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

40. Stock up on ice

Ice is as important as food, cocktails, and decorations. It may not be the talk of the party, but it will be if you run out of it in the middle of the celebration.

Ice cubes
Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures


It turns out that hosting a summer BBQ get-together is more than just food planning. Think easy and fun entertainment and dazzling decor for a just of couple of ideas on how to level up your party.

With a few simple tips, you can take your hosting to the next level. We hope our list of BBQ party ideas will help make your next barbecue bash absolutely legendary!

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