summer bbq party ideas

Best BBQ Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Summer Gathering

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  • Post last modified:May 11, 2023
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When it comes to throwing a summer BBQ party, having a theme can take the event to the next level. A theme can help tie all the elements of the party together and make it more memorable for guests. From decorations to food to entertainment, a well-executed theme can make a summer BBQ party stand out.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next summer BBQ party, you’re in luck. In this post, we’ve rounded up the best BBQ party ideas to help you plan the ultimate summer bash. Whether you’re hosting a small get-together or a large outdoor party, there’s a theme on this list that will work for you.

Summer is a great time for outdoor gatherings, but with the current situation in the world, it is essential to follow the guidelines and ensure that everyone is safe. So, while planning the party, it’s important to keep in mind the safety measures and restrictions that are in place in your local area. With that in mind, let’s dive into the exciting world of summer BBQ party themes.

Classic BBQ Party Ideas

When it comes to planning a summer BBQ party, choosing the right theme is key to creating a fun and memorable event. Classic BBQ themes are popular choices that never go out of style. Here are some of the top classic BBQ themes to consider:

  1. Western BBQ
    Yeehaw! This theme is perfect for those who want to channel their inner cowboy or cowgirl. Decorate your backyard with cowboy hats, bandanas, and denim shirts. You can even set up a photo booth area with hay bales and a rustic backdrop. For food, serve up some classic BBQ dishes like smoked brisket, pulled pork, and BBQ chicken.
  2. Hawaiian Luau
    Bring a taste of the tropics to your backyard with a Hawaiian luau theme. Set the mood with leis, tiki torches, and grass skirts. Create a fun atmosphere by playing island-inspired music and serving up fruity cocktails. For food, consider serving up some delicious grilled pineapple, teriyaki chicken skewers, and coconut shrimp.
  3. Beach Party
    If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach or have a pool in your backyard, a beach party theme is the perfect choice for your summer BBQ. Decorate with sand, beach balls, and sun hats to create a beachy atmosphere. Serve up classic summer dishes like grilled burgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob. Don’t forget to make some refreshing cocktails like margaritas or piña coladas.
  4. Americana BBQ
    Celebrate the good old USA with an Americana BBQ theme. Decorate your backyard with red, white, and blue decorations and play some patriotic music to get everyone in the spirit. Serve up classic American dishes like hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad. For dessert, consider making a festive flag cake.

No matter which classic BBQ theme you choose, it’s important to keep your guests in mind and make sure everyone has a good time. Consider adding some fun activities like lawn games or a DIY s’mores station to keep everyone entertained. And of course, make sure you have plenty of delicious food and drinks to go around.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, here are some additional BBQ themes to consider:

  • Southern BBQ: Think pulled pork, mac and cheese, and cornbread.
  • Mexican Fiesta: Serve up tacos, guacamole, and margaritas.
  • Mediterranean Grill: Grilled veggies, hummus, and pita bread are just a few of the delicious options for this theme.
  • Farm-to-Table BBQ: Choose locally sourced ingredients and highlight seasonal produce for a fresh and sustainable twist on classic BBQ dishes.
  • Beer and BBQ: Pair your favorite craft beers with different types of BBQ for a fun and delicious experience.

No matter what theme you choose, remember that the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the company of friends and family. Happy grilling!

Unique BBQ Themes

While classic BBQ themes are always popular, adding a unique twist to your summer BBQ party can take it to the next level. Here are some creative and fun BBQ themes to consider for your next gathering:

  1. Backyard Movie Night: Combine the fun of a BBQ party with a movie night under the stars. Set up a projector and screen in your backyard and provide cozy blankets for your guests to snuggle up with. Offer classic movie theater snacks like popcorn, candy, and soda.
  2. S’mores Bar: Who doesn’t love a gooey, delicious s’more? Set up a DIY s’mores bar at your BBQ party with all the necessary ingredients: marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, and various toppings like sprinkles, caramel sauce, and peanut butter. Your guests can create their own unique s’mores creations and enjoy a sweet treat by the fire pit.
  3. Fiesta BBQ: Bring a bit of Mexican flavor to your BBQ party with a fiesta theme. Decorate with vibrant colors, piñatas, and sombreros. Serve up delicious tacos, chips and guacamole, and margaritas. Don’t forget the music, either – salsa and mariachi tunes will keep the party going all night long.
  4. Wine-Tasting BBQ: If you’re looking for a more sophisticated BBQ theme, consider hosting a wine tasting party. Set up a tasting station with a variety of wines, wine glasses, and cheese platters. Provide scorecards for your guests to rate each wine, and consider offering prizes for the top scores.
  5. Luau BBQ: If you can’t make it to Hawaii this summer, bring the tropical island vibe to your own backyard with a Luau theme. Decorate with tiki torches, palm fronds, and hibiscus flowers. Serve up fruity drinks like mai tais and pina coladas, along with classic Hawaiian dishes like spam musubi and poke bowls.
  6. Sports BBQ: For sports lovers, consider hosting a sports-themed BBQ party. Decorate with your favorite team’s colors and logos, and set up games like cornhole and ladder toss. Serve up classic sports bar food like chicken wings and nachos, and make sure to have the game on TV for everyone to enjoy.
  7. Country Fair BBQ: Bring the fun of a county fair to your BBQ party with a carnival theme. Set up booths with games like ring toss and balloon darts, and offer classic fair food like cotton candy, funnel cakes, and caramel apples. Don’t forget to play some country music to complete the vibe.
2012 Town of Frisco Barbecue Challenge Frisco Colorado

Country Rodeo BBQ Party Theme

Yeehaw! What could be more festive in the summertime than a country rodeo theme BBQ party complete with country-western music and cowboy decor? Dressing up in Stetson hats and cowboy boots are optional, but certainly adds to the fun. And if you’re feeling super entertaining, rent a Mechanical Bull! If you’re not into all of that, let the food be the (lone)star of the celebration. Our Country Rodeo BBQ menu will keep everybody happy:

  • 18 Hour Smoked Brisket
  • Fresh boneless chicken breasts
  • Black Angus Burgers (or Vegan burgers for plant-based eaters)
  • Molasses baked beans
  • American Potato Salad
  • Sliced Watermelon

Philly’s Best BBQ Theme Party

How about something more reminiscent of home? Philly is the birthplace of America after all, and we know how to throwdown like the best of them. Besides the usual red, white, and blue, decorate with mini Liberty bells, blast some Will Smith, and invite Ben Franklin to show up. Forget the cheesesteaks and hoagies, here’s what will make a Philly BBQ party pop off:

  • St Louis Style Ribs
  • Picnic Fried Chicken
  • Hamburgers
  • German Potato Salad
  • Bow Tie Caprese Pasta Salad
  • Strawberry Quinoa Salad
  • Homemade Chips

Escape to the Islands Theme BBQ Party

Traveling to a tropical island might not be in the cards this year, so we’ll bring the islands to you! Break out the flower garlands, palm trees, and fruity cocktails for an island-themed BBQ party in your backyard. You’ll feel like you’ve escaped to the Caribbean with island-inspired fare such as:

  • Grilled Vegetable Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
  • Coconut Chicken Bites
  • Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Mango Salsa
  • Gingered Pulled Pork
  • Cuban Style Roasted Chickpeas
  • Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone & Honey

These unique BBQ themes will take your summer gatherings to the next level, and are sure to be a hit with your guests. Get creative, have fun, and enjoy the warm weather and delicious food!

Themed Menus

A great way to enhance the overall theme of your summer BBQ party is to plan a menu that complements the theme. Here are some themed menu ideas that are sure to be a hit with your guests:

  1. Western BBQ Menu

This menu features classic BBQ favorites with a Western twist. Serve up some smoky and tender brisket, fall-off-the-bone pulled pork, and homemade cornbread. Don’t forget to add a side of baked beans for the perfect finishing touch.

Western BBQ Menu
Smoked brisket
Pulled pork
Baked beans
  1. Hawaiian Luau Menu

Bring the tropical vibes to your backyard with a Hawaiian Luau menu. Grill up some juicy pineapple slices and serve them alongside succulent coconut shrimp and finger-licking Hawaiian-style ribs.

Hawaiian Luau Menu
Grilled pineapple
Coconut shrimp
Hawaiian-style ribs
  1. Beach Party Menu

For a beach party-themed menu, seafood is a must-have. Consider hosting a seafood boil with fresh shrimp, crab legs, and clams. Alternatively, serve up some delicious fish tacos and pair them with a refreshing fruity drink.

Beach Party Menu
Seafood boil
Fish tacos
Fruity drinks
  1. Americana BBQ Menu

For an all-American BBQ theme, stick to classic favorites like burgers, hot dogs, and apple pie. These crowd-pleasing items are sure to satisfy everyone’s appetite and add to the patriotic vibe of the party.

Americana BBQ Menu
Hot dogs
Apple pie

No matter what theme you choose for your summer BBQ party, incorporating a themed menu is a great way to tie everything together and impress your guests. With these menu ideas, your party is sure to be a success!

BBQ Decorations

One of the keys to creating a memorable BBQ party is to have the right decorations that will set the tone for the event. Whether you’re going for a classic, rustic, or modern theme, there are a few key elements you can incorporate to make your party a hit.

Table Settings:

A classic BBQ look is a checkered tablecloth paired with mason jar glasses and paper plates. It gives off a laid-back, casual vibe and adds a touch of nostalgia. You can also add a pop of color with brightly colored napkins and table runners that will make your table setting look even more fun and festive.


Lighting can set the mood for any event, and BBQ parties are no exception. String lights, lanterns, and candles are great ways to create ambiance and provide a warm and cozy feel. String lights are perfect for outdoor parties and can be draped across trees or along the edges of a porch. Lanterns can be hung or placed on tables to provide additional lighting and create a cozy atmosphere. Candles can also add to the ambiance and provide a lovely scent.


Flower arrangements, succulents, and fruit bowls are great options for creating a beautiful and unique centerpiece. Fresh flowers in mason jars or other vintage containers are a classic choice and provide a rustic look. Succulents are also a popular option and can be arranged in various sized pots or in a terrarium. For a more whimsical look, you can create a fruit bowl centerpiece with fresh fruit such as pineapples, watermelon, and strawberries.


Signage is a great way to add a personal touch to your BBQ party. Chalkboard signs can be used to label food items or provide directions to guests. Banners can be hung across the porch or backyard and can display messages such as “Welcome to our BBQ party” or “Enjoy the Food and Drinks”. Photo backdrops are also a fun addition and provide a great opportunity for guests to take photos and capture memories from the event.

There are many ways to incorporate decorations into your BBQ party that will create a fun and festive atmosphere. From table settings to lighting, centerpieces, and signage, you can add a personal touch and create a memorable experience for you and your guests. With the right decorations, your BBQ party is sure to be a hit!

Entertainment Ideas

No BBQ party is complete without some fun and entertaining activities for guests to enjoy. Whether you are hosting a small gathering or a large party, incorporating some entertainment ideas can help keep the party going and create memorable experiences for your guests. Here are some great ideas to consider:

  1. Backyard Games:

Backyard games are a classic choice for any outdoor party, and they can keep guests of all ages entertained for hours. Some popular games include:

  • Cornhole: A beanbag toss game that can be played with teams or individuals.
  • Horseshoes: A classic game that involves tossing horseshoes at a metal stake.
  • Giant Jenga: A fun and challenging game where players take turns removing wooden blocks from a tower without causing it to collapse.
  1. Music Playlist:

Music is an essential part of any party, and creating a great playlist can help set the mood and keep guests entertained. Consider selecting songs that are upbeat, fun, and popular among your guests. Some popular music genres for BBQ parties include:

  • Country: A classic choice for BBQ parties, country music can help create a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
  • Reggae: With its laid-back rhythms and tropical vibes, reggae music is a great choice for summer parties.
  • Classic rock: For those who prefer a more classic vibe, classic rock hits from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s can help create a nostalgic and fun atmosphere.
  1. Photo Booth:

A photo booth is a great way to help guests create lasting memories of your BBQ party. You can set up a DIY photo booth using props, frames, and DIY backdrops, or you can rent a professional photo booth for a more polished look.

  1. DIY Crafts:

DIY crafts can be a fun and engaging activity for guests of all ages. Some popular options for BBQ parties include:

  • Tie-dye shirts: Guests can bring their own white T-shirts, and you can provide the tie-dye materials.
  • Friendship bracelets: This classic summer camp activity can be a fun way for guests to create personalized souvenirs of the party.
  • Dream catchers: A more involved craft project, dream catchers can be a fun way for guests to get creative and make something unique.

Overall, incorporating some entertainment ideas into your BBQ party can help create a fun and memorable experience for your guests. Whether you opt for backyard games, a great music playlist, a photo booth, or DIY crafts, be sure to choose activities that suit your guests’ interests and preferences.


In conclusion, having a theme for your summer BBQ party can elevate the overall experience and make it more memorable for you and your guests. Whether it’s a Hawaiian luau, a Western BBQ, or a backyard movie night, a theme can tie everything together and create a cohesive atmosphere.

We encourage you to try out different themes and get creative with your party planning. Don’t be afraid to mix and match ideas or come up with your own unique theme. The possibilities are endless!

There will be plenty of opportunities for BBQ fun this summer. We’ll be here when you need us to feed your small backyard crowd. Explore our BBQ/picnic menu here. Give us a call at 610-251-0265 to book now!

And if you’re looking for more inspiration and ideas for your summer parties, be sure to follow our blog or social media accounts. We’ll continue to share tips, recipes, and theme ideas to make your summer gatherings the talk of the season. Happy party planning!