The forecast is positive, there’s plenty of space on the patio and Alan Titchmarsh would be proud of that lawn! It’s the perfect opportunity to send out some invites and get friends and family round for a BBQ. We’ve already shared with you some of our favourite BBQ food ideas and safety tips, and now it’s time to consider how to turn your BBQ into an event for the ages.

Here are our top BBQ party ideas, including BBQ themes you could follow with your decorations and menu. We suggest some outdoor games for adults and kids to enjoy, and as you’d expect, a few extra BBQ party food ideas to make sure your guests go away full of more than just the joys of summer.

From Cowboys to Camping: BBQ Themes  

It will take a little extra planning, but there’s no better way to enhance a party in the back garden than with a theme. Ask your guests to dress up, add a few props around the garden and tailor your menu.

Here are our top three BBQ themes that you could consider:

1. Camping out

When you think about cooking with flames, it conjures up images of sitting in a forest with friends around a campfire. So why not re-create that scene in the comfort and security of home? Dot some pop up tents around the garden (you could even make them with bedsheets draped over some frames made of sticks if you want to add a ‘survivor’ feel to it), get creative by making a few signs for the lawn such as (‘sheer drop 20m’ or ‘beware of the bears’) and serve drinks from flasks.

Lay blankets out for guests to dine on, but rather than starting a fire on that lovely lawn, cook your food on the BBQ before placing it in the centre of the camping area (possibly on a pile of logs) for guests to sit around and help themselves. Insist they eat with fingers to keep up the theme, but don’t mind if they use the facilities indoors – the pretending only has to go so far!

As for your camping BBQ food ideas, meat off the bone lends itself well to a camping / survival theme – you can all pretend to be devouring food caught that day. Think ribs, chicken drumsticks and chops. For dessert, or a snack, serve up some toasted marshmallows – on theme and fun-filled kids BBQ food. Heat on the BBQ and then serve on the end of skewers or on the end of some washed sticks if you want to be even more authentic.

After dark, sit and tell stories by torchlight or send younger guests on a treasure hunt around the garden – they could be tasked with finding dessert, or their pillow, teddy or sleeping bag before bed. Though whether you decide to all actually sleep outside, is up to you.

2. Authentic Texan BBQ

By hosting a BBQ party, you are paying homage to the American deep south, with the four main styles of BBQ cookery named after the Southern states of Tennessee, North Carolina, Kansas and Texas. For an authentic BBQ theme, you should consider purchasing, hiring or making your own smoker and smoking your sauce smothered meats – but if that sounds a bit much, you can take symbols of Texan culture to apply to your British back garden soiree over the coals or gas unit.

Encourage your guests to dress in a cowboy and cowgirl theme, boots, hats, bandanas and denim. Decorate the back garden with hay and straw and lay a few lassos around the lawn made from old rope. Cover your patio furniture with red and white checked table cloths before blasting out your favourite country and western albums.

Texan BBQ food ideas follow a theme of heat and meat. Marinated ribs, pulled pork, huge steaks and stacked burgers are the perfect fit, served alongside macaroni and cheese. Texas hot dogs (or chilli dogs) served with chilli sauce and jalapenos make great BBQ party food that can be customised by your guests. While the heat may be a sure fire hit with the grown-ups, Texan kids BBQ food can be a little milder – keep some meat separate from the hot marinade, put the familiar condiments on hand aside from the BBQ sauce, and serve up some flame grilled corn on the cob for them to get their teeth into. For dessert, American favourites like apple pie, or chocolate fudge cake that can be passed off as a mud pie.

For added entertainment, whilst hiring a rodeo bull would be perfect, that can be a bit of an ask! There is, however, little to stop you hosting a line dancing competition for all, or if you are thinking of outdoor games for kids, how about a variation on a classic egg and spoon race? Requiring the same balance and athleticism needed for a rodeo, place water balloons onto wooden spoons and race the youngsters up and down the garden. Far more refreshing, and much less messy than if they drop an egg!

Beachside BBQ

A dream evening of dining for many of us would be a BBQ at the beach. Sitting on the sand, enjoying a burger as the waves lap against the shore. Difficult to recreate in the garden – or is it? Ask guests to dress in their favourite Hawaiian shirt, sun hats or even beach wear if they’re feeling brave! Place buckets and spades, maybe a surf board propped against the fence and some assorted Hawaiian leis garlands around the tables for guests to wear.

Beach / Hawaiian / holiday themed BBQ party food should surely have seafood at its heart. One of the easiest BBQ fish dishes is prawn and bruschetta kebabs. Simply cut in half some cooked prawns and alternate onto a skewer with cubes of bruschetta. Coat with oil and crushed garlic and chill for three hours. Then grill on the BBQ until your bread is toasted and prawns tender, before coating with lemon juice and parsley to serve.

Consider other seafood delights such as salmon tacos, fish burgers or delicious grilled mackerel. Serve cocktails and mocktails complete with small umbrellas to bring that holiday vibe to your patio.

To entertain the youngsters, make sure the inflatable pool is well filled (or your permanent pool if you have one!), if you have a sand pit that will also be a welcome addition. Make sure there are plenty of recliners on hand and comfy seats to relax, recline and enjoy the sun.

There are plenty of beach themed games to pass the cooking times. Sand castle competitions, possibly a spot of volleyball if the garden space allows or using the pool as a hook a duck challenge for youngsters.

 

Our favourite BBQ party ideas not only help you and your guests have a memorable time, BBQ themes ensure you have a steer on your menu, decorations, layout and outdoor games for kids (and adults) to keep their minds from hunger. Once you have picked your theme and got the invites out, choose from a fine selection of BBQ party food, drinks and tableware from your local convenience store.