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16 Backyard BBQ Menu Ideas

These backyard BBQ menu ideas will help you plan your next summer gathering.

 

What Exactly Is a Backyard BBQ?

A backyard BBQ is a gathering of friends and family in the backyard of a host where barbecue is prepared and served along with a variety of side dishes. It's common practice to hold this type of gathering during the summer, when the weather is nice. The main courses are frequently prepared on a barbecue grill or pellet smoker by the host and served alongside a variety of family-style side dishes and appetizers.

 

3 Tips for Creating a Backyard BBQ Menu

Backyard barbecues are a popular way to celebrate US holidays such as the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. Follow these guidelines to improve your next backyard barbecue:

1. Select dishes with complementary prep requirements. When planning your backyard barbecue, keep in mind that you will have limited prep space, grill space, and fridge space. Choose dishes that use comparable ingredients and take comparable amounts of time to prepare. This will help you make the most of your prep time and space.

2. Think about dietary restrictions. Consider your guests' dietary restrictions (gluten-free, dairy-intolerant, vegetarian, etc.) when hosting a backyard BBQ to ensure you have options for everyone. Include at least one completely vegetarian entrée.

3. Prepare a wide range of dishes. The buffet table brimming with flavorful side dishes is the centerpiece of any backyard BBQ. If you're hosting, prepare a variety of sides, some cold, some hot, some hand-held, and some scoopable.

 

16 Backyard BBQ Menu Suggestions

Consider the following menu items for your next cookout:

1. Arrosticini: These charcoal-grilled sheep meat skewers with notes of olive oil and rosemary make the ideal Mediterranean-inspired BBQ main dish. Serve arrosticini with crusty bread and a salad of watermelon, mint, and feta.

2. Baked beans: Due to the addition of animal fat, baked beans have sweet, savory, and meaty flavors that complement any backyard barbecue. Baked beans go well with any hearty, slow-cooked pork dish.

3. Barbecued chicken: Almost any cut of chicken becomes perfectly juicy and flavorful when covered in sweet, savory barbecue sauce. Serve BBQ chicken with corn on the cob, summer salad, or as a sandwich on a potato roll.

4. BBQ sauce: Use as a marinade, condiment, or topping for barbecued meats like pulled pork, baby back ribs, beef ribs, brisket, and chicken. Barbecue sauce ingredients vary greatly, but most will include different ratios of tomato and vinegar for the base, as well as a combination of liquid smoke, spices, seasonings, and sweeteners.

5. Beef brisket: The fat and connective tissue in a piece of brisket render to make tender, flavorful meat during a low-and-slow cook time in the smoker. Keep the seasoning on smoked beef brisket simple and clean. Every bite should have a smoky, beefy flavor. Serve this tender cut of meat with German potato salad, salad, or macaroni and cheese.

6. Chocolate ice cream: Nothing beats a scoop of homemade ice cream at a summer backyard barbecue. Set up a sundae station with toppings like marshmallows, candy, walnuts, and chocolate syrup for your homemade chocolate ice cream.

7. Coleslaw: Any home cook can adapt a coleslaw recipe to their preferences. Shredded carrots, onions, broccoli, and cauliflower are common coleslaw ingredients. Serve this fresh side dish alongside any of your favorite grilled or smoked meats to balance out the protein's fatty richness.

8. German potato salad: Unlike the mayonnaise-based version served in the United States, German potato salad has a light vinegar-and-mustard dressing. Many German potato salad recipes include bacon, making it an ideal accompaniment to smoked pork belly. Keep in mind that German potato salad is typically eaten warm.

9. Green beans almondine: Fresh ingredients like green beans, lemon juice, garlic, and sliced or slivered almonds are combined in this dish. Serve smoked turkey and green beans almondine as a backyard-friendly Thanksgiving meal.

10. Pesto bruschetta: Spread a layer of fresh basil pesto on top of toasted bread crostini, then top with a spoonful of a fruity tomato mixture instead of rubbing toasted bread with garlic and tomatoes. The ideal summer-friendly appetizer to hold your guests over until it's time for the main course is this last-minute pesto bruschetta.

11. Pulled pork: Boston butt, pork shoulder, and center-cut pork loin are the most widely used meat cuts for this tender dish that is slow-smoked. Whether you serve pulled pork with vinegar or barbecue sauce, it is a crowd-pleasing main dish. Make pulled pork sandwiches with this tender shredded meat, or serve it on a traditional barbecue platter with coleslaw and buttered rolls.

12. Shish kebab: This dish is made up of tiny pieces of grilled meat and vegetables. For your shish kebab, choose between beef or chicken, and serve it with pita, grilled vegetables, and potatoes.

13. Smoked burger: While grilling hamburgers is a simple and fast process, smoking the patties gives them a juicy texture and rich smoke flavor. Serve your smoked hamburger patties alongside your preferred cheeses, sauces, and garnishes.

14. Smoked chicken wings: Smoked chicken wings have crispy skin and juicy, flavorful meat thanks to the low and slow cooking they receive on a pellet smoker, charcoal grill, or electric smoker. Serve smoked chicken wings with homemade ranch or blue cheese dressing, or bast them in your preferred barbecue sauce or marinade.

15. Smoked mac and cheese: Combine cooked macaroni noodles with a creamy cheese sauce to create this smoky take on the cheesy pasta dish. The dish should then be warmed in a smoker over low indirect heat. This imparts a light smoky flavor to the pasta. Smoked mac and cheese is the ideal indulgent side dish for your favorite grilled meats or a filling vegetarian main dish.

16. Somen salad: This cold pasta salad is perfect for a summer cookout because it is made with thin Japanese somen noodles and a tangy, savory vinegar-based dressing. Shredded cabbage, scrambled eggs, sliced vegetables, and chopped herbs are typical somen salad toppings.

Author: Wispaz Technologies