BBQ Party Ideas

Invitations

Decorations

Barbecuing may be an American pastime, but each region has its own unique style. Select a theme and carry it through from decorations to food preparations. For example, if you want to have a Texas-style BBQ, go over the top with rhinestone cowboy accessories and Lone Star décor. If the Deep South is more your speed, hang a tire swing from a sturdy tree branch and serve sweet tea in jelly jars.

If you're keeping your barbecue a little more general, a few simple touches can give your backyard a lively atmosphere. The classic red-and-white checkered tablecloths are synonymous with BBQs. You can also line walkways with votives or river stones and drape a little red and white crepe paper along low-lying tree branches. Hanging white twinkle lights on fences or patio railings provides great ambience when the sun begins to set.

If there's room, set up a tent or canopy, or encircle a table with netting to create a graceful buffet area. For some added flare, incorporate a fire pit or chiminea, which are perfect for adding light in the evening as well as for roasting marshmallows. Burning pinion pine chips is also particularly effective in repelling mosquitoes and other annoying insects.

Visit the Evite Party Store to get more ideas and buy supplies!

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Attire

Since barbecues typically celebrate summertime, dress in light, colorful clothing. Throw on a western shirt, a straw hat, bright shorts or sandals.

You can embody the Palm Beach aesthetic of Lilly Pulitzer with pinks and aquas, or go more surf-casual with flip-flops and jams, dude. Do it up in gingham by dressing in red-and-white-checked everything to channel your inner Ellie May. Be sure to bring warmer items like sweaters or wraps, since it can get a little chilly after sundown.

Other BBQ essentials to have on hand:

  • Bandanas
  • Kiss the Cook apron
  • Plastic bibs
  • BBQ tools — tongs, basting brush, spatula, prong fork
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen

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Activities

Enjoying the beautiful weather and the company of friends is what barbecues are all about. However, a few fun activities for guests of all ages can certainly liven things up. Here are some ideas that will keep your company entertained and make your BBQ a memorable event:

  • Set up a fun yard game like horseshoes, croquet or badminton and have prizes for the winners.
  • Hold a three-legged race. To make it especially interesting, pair adults with kids and watch as hilarity ensues.
  • A water balloon toss is an exciting game for kids and adults and helps to beat the heat — unless guests are particularly skillful.
  • Roast marshmallows and make s'mores for an activity that doubles as dessert.

Kick it up a notch and hold your own barbecue sauce competition by having your guests bring their own homemade sauces. Pick a couple guests who fancy themselves BBQ experts and have a taste test to see whose sauce reigns supreme.

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Food

Food is the centerpiece of any barbecue. Decide what region you'd like to highlight and follow its BBQ preferences.

  • For Kansas City-style, slow cook pork ribs and slather them in a molasses-infused sauce. These ribs pair perfectly with baked beans and creamed corn.
  • In Texas, barbecuing is all about cooking beef brisket over lots of smoke and low heat for hours. Texans tend to skip the sauce (to get the meat's true flavor) — serve up your meat alongside macaroni and cheese and potato salad.
  • If Carolina-style BBQ is your flavor, roast pork chops in a spicy, vinegar-based sauce and pair them with coleslaw and deviled eggs.

For your non-meat-eating guests, your menu should include plenty of grilled veggies. Skewer green and red peppers, eggplant, and zucchini, brush with olive oil and cook them directly on the grill. Wrap corncobs in foil and toss them on as well for corn that is crisp and juicy.

Think classic Americana when creating your desserts. Apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is sure to please the masses. Another easy favorite is the homemade ice cream sandwich — spread a thick layer of your favorite ice cream between two freshly baked cookies, squeeze them together and enjoy!

Drinks

Hard Lemonade

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 oz of lemon-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

Mix the sugar and water in a small pot and boil to make a simple syrup. Let cool. Add 1/2 cup simple syrup, lemon juice, vodka and lemon zest. Stir together and serve. For a twist, pour ingredients into ice cube trays, add raspberries, sprig of mint or a slice of lemon (rind included) and freeze.

Blend cubes together in a blender.

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Recipes

Sweet Spicy Wings
Pizza On The Grill I
Malaysian Barbecue Chicken Wings
Basil Shrimp
Marinated Flank Steak
BBQ Chicken Wings
Slow Cooked Baked Beans
Key West Chicken
Sensational Sirloin Kabobs
Honey-Ginger Grilled Salmon
Lemon Dijon Wings
BBQ Potatoes with Green Onions
Southwestern Roasted Corn Salad
Grilled Sausage with Potatoes and Green Beans
Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs
Honey Mustard Beer Brats