50+ BBQ Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Summer Cookout

Make your next barbecue absolutely legendary.

50+ BBQ Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Summer Cookout

this roundup, so you'll have plenty of options to prepare for your meal. We also have fun, fresh DIY decor to give your outdoor dinner table a little boost. For holiday barbecues, try setting the scene with Fourth of July party decorations or whipping up a few Fourth of July desserts to show your patriotic spirit. After scrolling through this list of tips and ideas, you'll want to plan a barbecue for every single weekend of the summer.

Put On Some Tunes

An essential part of any good party, you need the right mix of tunes. And for an outdoor backyard or beach barbecue, that means adding in at least a few essential summer hits to ensure your playlist really slaps.

Turn a Gardening Bench into a Drinks Bar

Sweep aside the soil but leave the potted herbs and plants! Add a tall pitcher of something delicious and a selection of beer or other canned and bottled drinks and you now have the perfect outdoor bar.

Get Your Game On

Make sure to give the guests something to do besides mingling and sipping on drinks, while you grill everything up. Lawn games like cornhole are a great go-to. If you need a set, let us shamelessly point you to some gorgeous designs we developed with game company Slick Woody's.

Set out a Grazing Board

Let guests serve themselves! While you can add anything to your grazing board, we like to include cured meats, at least one cheese, good crackers, pickled and fresh vegetables, olives, soft boiled eggs, and loads of fresh fruit.

Enlist Helping Hands

Put the little ones to work by enlisting them to serve watermelon slices or other treats to party goers.

Set out a Berry Dessert Spread

Celebrate the season's fruit by putting together an all-berry dessert spread. Guests can choose from Blueberry Whoopie Pies, a Blackberry Coconut Tart, or Raspberry and Pistachio Semifreddo. Trust us, everyone will go home happy.

Serve S'mores in a New Format

S'mores in a cake form! Swirled chocolate and vanilla cake batter get baked in a Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Heritage Bundt Pan then topped with chocolate syrup and toasted mini marshmallows. Your guests won't believe their eyes!

Get More Bang for Your Buck

Melamine plates such as the ones pictured offer the look of pretty porcelain in a much more durable form. And a simple arrangement of dahlias, gerbera daisies, and fireworks-esque spider mums create an eye-catching centerpiece.

Serve a Berry Spritzer

Tis the season for all thing berries! The season's freshest gets mixed up with a little orange juice, sugar, lemon, and fresh basil for a super refreshing drink guests can sip all day long. A DIY garland, made from dyed wooden craft beads, adds extra cheer.

Set Up a Soda Float Buffet

Setting up an outdoor soda float station allows guests to serve themselves. Fill balloons with water and freeze for a festive way to keep the ice cream cold. Make a garland from paper straws and oversize pinwheels from red, white, and blue fabric to decorate the scene. And serve Parmesan tots with dipping sauce so no one crashes from a sugar high!

Grill Up a Pizza

No need to heat up the house by heating up a hot oven. Instead, fire up the grill and cook your pizza outside! Serve these cherry, prosciutto, and goat cheese pizzas as an appetizer or main dish.

Set up a Food Station With the Works

Allow party guests to dress up grilled Italian sausages with an assortment of homemade toppings. We suggest offering Grilled Horseradish Slaw, White Bean and Peppadew Salad, Grilled Lemon Broccolini, and Marinated Peppers and Onions.

Serve a Sparkly Beverage

Stir up a bubbly blend of sparkling rosé and smashed raspberries for a libation that'll be so refreshing on a hot summer day. To make your own festive glasses, simply take plain glassware and draw on fireworks with fine-tipped, oil-based paint markers.

Offer Something on the Lighter Side

With all the indulgent grilled meats and sweet treats, just about everyone will want something green on their plate. This tossed salad is filled with veggies and a homemade dressing loaded with fresh herbs.

Put a Grown-Up Spin on a Beloved Dish

Few can resist the temptation of good old mac and cheese, but a cup of Anchor Steam beer and a quick spin in the oven truly makes this backyard barbecue-friendly batch a next-level crowd-pleaser.

Spruce Up Summer Soda

As if everyone needed more incentive to pop open a cold one (of soda, that is), take it up a notch with cute crate decorations and patterned straw attachments.

Play (Vintage) Card Games

For the porch-sitting crowd, dole out a few vintage playing card decks to inspire some high-stakes rounds of Go Fish.

Set Up a Lemonade Stand

When life gives you lemons, set up a backyard lemonade stand. Little ones can stay occupied by manning this station, and the party refreshments will surely never run dry.

Have Fun With Place Settings

Sitting alongside your nearest and dearest is what makes a barbecue party in the first place, so set a table that reflects that sentiment. Welcome dinner guests with gingham napkins, name cards, and a handful of flowers at each outdoor table setting.

Make Food Kid-Friendly

Dealing with a few picky eaters? Make the barbecue kid's menu (veggies included) look almost too fun to eat, thanks to a quirky race car spin on standard hot dogs.

EZ-Smoker BBQ Accessory

This 12-inch gadget turns any grill into a $1,000+ Smoker within minutes...without the expensive price tag! Add a rich smoked flavor to all kinds of meats, cheeses, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and more.

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