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Summer BBQ Ideas

Summer BBQ Ideas

With Memorial Day, Father’s Day, July 4th, and the summer season upon us, the backyard grill becomes the hero as we plan the perfect summer BBQ Party or get-together. So let's light a match and cover some great ideas for themes, food, and activities to kick off the season!

The great thing about summer BBQs and outdoor cookouts is they are less formal and relaxed.

E-vites are perfectly fine way to send your invitation, in fact they are preferred. LYFETYMES is a free place to plan any size party or get-together, not only Is it free to plan all your parties; you can create a party website, send your party URL via email, or text and guests can enter their email to RSVP. Easy-peasy.

red white and blue party decorations

A Memorial Day party is the first holiday that kicks off everything we love about the summer BBQ season. Decorating for summer BBQs is simple (Memorial Day, of any time you’re throwing a summer party!): stick to red, white, and blue. The American flag makes the perfect backdrop for photos or food displays, so work it into your decorations whenever possible.

If you have an American flag flying proudly at your home, remember to display the flag half-staff before noon on Memorial Day. You can reuse the décor for both holidays. Check out our Patriotic Pinterest page here for over 1,000 amazing ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

You can also add in those ideas to your free LYFETYMES inspiration board for your party when you sign up to plan a celebration.

More Summer BBQ Ideas

Painted Lawn Stars or Sidewalk Stars

painted lawn stars

image: Practically Functional

Wow your guests with this DIY project that will only take you 30 minutes to complete. Cut out star shapes from old cardboard and use red, white, and blue temporary spray paint that you can use on grass or sidewalk. Buy on Amazon

Festive Centerpiece

A 4th of July centerpiece is also a great way to display patriotic party favors. Mix different sizes of American flags and pinwheels in a bucket. It's a bright and colorful display, and the guests can use them during the celebration!

flag centerpiece

image: Between Naps on the Porch

Summer BBQ Streamer


Broad stripes and bright stars make easy decorations for a summer bbq. Get your creative DIY juices flowing and make American flag-print bandanas. Just tie the ends together and string them from tree to tree or above the food table. You can use them with tablescapes and food displays. A bandanna runner adds rugged country charm -- and slips right off the next day.

Creative Summer BBQ Menu Options

Your summer bbq party menu should feature some pretty simple classics. Maximize your time outdoors by cooking almost everything on a grill. Buying all the ingredients for a party can be expensive, and time-consuming.  Here are some ideas that we love for guests:

  •  "You Bring It, We Grill It” style potluck. Each guest brings their favorite grilling item or a side to share. Check out our summer bbq Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration!

  • Small Grill? No Problem- Have each guest bring their favorite famous outdoor family appetizer- people love to show off and share their secret recipes!

  • Bake OFF! Have everyone bring a Red-White-Blue dessert, it is fun and makes an instant Dessert Bar that is an Instagram worthy picture!

With these ideas, everyone saves a bit of money, feels like they have contributed, and insures at least ONE dish that they will like and eat!

Let Guests Know What's on the DIY Menu

chalkboard summer bbq menu board

image: Pinterest

Let your guests know what’s on the menu! Paint a big piece of plywood with black chalkboard paint for a professional-looking board. Then write out a list out what you are serving. This looks very “Hostess with the Mostess and elevates any summer bbq or backyard party.

Signature Cocktail

A great drink setup is essential to any party, because what is a summer BBQ without a full cocktail or mocktail? In addition to your drink offerings, create a signature summer cocktail for your event.

red white and blue drink

image: In Katrina’s Kitchen

There so many red, white, and blue drinks to DIY from adding red and blue Jello Ice cubes to layering colors in equal parts, to simply adding star cut watermelon and blueberries-all are refreshing, delicious, and completely on-theme. Find the recipe pictured above through her link, or her pin found here.

Remember that summer BBQ parties equal heat—It gets hot! Keep the drinks chillin' with colorful balloon ice! It's so simple: fill colorful balloons halfway with water and freeze overnight. Toss them in the cooler to keep drinks cold and festive.

Summer BBQ S’More Treats


image: Fresh Mommy Blog

And nothing says summer quite like a campfire and s’more! Everyone will love this sweet summer treat. But why stop at the traditional chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker combination? You can DIY dye your marshmallows patriotic red-white-blue so when melted it is on the theme- also makes for great “Thank You” take ones.

Or, use food coloring to dye frosting and add that to the top of your marshmallow to make it extra decadent.

Fun & Games

Outside of food and Décor

Fireworks would be amazing for any summer BBQ, but not many people can pull off a fireworks show. time or not allowed to have them, you can fake it with confetti-filled balloon bombs! Create firecracker favors out of kid-friendly party poppers that shoot out confetti and streamers. Check out Pinterest page for all the DIY Poppers and confetti balloon ideas.

Water Balloons

Want to cool off your guests, but you don’t have a pool? Give it up for water balloons! Water balloons are a kid favorite! Water balloons are the PERFECT summer BBQ activity and can spark some friendly competition and hilarious sneak attacks.

Summer BBQ Craft Table

Having a great kids creative table is great for any party. Easy DIY  patriotic ribbon crowns are the perfect July 4th craft for your kids to create! Sport your patriotic pride with the red, white, and blue friendship flag, where the kids can create something for their parents to take home with their handprint on it.

Create A Summer Song List

red white and blue star crown

image: Styles at Life

No party is complete without some music! Keep your playlist upbeat for the daytime, and switch to a more mellow mood when evening comes around. Here’s a pretty stellar list shared with us.

Summer BBQs are all about relaxing and enjoying family, but Memorial Day is a day of appreciation where we remember and honor those men and women who have died while protecting our country.

You can show your support by attending a parade, donating to a military charity, sending a care package to servicemen and women, invite a veteran on your block over to eat, or take them a plate. Above all, taking a moment to remember why we have a three-day weekend.

Looking for summer BBQ ideas and inspiration? From Memorial day to Labor day, we’ve got ideas to get you set for planning your backyard party! | LYFETYMES party planning website #summerbbq #bbqideas #memorialdaybbq #4thofjulypartyideas #summerbbqmenu #summerbbqdecorations
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