Skip to main content

How to Plan a Summer Barbecue

The weather is finally warming up.  You've decided to host a summer barbecue for family and friends. Good for you!  Are you wondering just what you were thinking?  Is hosting anxiety setting in?  No need for panic.  Here is a summer BBQ menu that is easy to execute with a level head and some thoughtful planning.

I've also prepared your road map for getting things done without stress.  You don't want to be frazzled when your guests arrive!  This guide will help you to get organized and prepare for your party with a five-day schedule.  You can even choose to use your oven instead of your grill for most of the cooking and still get the flavor you want for your BBQ.

How to Plan a Fun, Stress-Free Summer BBQ

A summer picnic tablescape

Don't be afraid to ask family members for help.  As the saying goes, "Many hands make light work." Most people would love to bring a dish.   Just be sure to be specific when you ask someone to bring a dish.

This menu and plan assume you will do all of the cooking, but you don't have to.  However much you will do yourself, do as much as you can in advance.   That way you'll have plenty of time the day of the party to enjoy your guests.

Five Tips for Your Summer BBQ

Keep these five things in mind and your BBQ will be a hit.
  • Keep your menu simple but delicious.
  • Ice, ice, and more ice.  Running out of ice is a bad thing.
  • Provide shade.  The hot summer sun can be too much for your guests.
  • Keep your playlist fun with summer favorites.  
  • Provide games.  Frisbee, volleyball, lawn Twister (made with four colors of spray paint), croquet, and badminton are fun ideas.  
Your Summer BBQ Menu

Appetizers and Drinks

Beer and barbecues go together like peanut butter and jelly.  So stock your coolers with plenty of beer and ice. In my opinion, every party needs one signature cocktail for a festive sip.  For a barbecue, you want to choose a drink that can easily be made in a big batch.  Rum punch and margaritas are two great drink options.  They can be made ahead of time and put in drink dispensers or pitchers so your guests can serve themselves. Another great drink option for a barbecue is sangria.

Summer Appetizers and Drinks
Appetizers and Drinks
Keep your appetizers simple.  Parmesan pigs-in-a-blanket and BBQ jalapeno poppers can be made ahead of time and frozen. Both recipes go straight from the freezer to the oven with ease. No defrosting is required.  Salsa, guacamole, and chips are no-brainers and BBQ favorites.  Friends and family may have favorite appetizers they would love to share with your guests. Go ahead and ask them to bring their favorites.  That way you'll have one less course to think about.

Printer-Friendly Appetizer and Drink Recipes

The BBQ Main Dishes

Where you live will influence your definition of barbecue.  The menu I am suggesting is typical for my neck of the woods.  No matter where you live, for a stress-free barbecue, you want your menu to be delicious and easy to execute.  It's no fun to spend all of your time standing over a grill or in the kitchen.

That's why I am suggesting chicken with chipotle BBQ sauce and pork ribs as the stars of your barbecue.  The chicken is baked completely in the oven and brushed with the barbecue sauce before serving.  The barbecued ribs can also be made completely in your oven.  The only part of this menu you'll need the grill for is the grilled corn.
BBQ Dinner Recipes
BBQ Dinner


Printer-Friendly Dinner Recipes

Dessert

BBQ Dessert Ideas
Desserts
I like my summer BBQ desserts to be easy to serve and easy to eat.  Cookies and squares of all kinds fit that description. Pies are favorites in the summer because fresh fruit is abundant, but they can be messy to serve.

Dessert is another course that friends and family can easily help with by bringing a favorite treat to share. Don't forget about s'mores, especially if kids will be at your barbecue.

Printer-Friendly Dessert Recipes


My Summer BBQ Planning Guide

Here's a timeline to help you plan your summer barbecue.  This schedule is meant to be a guide. This five-day planning schedule spreads the preparation out so you won't feel overwhelmed.  The schedule assumes you have already invited your guests and that you have most of the basic necessities like a grill, seating, coolers, tablecloths, plates, and silverware.  The timeline is flexible, so adapt it to your life and have some fun with it.

Day 5:
    How to Plan a Barbecue
  • Print out the recipes.  Make your shopping list and complete your shopping.
  • Check your supplies for plates, silverware, glassware, etc.  Borrow or buy what you need.
  • Plan your tables, tablecloths, napkins, and decorations.
  • Make room in your refrigerator.
  • Be sure you have gas or charcoal for the grill.
Day 4
Day 3
Day 2- The Day Before the BBQ
  • Make the Coconut Tres-Leches Cake.  Stabilize the whipped cream with unflavored gelatin.
  • Buy the corn on the cob and remove the husks.
  • Prep pork ribs with rub.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate.
  • Make rum punch and margaritas. Refrigerate.
  • Marinate the chicken pieces in Italian salad dressing in your refrigerator overnight.
  • Clean the bathroom.
Day 1-BBQ Day
  • Make the guacamole.
  • Make the tossed salad.
  • Make sure you have enough ice.  Fill coolers.
  • Set up your drink area.
  • Decorate and set the table
  • Thaw the cookies and brownies.
  • Plan for trash.
  • Cook the pork ribs.
  • Cook the chicken one hour before serving.  
  • Heat chipotle BBQ sauce.
  • Cook the jalapeno poppers and pigs-in-a-blanket.
  • Cook chicken one hour before serving and top with chipotle BBQ sauce.
  • Fire up the grill, cook the corn on the cob, and top with chili-lime butter.

There you have it, a menu and schedule for a stress-free summer BBQ.  Celebrate family, friends, and fun with a backyard BBQ!


Enjoy!


Comments

More Popular Posts

How to Make a Perfect Bacon and Eggs Breakfast

In my opinion, the best breakfast consists of two perfectly fried eggs, crispy bacon, and toast made with hearty bread. This bacon and eggs recipe delivers. Bacon and eggs or eggs and bacon? No matter, it is definitely the breakfast you want on those lazy mornings when you have time to relax around the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee or two. The Best Bacon and Eggs Breakfast (This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  When you make a purchase using these links you help support this blog.) How to Cook Bacon and Eggs My technique was learned from my mom, by watching her make our family's breakfast over and over again, year after year.  This is a basted egg recipe which means the eggs are cooked in bacon grease. Cooking eggs in bacon fat is easy and takes just a little practice to perfect. All you really need for a great bacon and eggs breakfast is a good nonstick skillet and a good toaster . If you want to make your own bread fo

The Best Asian Dipping Sauce You'll Ever Taste

If you're looking for a versatile, easy-to-make Asian dipping sauce perfect for sushi and dumplings, then you've come to the right place. This recipe for the best Asian dipping sauce is perfect for any time you want a  kick of delicious Asian flavor. An Asian Dipping Sauce for Sushi and Dumplings Try this if you are looking for a dipping sauce that is a little more flavorful than you typically get with your takeout order. You'll love it with dumplings, too!

Grandma's Soft and Chewy Date-Filled Cookies

One of the things I can count on as the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons arrive each year is a feeling of nostalgia. The traditional foods we serve at our family's holiday tables can sure bring out all the feels. Now that it is officially cookie season, we should kick it off with an old-fashioned homemade date-filled cookie recipe. This is a soft, tender cookie with dates that is a special, nostalgic, family recipe.   An Old-Fashioned Date Cookies Recipe This old-fashioned, date-filled cookie was my dad's favorite cookie from his childhood. My dad was born in 1932 so this recipe has been around for quite a while. 

Easy Chicken Parmesan-A Make Ahead Freezer Dinner

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite dinner in the Just One Donna house because it is a delicious dish that can satisfy your cravings for Italian food. It's also easy to make at home with simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry.  But what if you don't have time to cook on a busy weeknight? Don't worry, you can make Chicken Parmesan ahead of time and freeze it for later. I like to prepare Chicken Parmesan to have on hand in my freezer for those busy weeknights when we might be tempted to head to a restaurant instead of eating at home.  How to Make Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Busy Nights This post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small compensation when you shop using these links Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Dinner Chicken Parmesan, also known as Chicken Pa

Traditional New England Whoopie Pies

Are you looking for the best whoopie pie recipe?  Whoopie pies are a quintessential New England dessert and a memorable treat from my childhood.   My mom would make them for us every once in a while.  Oh, what a treat to come home from school to a platter of chocolate whoopie pies!  Yum! Today I'm sharing my recipe for the best-ever whoopie pies. The Best Whoopie Pies Recipe without Marshmallow Fluff Whoopie Pies Whoopie pies are soft round cookie-like cakes with a smooth cream filling sandwiched in the center. Debate rages about the whoopie pie's origin.  Some say these goodies originated in New England, others say they originated with the Amish.   There is also debate about what ingredients should be in the filling.  Many recipes include fillings made with Marshmallow Fluff or buttercream but neither is  traditional, in my opinion.  The whoopie pie of my childhood is a traditional Maine whoopie pie recipe, made with a cooked flour and milk mixture added to suga

Winter Care for Orchids and African Violets

Are you familiar with the term "hygge"?  It's a Danish term that has caught on in the U.S. because it speaks to the feelings of coziness and relaxation we seek during the winter months.  It emphasizes the simple things in life and the feelings of a life well-lived.   One of the ways I create hygge this time of year is by making sure my collection of African violets and orchids is happy and healthy, How to Care for African Violets and Orchids During Winter This post contains affiliate links.  We receive a small compensation when you shop with these links. Your houseplants are most likely crying out for some attention right now.  If you are like me, you ignored them a bit during the busy holidays.  After all the festive decorations are put away, it's time to give your plants a lovely spa treatment.  Read on for tips on how to care for orchid plants and African violets in winter.

How to Doctor Up Store-Bought Potato Salad

Here's a potato salad time-saver for you just in time for summer cookouts. You'll love how you can transform grocery store potato salad so easily no matter whether you are hosting a BBQ or bringing a side dish for a summer barbecue. There's no judgment here. We don't always have the time to make a potato salad from scratch. Sometimes it is just easier to stop by your local grocery store to pick up a container of store-made potato salad. It's good. It's predictable.  It will do.  All it needs is a little doctoring. How to Make Store-Bought Potato Salad Better When you need a quick potato salad, and have no time to make one from scratch, that ordinary store-bought potato salad you have in your refrigerator can go from blah to amazing in just a few minutes with just a few ingredients. Yes, you can improve store-bought potato salad. How to Doctor Up Potato Salad to have a little more flavor? You're going to a potluck picnic or you are having

Forgotten Pork Chops-A Skillet Dinner

When I first made this pork chop skillet dinner several years ago I knew it was a winner but never predicted how wildly successful it would be with my readers. Perhaps it is the comfort food combination of pork chops with savory rice.  Or maybe it is the easy one-pan preparation.  Whatever it is, you're sure to love this updated, one-pan, comforting Forgotten Pork Chops dinner.  Pork Chops and Rice with Cream of Mushroom Soup (This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  When you purchase through these links I receive a small compensation.)  So you might wonder why I updated the recipe. Like most recipes that are part of my menu rotation, a tweak here or there is customary. I encourage you to do the same.  A tweak here to there will make the recipe your own. 

Can You Make Better Bacon in Water?

What is the best way to cook crisp, tender bacon? Today, let's investigate a new method for cooking bacon on the stove that I'm seeing suggested as a technique that will change your life.  It's frying your bacon in a pan with a small amount of water.  Is cooking bacon with a bit of water in the pan a better way to make bacon? How to Cook Bacon in Water This is a simple, relatively fast way to make perfectly cooked bacon every time. Whether you are looking to impress your guests with a decadent breakfast or just want to enjoy a delicious bacon treat, this technique is the perfect solution.

Spicy Italian Sausage Soup

Is soup your jam in winter? Through the fall and winter months, I like to make a big pot of soup at least once a week.  We'll have it for dinner and then for lunches until it is gone.  Today's recipe for Spicy Italian Sausage Soup is one of those hearty soups that will be perfect with a piece of crusty bread for dipping. Italian Sausage Soup to Spice Up Your Life This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.   Serve Up Spicy Italian Sausage Soup This soup is a flavorful and hearty Italian-inspired dish that combines the rich flavors of sweet and hot Italian sausages with fresh vegetables like red pepper, celery, onion, potatoes, and kale. It's simmered in a savory chicken stock and seasoned with Italian herbs for a deliciously satisfying meal.