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The Greatest Summer BBQ Ideas for a Sensational Summer

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Use these summer BBQ ideas to  plan a summer BBQ that the neighbors will be talking about for years to come – in a good way! From the invitations to the food, drinks and games, I have it all covered.

Plan an epic summer BBQ with these summer BBQ ideas! From BBQ invitations to party decorations to a BBQ menu to rule them all - find everything you need to plan a party the neighbors will talk about for years!
Planning a Theme

Before you get started, you are going to need some basic planning supplies – whether that means a paper notebook and a pen, the notes app on your phone or Evernote. How to use Evernote for Party Planning from Wife.Mom.Geek outlines how you can use Evernote to effectively plan your party.

Next you need to start brainstorming themes! This is the fun part. Start a Pinterest board for all the great ideas you find. Here is my Party Ideas Pinterest board that you can Follow to get started with.

Follow Camille Gabel’s board Party Ideas on Pinterest.

Once you have your theme, you can start getting down to the party details. What kind of invitations do you want to use? Will you go paperless with Evite or DIY a cute printable invitation? Here are some great ideas for invitations:

DIY décor

Pool Noodle Pool Party Garland

Keeping in mind your chosen theme, you will want to start planning your decor. I love DIY and this is a great excuse to make something pretty. For example, if you are throwing a pool party, you might want to decorate with some Pool Noodle Wreaths or check out some other Pool Party Decoration Ideas.

Signs are also a great way to decorate and provide useful information at the same time. You can try something like this DIY Pallet Board Sign from My Paper Craze.

Then you might also want some table decorations. These Mini Strawberry Pinatas from Woods of Bell Trees are SO CUTE and would make a fabulous centerpiece.

Sangria for kids

Kid drinks

Drinks are important too – and kids love cold and fruity drinks at parties! Our favorite is a kids “sangria” that’s super easy to make! Here is a quick tutorial on how to make Fresh Squeezed Lemonade from Happy Hooligans. Here is a recipe for Peach Lemonade Slush from Mom Endeavors. This Orange Juice Frosty from The Educators Spin On It looks so easy for kids.

2 ingredient white wine sangria recipe

Adult drinks

Adults usually like something cold and perhaps fruity to drink at parties too. My go to drink is some kind of sangria.  I prefer a white wine sangria for summer, but a classic red wine sangria is great, too. These Mason Jar Margaritas from Peace But Not Quiet are too clever. Mason jars are cheap and easy to get a lot of them too. You won’t need to worry about how to serve your guests or rely on plastic cups.


Planning an Epic Summer BBQ - Desserts

Appetizers may be the most important food at a party (besides dessert, of course!). Everyone is going to show up hungry and you need to have some yummy treats to give them right away. Here are four delicious and cute appetizer options to choose from:


Main Course Meals

We have finally reached the main course decision! There are so many ways you can go and this is a very big decision. This is an Epic BBQ, so you will obviously need to pick a main course that will be grilled.

You could go traditional, easy BBQ style with some hot dogs. Check out these 15 Surprising Hot Dog Recipes for tons of inspiration. Another traditional option is burgers. Mix it up a little bit with these Taco Burgers from Meaningful Mama or these Cilantro Feta Turkey Burger Wraps from Living Chic Mom.

Barbecue ribs are also a crowd favorite, although they may take a little longer to cook than hot dogs. Crazy Adventures in Parenting has a great recipe for The Best BBQ Ribs you could try.

If you want to get really adventurous, I suggest this Teriyaki Chicken Pineapple Bowl from Pennies Into Pearls. I have never seen anything else like it and I can bet your guests haven’t either. Wow them with a pineapple bowl!

Side Dishes

Planning an Epic Summer BBQ - Side Dishes

Salads and grilled veggies make the perfect side dish for a BBQ. This Strawberry Quinoa Salad from Practical Mommy looks so healthy and flavorful. You can also add onto the mason jar theme with these Mason Jar Salads from The SITS Girls.

For veggies, grilled corn is always a winner and The Classy Chapter has a great recipe for Grilled Corn. This Grilled Asparagus from Pennies Into Pearls also looks quick and easy.

I love corn in the summer and corn on the cob in the slow cooker is a great way to prep corn for a party.  Broccoli Salad with Bacon is another classic party side dish as is good old fashioned baked beans.


Planning an Epic Summer BBQ - Desserts

Mm, dessert! Last but not least. Here are some delicious recipes I found for you to try. Making desserts for a large party is great if you love to cook but you’re trying to keep your calories down. Everyone else will eat the goodies and you won’t be stuck with a full batch of sweets.

This Churro Cupcake from Formula Mom looks absolutely amazing. Cupcakes are great for parties since they are usually pretty easy to eat, and one per person.

If you are thinking about ice cream sandwiches, you will have to look through this list of 25 different Ice Cream Sandwiches .  Ice cream cupcakes are another fun make ahead dessert that’s great for a crowd.

Who doesn’t like s’mores? This S’mores Refrigerator Cake from Study at Home Mama would be perfect for the crowd.

These Watermelon Pops from The Gracious Wife would be perfect for the little kids to eat on the go. Plus they are healthy – bonus!


You can also set up some outdoor games for the kids. This Bowling with Coconuts game from Fun a Day looks like a lot of fun. Or you can play an Angry Birds Water Balloon Game from No Time for Flashcards. Two other options for fun outdoor games for kids is this Sidewalk Chalk Game from Kids Activities Blog or this DIY Paver Hopscotch from Happiness is Homemade.

I hope this helps plan the most epic BBQ of the season. Come back and tell us all about it in the comments below.

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  • Jennifer Tammy
    July 1, 2015

    Thank you so much for including my S’mores Refrigerator Cake 🙂 This is such a great resource for BBQ planning!

    • Camille
      July 2, 2015

      Your cake looks AMAZING!! I can’t wait to make it!

  • Brittanie
    July 1, 2015

    What a great list for summer! Thank you for including my Bite Sized Tacos, they are delicious and so mini and cute! I will be pinning this to my recipe boards. 🙂

    • Camille
      July 2, 2015

      Thanks, Brittanie! I think my kids would love those!