Ah, it’s almost summertime, perhaps the best party season of the year. No longer relegated to the dim dark corners of the local rec center, you can pull out all the stops in your backyard and enjoy the sunshine with family and friends.

1         Supply Entertainment

Unless you’re a bunch of wild college kids, beer and food isn’t enough to keep your guests entertained. No matter how good the food is, make sure you have some fun games or other entertainment planned. Classic backyard games like volleyball, horseshoes, and washers are all easy hits with people of all ages.

2         Have a Variety of Food

Burgers and steaks are great, but not everybody likes to feast on red meat–or any meat at all. Have a variety of non-meat options like grilled vegetable kabobs for those who are opting to not eat meat and they’ll greatly appreciate not having to gnaw on raw carrots and dip for the afternoon.

3         Choose a Theme

Seems simple enough, but eat-and-drink-in-my-backyard just isn’t enough of a theme to really pull things together. If you’re the sort who loves cohesiveness, pick a fun theme for your barbecue. Try to think outside of the overdone luau theme and aim for something a bit more original like a clam bake or surf and turf.

4         Don’t Forget Lighting

As the sun goes down, you’ll probably want the party to keep going. Choose decorative lighting pieces that add ambiance but still allow guests to see their way around to mingle and snack on leftover foods. Try to include some citronella candles or torches to ward off the mosquitoes. You don’t have to go all out and buy new lighting; reuse white twinkle lights and make your own paper lanterns.

5         Have a Signature Drink

Beer and margaritas are all well and good but having a fun, signature drink adds some flair to your barbecue and breaks everyone out of their beer and tequila rut. Try a fruity version of sangria or spike your lemonade for a refreshing punch.

6         Entertain the Kids, Too

Don’t forget the most difficult to please guests. Have set aside activities and items for them to stay entertained. A water balloon target drawn on the fence with chalk is a great way to keep them cool and entertained for hours while a slip and slide is an easy way to tire them out so they’re willing to cuddle up under some blankets and roast marshmallows at the end of the day.


Planning a barbecue should be fun, not stressful, and unlike other formal gatherings, a barbecue can be relaxed and casual. Stick to the basics and you’re sure to have guests clamoring to be on your next guest list.

Information credited to Jay Fencing in Cambridge


3 thoughts on “Summer Fun: Six Tricks to a Successful Summer BBQ

  1. I never would have thought to have a signature drink – signature dish yes but drink? Thanks for the tips! Enjoy your SITS day!

  2. Nice well thought out post. Brief and to the point that everyone is sure to enjoy.
    Found you on SITS.

Comments are closed.