BBQ Themed Birthday Party Ideas

Party Attire
Since barbecues typically celebrate summertime, dress in light, colorful clothing. Throw on a Western shirt, a straw hat, bright shorts or sandals.

You can embody the Palm Beach aesthetic of Lilly Pulitzer with pinks and aquas, or go more surf-casual with flip-flops and jams, dude. Do it up in gingham by dressing in red-and-white-checked everything to channel your inner Ellie May. Be sure to bring warmer items like sweaters or wraps, since it can get a little chilly after sundown.

Other barbecue essentials to have on hand:

  • Bandannas
  • Barbecue tools: tongs, basting brush, spatula, prong fork
  • Plastic bibs
  • "Kiss the Cook" apron
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen

Party Activities
Enjoying the beautiful weather and the company of friends is what barbecues are all about. However, a few fun activities for guests of all ages can certainly liven things up. Here are some ideas that will keep your company entertained and make your party a memorable event:

  • Set up a fun yard game like horseshoes, croquet or badminton and have prizes for the winners.
  • Hold a three-legged race. To make it especially interesting, pair adults with kids and watch as hilarity ensues.
  • A water balloon toss is an exciting game for kids and adults and helps to beat the heat—unless guests are particularly skillful.
  • Roast marshmallows and make s'mores for an activity that doubles as dessert.

Food Ideas
Food is the centerpiece of any barbecue. Decide what region you'd like to highlight and follow its preferences.

  • For Kansas City-style barbecue, slow-cook pork ribs and slather them in a molasses-infused sauce. These ribs pair perfectly with baked beans and creamed corn.
  • In Texas, barbecuing is all about cooking beef brisket over lots of smoke and low heat for hours. Texans tend to skip the sauce (to get the meat's true flavor)—serve up your meat alongside macaroni and cheese and potato salad.
  • If North Carolina-style barbecue is your flavor, roast pork chops in a spicy, vinegar-based sauce and pair with coleslaw and deviled eggs.

For non-meat-eating guests, your menu should include plenty of grilled veggies. Skewer green and red peppers, cubed eggplant and zucchini, brush with olive oil and cook directly on the grill. Wrap corn on the cob in foil and toss it on the grill as well, for corn that is crisp and juicy.

Think classic Americana when creating your desserts. Apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is sure to please the masses. Another easy favorite is the homemade ice cream sandwich—spread a thick layer of your favorite ice cream between two freshly baked cookies, squeeze them together and enjoy! Drink Ideas
Cranberry Limeade (serves 12)

  • 3 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 bottles (20 ounces each) sparkling water, chilled
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Fill glasses with ice and pour drink over. Garnish each glass with a lime wedge.

Party Music
  1. "Hey, Good Lookin'" / Hank Williams
  2. "Soak Up the Sun" / Sheryl Crow
  3. "In the Summertime" / Mungo Jerry
  4. "Heatwave" / Martha and the Vanellas
  5. "Centerfield" / John Fogerty
  6. "I'm Coming Out" / Diana Ross
  7. "Glory Days" / Bruce Springsteen
  8. "Ring of Fire" / Johnny Cash
  9. "The Tide Is High" / Blondie
  10. "Jerk It Out" / Caesars

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