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How to Throw the Best Backyard BBQ

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By Madeline Klein on July 1, 2022 in Life Hacks

Summer is officially here, so it’s time for backyard BBQs to make their yearly debut. We’re here to make sure you nail every aspect of it, from the setup to the sides!

The Setup

Don’t skip the setup when jumping into your BBQ expedition. While it might not seem important compared to other planning elements, the tiny details can make your event flawless.

  • Buffet Style

The buffet-style setup is classic and timeless. You have one area for food, one area for desserts, one area for drinks, and one area for sitting and eating. Not only will this keep guests moving through the line, but it’ll probably keep them happier, too (because they get to eat sooner!).

Plus, if you pre-roll cutlery, then guests can just grab and go!

  • Topping Station

The topping station should be strategically placed right after the food area but before the desserts. This gives your guests the ability to customize their burgers or hot dogs. Obviously, you need the classics like ketchup, mustard, relish, and BBQ sauce, but if you want to get crazy you could offer bacon, pickled or grilled onions, different kinds of cheese, and even guacamole. Yeah, your backyard BBQ can have all the fixin’s!

Bonus points for spicing up your burger game by offering different takes on the classic burger. Here are some options:

Prepare for Anything

As the hostess with the most-est, you must be prepared for anything and everything. The best way to do this? By packing and not forgetting your outdoor emergency kit. A good outdoor emergency kit should include:

Another thing that is very important, but you can’t “pack” in your emergency kit: a backup plan. Although we hope that the spring showers are done by the time you have your BBQ, we all know rain can strike at any time. SheKnows shares some ideas on what to do when the forecast becomes your foe.

Tidy as You Go

Tidying as you go is our little secret cleaning hack. Whether you’re cooking at home for your family or preparing a huge backyard BBQ, it’s proven to save you time in the long run. Here are a couple of tips to put our plan into practice:

  • Start by doing a quick clean-up right after grilling. We’ve all experienced the pain of scraping burnt hamburgers off the grill because we let them sit too long.
  • Opt for paper or plastic cutlery to save yourself hours of washing dishes later. If you’re conscious of the environment like us, don’t worry here are some biodegradable options!
  • Label trash and recycle bins, so your guests know where to dump their items.
  • Leave cleaning wipes out in case of spills, and so they can be cleaned up ASAP.

Make a Playlist

It’s not a party without some jams. You can use an already curated playlist like Spotify’s Backyard BBQ, or make your own! Or use Spotify Group Session to allow all your guests to add their favorite songs and play them in real-time.

Pro Tip: If you decide to make your own playlist, choose a combination of upbeat classics and toned-down easy listening tunes for the perfect party playlist.

Keep it Cool with Drinks

In the summer heat, drinks are required to keep people cool. Be sure to offer water and soda, and alcoholic beverages if you and your guests enjoy those!

Bonus: Make fruity ice cubes to add even more flavor to your drinks!

Sides are Sure to Win

For us? It’s all about the sides. We want to take away as much of the planning burden as possible, so we compiled the best recipes for these classic BBQ sides (or so they claim…you will have to tell us how they turn out!).

End with Delicious Desserts

We’ve saved the best for last. You guessed it, desserts! Although we typically tend to eat ours first.

Plus, don’t forget the classic fan-favorite, vanilla ice cream!

Kickback with Yard Games

Now that we locked down all the best foods, it’s time to think about entertainment. It’s important to choose games that are appropriate and fun for all ages! We’ve included several ideas below.


We’re confident that with all these tips your backyard BBQ will go off without a hitch. Whether this is your first or hundredth BBQ, hopefully, we gave you some inspiration to mix it up this summer!

Be sure to share pictures of your successful events with us on social media!

Madeline Klein is Say's Digital Content Producer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her experience is in writing and digital media. Madeline loves using her creativity to write and design new and exciting pieces of work for Say!