20 BBQ Menu Ideas and Recipes That Will Transform Your Backyard Party

Nothing beats a day spent outdoors with loved ones and a cold drink in hand. A tasty spread of backyard eats can only make it better. Here are 20 BBQ menu ideas that’ll impress your guests (and picky kids). Picture juicy watermelon, grilled corn, a light twist on the almighty burger and everything in between. We’ll bring the beer.

RELATED 8 Grilling Mistakes You Might Be Making

Bbq Menu: The Drinks

1. Guava Mezcal Mule Cocktail

Break out the copper tumblers. Take this classic up a notch by swapping sweet guava juice and smoky mezcal for traditional lime juice and ginger beer. (Thanks for the idea, Aida Mollenkamp.)

2. White Sangria With Peaches And Berries

Bring your favorite dry Riesling to life with sweet peach juice. (The orange liqueur won’t hurt, either.) Swap ice for frozen fruit so it won’t get diluted.

3. Whiskey Lemonade With Honey Simple Syrup

Does anything scream “summer” louder than ice-cold lemonade? Yep: Heidi Larsen's grown-up version made with herbs and raw honey. We like it with mint and bourbon.

Bbq Menu: The Appetizers

4. Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

Consider these the tropical vacation you’ve been craving. Hot sauce, cayenne, chile powder and jalapeño keep things hot while fresh mango and lime juice offer cool relief.

5. Grilled Watermelon-feta Skewers

This is the new caprese. A few grill marks will put a smoky new spin on everyone’s favorite summer fruit, not to mention a bright balsamic vinaigrette.

6. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Wings just got a crowd-friendly makeover. The best part about these tangy, bite-sized starters? They’re so mess-free, there are no napkins required. (Well, maybe one.)

Bbq Menu: The Salads

7. Grilled Peach and Halloumi Salad with Lemon-Pesto Dressing

Trade your usual Caesar for a stunning spread loaded with salty slices of halloumi cheese, charred fresh peaches and crunchy pine nuts. Did we mention the garlicky basil-citrus dressing? Yeah, go ahead and make a second batch.

8. Chilled Cucumber Salad

Don’t listen to your kids. A little green never hurt nobody. In fact, they’ll find these seasoned, chilled cukes super refreshing after playing in the yard.

Bbq Menu: The Entrées

9. Salmon Burgers

Ground beef, who? Salmon’s the new belle of the BBQ, and she’s bringing Old Bay, fresh dill and tangy coleslaw with her.

10. Honey-lime Chicken And Veggies In Foil

Wrap juicy chicken breast up with your favorite produce and cook right on the grill. If you think this looks like a win now, wait until you find out there’s no cleanup.

11. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This sweet-and-savory meat is magical on its own, but we like to pile it high on a bun with lots of coleslaw. Whip up quesadillas for the kids with the leftovers.

12. Grilled Flank Steak With Lemon-herb Sauce

The best thing about this dish (well, besides the zippy, umami-filled sauce)? You can kick back with a cocktail and some chitchat while the steak marinates.

Bbq Menu: The Side Dishes

13. Cauliflower ‘Potato’ Salad

Is there anything cauliflower can’t do? We think not. Potatoes got the boot, but this is just as creamy as the standard with Greek yogurt, sour cream and Dijon mustard in the mix. See ya, spuds.

14. Jalapeño-avocado Mac And Cheese

Ripe, buttery avocados and spicy green chiles are tasty matches for ooey-gooey white cheddar. Add sweet corn kernels for a juicy bite, breadcrumbs for crunch or hot sauce for more heat.

15. Grilled Corn With Spicy Aioli

As far as BBQ menu ideas go, this summer staple is a no brainer. Especially when you dress it up with Sriracha aioli. Add lime juice, queso fresco and chili powder for an elote-inspired take.

16. Baked Avocados With Fresh Salsa

Baked avocado is a thing. A citrusy, peppery, beautiful thing. Pile them high with what’s in season and salty cheese crumbles. Feta or goat cheese work, too.

Bbq Menu: The Desserts

17. 3-Ingredient Blood Orange Granita

There are few things as refreshing as a frosty spoonful of shaved ice. Add it to a glass of Champagne to sneak an early nightcap (or two).

18. Lemon-berry Sheet Pan Trifle

Homemade meringues make this easy-to-share sweet a standout. Your kids can help make the whipped topping or toss the fruit in lemon juice and sugar.

19. Sweet Corn Doughnut Holes

These are as finger-licking addictive as they look. The secret to this decadent pick’s cream filling? A whole lot of whipped corn kernels. (Yes, really.)

20. Chocolate-chip Cookie Dough Dip

You’ll never be too old to dunk a graham cracker (or spoon) into this nostalgic treat. Serve this alongside the s’mores station and you’ll be the official hostess with the mostest.