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BBQ Party Menu Ideas: 5 Stellar Menu Ideas & Easy Recipes Your Guests Will Beg You For

By Jayme Muller

April 19, 2023

Not satisfied with your typical backyard barbecue fare?

We understand completely!

While certainly, none of your guests would complain about the usual hamburgers and hot dogs… There’s something to be said about tapping into your culinary creativity.

Hence, why you’re on the hunt for some BBQ party menu ideas.

You’re right where you need to be!

In this blog, we’ll go through some overall menu plans for inspiration… And some delectable recipes to impress your friends!

Let’s get cooking.

Quick Links:

man grilling ribs on pellet grill

Easy BBQ Party Menu Ideas

While it’s nice to browse individual recipes… You might want to offer a more cohesive menu to your guests.

If so… Let’s take a look at some BBQ party food list ideas (with recipe links!) that would be a dream served together.

The Classics (With a Twist)

Here’s the thing. Even if you want to deviate from the standard BBQ party offerings… They’re classics for a reason!

So why not enjoy the classics… But each with a fun twist?

Swap out your regular hot dog for a reuben dog instead.

Kick your burgers up a notch with Korean bulgogi burgers… And throw an over-easy egg on top for extra richness!

There’s no need to settle for ho-hum potato salad, either. Ditch the mayo and whip up Bobby Flay’s German potato salad recipe.

Same goes for coleslaw. A honey-lime version will give you that tangy flavor you crave… Without the heaviness.

And if you’re a fan of pasta salad… You’ll know there’s endless variations out there! But have you tried a creamy, spinach-basil version? Fresh basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese gives this salad a fantastic pesto flavor!

To us, it’s not really a barbecue without a platter of watermelon slices to refresh your palate. But you don’t have to stop there!

Watermelon sorbet would be particularly refreshing… Especially on a scorching hot day!

Now, let’s get out of our comfort zone a bit with this next BBQ party food idea.

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Go for a Mediterranean Style

mediterranean style lamb leg

Mediterranean flavors are ever-popular… But they’re not usually the featured cuisine at a BBQ party!

You can change that!

In fact… There are a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes that are perfectly suited to outdoor cooking.

If you have a rotisserie attachment on your grill… A rotisserie leg of lamb is calling for you to make it the main dish!

And for your guests that aren’t as fond of red meat…. Greek chicken kebabs will never be turned down! (or is it kabobs?)

The ever-classic Greek salad with feta is a perfect match for any Mediterranean meal. Consider serving it with some grilled bread… Which is the ideal vehicle for sopping up olive oil!

To round out the meal… Grill some vegetables and serve it with some tasty, tangy, tzatziki sauce!

No matter where you live… You’ll feel like you were transported straight to the Mediterranean coastline!

Although, perhaps your tastes carry you to a different part of the globe.

Embrace a Mexican Flair

skirt steak street taco

If you want your BBQ party food to explode with addictive flavors… Strongly consider going for a Mexican-style menu!

There’s an endless amount of popular dishes to choose from (tacos and burritos, anyone?)…. And it’s an excellent excuse to fire up your flat top grill, if you have one!

Some skirt steak street tacos are always a welcome addition to the menu! Consider kicking up the flavor even more by serving it with some chipotle aioli!

Now, let’s talk side dishes.

While you could go for some regular old corn on the cob… Some Mexican street corn sounds far more exciting!

Smothered in a mouthwatering sauce and cheese, this grilled corn recipe is perfect for your flat top.

But of course… It wouldn’t be a Mexican-themed meal without black beans! This simply-spiced recipe is packed with flavor, but won’t overpower your main dish.

And to bring this menu full-circle… Alton Brown’s guacamole with tortilla chips is an absolute must-have.

But perhaps… You want that full-bodied smoke flavor to be on full display in your menu!

Southern-Style Smoky Barbecue Menu for BBQ Party

red kamado joe ceramic smoker with meat cooking

There’s nothing quite like a slab of protein smoked to melt-in-your-mouth, tender, perfection.

Good things come to those who wait… And for the low-and-slow griller, the rewards come in abundance!

If you’ve got the time, Southern style barbecue flavors will blow your guests away. (It’s some of the best BBQ party food you could possibly make!)

Southern smoked brisket, Carolina pulled pork, and BBQ chicken will all be fighting for space on your outdoor kitchen smoker!

Perhaps if you’ve got two kamado smokers… You can double your protein output!

Naturally, the protein is the star of the show. But Southern BBQ sides are no slouch, either.

Smoked baked beans with brown sugar is sure to be a hit… And Southern-Style cornbread will be found on every plate!

Coleslaw is a common addition as well. But if you want this meal to be ultra-rich… Baked macaroni and cheese is like none other.

Now, this menu may not be calling out to you. Do you still want a ton of variety, without all the maintenance a smoker requires?

Check out this BBQ dinner party idea.

Diversify with Appetizers

buffalo chicken dip

Serving up a wide array of appetizers will be sure to please any palate… And they’re just plain fun to eat!

As you’re aware, most appetizers are made indoors with the use of an oven. But if you have a pellet grill… You can use it as an outdoor oven and get some incredible smoky flavor on your dishes!

Take for example, smoked buffalo chicken dip. This dish is addictive enough as it is… But adding some smoke flavor will truly make it out of this world!

Your cookout will be made even better with some smoked jalapeno poppers. They’re wrapped in bacon… How could you possibly say no? (That also means they are gluten-free!)

If you’re missing out on grill marks… Some grilled buffalo wings will do the trick!

Don’t forget to make the most of the fresh summer produce, either! Zucchini is in abundance during the summer months… Which is a great excuse to whip up some zucchini fries!

Veggie skewers are always an easy recipe to pull off, too! Just grab whatever’s fresh, put it on a skewer, season… And grill to perfection!

Are the ideas beginning to churn? We certainly hope so!

Let’s direct our attention away from BBQ party menu planning… And onto some recipes to make this the best summer cookout you’ve ever hosted!

Delicious & Easy BBQ Party Recipes

If you want some easy BBQ party food to truly impress your guests… We’ve got just the thing!

Jet Tila’s Naga Dog

Recipe Author: Jet Tila

Source: 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die

Serves: 4

“Modern food truck food is a great mashup of cuisines. This Japanese mashup is a perfect way to make a hot dog interesting for BBQs, tailgates or just when you need to change up hot dog night. Try these sauces on your favorite burger as well” – Jet Tila.

This twist on the classic hot dog is a welcome summer BBQ party food idea for any menu! (This is also a great recipe for your flat top!)

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients:

  • 4 Red Hot Sausages
  • 4 Hot Dog Buns
  • 4 oz Wasabi Mayo (see below)
  • 4 oz Sriracha Mayo (see below)
  • 1/2 Cup Teriyaki Sauce (see below)
  • 3/4 Cup Kimchi
  • 4 tb Nori Seaweed, Shredded

Sriracha Mayo Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tb Sriracha Chili Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil

Wasabi Mayo Ingredients:

  • 2 tb Wasabi Powder
  • 2 tb Water
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise

Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Sake
  • 3 oz Mirin
  • 4 oz Soy Sauce
  • 3 tb Sugar
  • 1 tb Cornstarch Combined with 1 tb Water

DIRECTIONS

Directions for the Sriracha Mayo & Wasabi Mayo:

  1. Stir each set of ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.

Directions for the Teriyaki Sauce:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat; whisk until the sugar dissolves, the sauce bubbles, and thickens slightly.

Directions for the Naga Dogs:

  1. Warm the hot dogs and buns on a flat top until cooked through. Load the link into the bun.
  2. Start by slathering 1 oz each of the wasabi and sriracha mayo, then 1 oz of teriyaki sauce.
  3. Top the dog with kimchi and nori shreds. Serve at your BBQ dinner party!

Jet Tila’s Buddha’s Delight

buddahs delight

Recipe Author: Jet Tila

Source: 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die

Serves: 4

“There are times when I just crave a wok full of vegetables, and this is my go-to dish. It’s chock full of different textures and flavors. If there is something you hate, get rid of it and sub in something you love! This is a light, healthy but super flavorful vegetable stir-fry” – Jet Tila.

This recipe can be cooked on a flat top grill… Or a power burner, if you have the wok attachment!

Jet Tila’s Pro-Tips

  • Cut all the larger vegetables into 1/4” strips, and keep smaller vegetables like snow peas and bean sprouts whole.
  • The best tofu for the wok is a tofu that is vacuum packaged, not the tofu in water. This tofu has naturally formed a skin and will not stick in the wok or pan. It comes naturally white, fried, or often coated in a soy sauce or five-spiced glaze. It is usually in the deli section of a well-stocked grocery store and sometimes merchandised next to the cheese and cold cuts. Tofu in water should only be used for wet applications like soups or braises.

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Stock
  • 3 tb Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tb Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch
  • Pinch of White Pepper

Ingredients for Stir-Fry:

  • 2 tb Vegetable Oil
  • 1 14 oz Package of Firm Tofu, Cut into Large Dice
  • 2 tsp Ginger, Sliced Thinly
  • 12 Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 4 oz Canned Bamboo Shoots, Sliced
  • 6 Canned Water Chestnuts, Sliced
  • 1 Cup Bean Sprouts
  • 1/2 Cup Carrots, Julienned
  • 1 Cup Napa Cabbage, Shredded
  • 2 oz Snow Peas, Trimmed

Directions

Directions for the Sauce:

  1. Stir together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, making sure the cornstarch is dissolved well. Set aside.

Directions for the Stir-Fry:

  1. Heat your flat top grill or wok over medium-high to high heat.
  2. Swirl in 2 tb of oil to the heated surface and coat the bottom.
  3. When you see wisps of white smoke, add the tofu. Stir-fry until light brown on the edges, about 2 minutes.
  4. Then, add the ginger and stir-fry until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the remaining vegetables and keep them moving while searing. Don’t be scared to scrape the pan and fold the vegetables over many times.
  6. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until the napa cabbage gets bright green and starts to soften.
  7. Stir in the sauce. Coat all the vegetables and tofu, and bring the sauce to a boil. The cornstarch will thicken into a glaze, about 1 minute.
  8. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Grilled Chicken Breast with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Source: Coyote Outdoor Living

Serves: 3

Want a recipe that everyone will love… Guaranteed? Grilled chicken with barbecue sauce can’t be beat here!

Plus, it’s an easy food for a BBQ party that anyone can pull off!

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Cup Onions, Diced
  • 2 tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Ketchup
  • 3 tb Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
  • 2 tb Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard Powder

DIRECTIONS

Directions for Barbecue Sauce:

  1. Chop the onions and place them in a pan with olive oil.
  2. Saute onions until soft and clear, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add all other ingredients.
  4. Simmer on the stove for 15 minutes.
  5. Store in an airtight jar.

Directions for Grilling the Chicken:

  1. Turn one side of the gas grill onto high heat. Place the chicken breasts next to the burners, so that they cook indirectly.
  2. Depending on the size of the breast, cook for about 15 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until the chicken is almost done, about 10-15 minutes. Only turn the chicken twice. The key is to cook it on indirect heat and “leave it alone”.
  3. Once the chicken is almost (about 90%) done, brush with the barbecue sauce and place chicken on medium-high heat. Cook on each side for approximately 3-5 minutes, until the sauce is cooked and seared onto the breasts.
  4. Serve immediately.

Chef Paul’s Pork Chops with Salsa Verde

Source: Coyote Outdoor Living

Serves: 2

This recipe is not only simple and delicious… It can even be cooked on a portable grill! This is an easy BBQ recipe anyone can enjoy.

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bone-in Pork Chops
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 Tomatillos
  • 1 Poblano Pepper
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 Green Onions
  • 6-10 Olives to Garnish

DIRECTIONS

Directions:

  1. Allow the chops to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your grill for 5 minutes.
  3. Brush olive oil on both sides of the pork chops.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chops. Then, brush olive oil one more time on the sides of the pork chops.
  5. Peel husk from tomatillo and wash. Wash the poblano peppers, and peel the garlic.
  6. Place garlic, tomatillos, and poblano pepper on the grill for a total of 5 minutes.
  7. Flip pork chops after 5 minutes.
  8. Remove garlic, tomatillo, and poblano pepper from the grill. Remove the stem from the poblano pepper.
  9. Trim ends off of green onion.
  10. Put tomatillo, pepper, garlic, cilantro, and green onions into a blender. Blend briefly to combine.
  11. Add salt and pepper to the salsa mixture.
  12. Remove pork chops when fully cooked.
  13. Garnish the chops with olives, and spoon salsa over the top.
  14. Allow meat to rest for a couple minutes, then serve.

Alright. Enough BBQ party menu ideas! What’s next?

Want a Better Way to Host?

You’ve just perused a ton of excellent BBQ party food menus and recipes… So of course, you’re eager to get your party underway!

But first… It’s worth considering something.

What is the best way you can host your gathering?

Throwing a BBQ party can turn into quite a bit of work if you’re not properly set up.

You’re constantly running food in and out of the house… There’s nowhere to prep food or put anything down… And it can quickly become rather annoying!

There’s a way this can be completely eliminated.

How?

With an outdoor kitchen, of course!

It’s a grilling station, prep station, serving station, and can even be a dining area… All in one place!

When it comes to hosting a barbecue… Nothing can come close to the convenience an outdoor kitchen provides.

You’ll have an expansive countertop for prep work and serving the finished product. (And if you have a bar island, there’s your dining table!)

The rest is tailored to your needs.

If you want drinks available at all times… You’ll be interested in an outdoor refrigerator, ice maker, or even a drop in cooler.

Sinks and pull-out trash bins are super-convenient for tidying up before, during, and after the party.

Don’t forget about storage either! Drawers, spice cabinets, and paper towel holders keep everything you need in place.

The cooking appliances are where you can get massively creative! If you prefer to cook a variety of cuisine… You don’t have to be limited to a single appliance.

Built-in gas grills, charcoal grills, flat top grills, kamado smokers, side burners, power burners, pellet grills… The sky is the limit here.

Getting excited about the idea?

We are too!

To see the full extent of what is possible in your backyard… Check out our free online design tool!

You’ll be able to create the outdoor kitchen of your dreams in mere minutes.

And should you decide you want to take this project to the next step… We’d be honored to assist!

Need Help With Your Plans?

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FAQ

A typical BBQ menu will include hot dogs, burgers, and grilled chicken as the primary proteins. For sides, potato salad, cole slaw, and fruit salads are common features.

If you want a menu item that impresses your guests… Some popular choices are ribs, pulled pork, crispy chicken wings, and steak. Offering an ice cream social is always a welcome addition, too!

For a large group, you’ll want to stick to menu ideas that are easy to prepare for a crowd. Vegetable and chicken skewers are always an excellent option to consider. Ribs, mac and cheese, baked beans, grilled sausages, and potato salad are all relatively easy to cook for a large group.

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