The summer season has plenty of holiday opportunities for throwing a backyard barbecue, but virtually any weeknight or weekend is cause for celebration during these warm months! If you're looking for backyard BBQ ideas for Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Labor Day, follow our helpful advice for cooking up crowd-pleasers and serving up some delicious memories! Once you figure out how to throw a barbecue, people will be talking about your party for years to come.
Step 1: Get your grill ready.
Clean off the grill grate, empty out any ash catchers, and season the grate with some oil to help prevent future food from sticking. Follow our tips for cleaning your grill for more information.
Step 2: Choose your menu.
One of our favorite backyard BBQ ideas is hosting a potluck, where everyone brings a dish to pass. This way, it takes off a lot of the pressure from the host, and everyone gets to relish in some family favorites. One helpful idea is for the host to cook the main dishes, like burgers, ribs, hot dogs, veggie burgers or something else, while guests help provide side dishes, dessert and beverages.
If you're looking to find out how to throw a barbecue all by yourself, check out our Summer Party Recipes for all kinds of great ideas. For less-obvious backyard BBQ ideas, try our Grilled Pizza Recipes!
Step 3: Set up backyard games.
Kids and adults alike will love to play lawn games while the burgers and hot dogs are cooking! Some of our favorites include badminton, cornhole, and croquet. Horseshoes and ladderball are also super fun for everyone!
Step 4: Keep the drinks cold.
One great backyard BBQ idea is picking up inexpensive drink cozies from a dollar store. You can keep bottles and cans in the fridge inside, or fill up large coolers with ice to hold them. For large parties, use a kiddie pool filled with ice to keep bottled drinks cold.
Step 5: Set the table.
Use a pretty tablecloth on your picnic table, and hold it down with tablecloth anchors, or make your own. Find a fun centerpiece like flowers, or place the side dishes on the table for family-style dining.
Step 6: Protect everyone from the elements.
Cooking and eating outdoors is bound to come with a few issues, including bright sun and pesky bugs. To help prevent ants from exploring the smorgasbord, cover food in aluminum foil and keep lids on containers. Keep citronella plants or candles around the eating and games areas to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Knowing how to throw a barbecue also means knowing how to accommodate your backyard during different times of the day. Is this a lunchtime barbecue or one for dinner? Set up a canopy or other sun shade to help keep your guests cool during high noon. String up lights around the perimeter of your backyard to illuminate the night.
For more inspiration for backyard BBQ ideas, check out our Unique Grilling Ideas, featuring appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts.